As nurse and a Christian, she started looking for ways to help immediately upon hearing of the quake. She felt that she could be useful in the situation; that she could tend to the wounded bodies and spirits of the Haitian people. Her church raised funds to pay for her trip and, before she and Johanna Congleton knew it, they were on a 10 seater plane headed for Port Au Prince with the an anesthesiologist from California, a family medicine practitioner from Illinois, and a pastor from Texas.
The experience awaiting them was grueling and after experiencing it, Tara now classifies her other mission trips as tourism. (Tara, people don’t generally go to those places on vacation, get a grip!) Part of an established facility that included an orphanage, the living quarters were much better than expected. It was at the facility’s clinic that they saw about 400 patients per day - a good portion of whom were uninjured by earthquake but in need of primary care.
It was amazing, Tara said, “people didn’t know natural things about their bodies,” such as pregnant women who didn’t know what to expect from their bodies or their babies. "The earthquake brought to light Haiti’s real needs like sanitation and education.” The supplies brought into the country, aren’t being equitably distributed. Persons getting in line first are selling the supplies! But, in spite of the ubiquitous poverty, corruption, and destruction, Tara felt that “God didn’t forget about Haiti, his presence there was very real.”
Regardless of the fact that most of the patients just wanted “freebies” from the relief workers, Tara was able to see the good in the experience. She even grew as a nurse. Because she works mainly with patients suffering from acute illnesses, this trip provided her with the opportunity to sharpen her clinical skills. She was able to recognize the sick from the un-sick and to deliver care to the children who needed it most.
Tugging at her heart strings, however, was something that her team could do nothing about. One mother brought her hydrocephalus child to the clinic desperately hoping that the American medical staff could give her some medicine to heal her baby. There was nothing they could do for a child with that condition under those circumstances; all they could do was pray with the mother for her baby. A lot of people in the medical profession are finding exactly what Tara found, “you also have to care for the soul because you can only do so much for the body.”
All in all, their trip was an exhausting success. Only seven days, it felt a lot longer which is why they rotate their relief personnel to keep them fresh. To my mind, Tara shows us that when faced with daunting challenges we mere mortals can make an impact if only we take action! That’s what impressed me most her, and about Jacob and Carrie, and the staff at Scarlet Threads - Action.
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