Thursday, May 21, 2009
Feels like coming home
Last week, Jake and I went on an impromptu medical mission trip to Haiti along with another dear friend of ours named Belinda who is also a nurse. Early the previous week, Pastor Yves (the missionary we support in Haiti) called and shared with us the heart breaking news that one of the little orphans girls has been diagnosed with TB. GVCM needed a few nurses to come down and test all of the children at living the orphanage and the adult staff who work there as well. We were able to perform TB skin test on about 100 people in the community (orphanage and deaf school), of the 100 we tested, 17 had a positive TB skin tests. Those who tested positive and have accompanying symptoms (night sweats, fever, weight loss, cough etc)will now have chest x-rays and sputum cultures done to identify what kind of TB they may have. All the children and staff are now being treated prophylactic with INH for three months since they all have been exposed.
Haiti has the highest per capita tuberculosis burden in Latin American and the Caribbean. After HIV/ AIDS, TB is the country's greatest infectious cause of mortality in BOTH children and adults. Because of the malnourishment that exist among the Haitian population, their immune systems are weakened making them even MORE vulnerable to TB related deaths . A leading killer of children in Haiti, tuberculosis, commonly referred to as TB, is a bacterial infection that can spread through the lymph nodes and bloodstream to any organ of the body, but is usually found in the lungs. Because the bacteria that cause tuberculosis are transmitted through the air, the disease can be quite contagious. Tuberculosis thrives in conditions of poverty and overcrowded living conditions (that exist in housing such as the orphanage). Strong stigma and cultural barriers attached to TB make case detection and adherence to treatment VERY difficult.
Even though we had little time to prepare and plan for this trip, God was completely faithful to us. It's impossible to summarize all the amazing ways we tasted God's faithfulness and saw his glory on display through what we experienced in one blog so I think I'll take my time and just share a little at a time instead of condensing it all to one blog note.... But one thing that always amazes me is how at home I feel in Haiti. I am one of the biggest girly girls you will ever meant so spending time in a third world country is soooo far beyond my comfort zone it's not funny. Yet when I step off that plane I feel like I am coming home. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would feel soooo at home in a third world country but I do. Being there feels so out of my element but feels like home at the same time. And even as I write this now, my heart hurts as it longs for Haiti....