This was my second trip to Haiti and I was open to experiencing new things. I went with my girlfriend and the nuns from Mother Theresa's to the wound clinic at St. Joseph's one afternoon.
I don't have a medical background but Alyn told me a little about what they did at the clinic so I thought I could handle it.
So off we went to clean people's wounds. After driving through massive amounts of people, we entered the gates of St. Joseph's where we were greeted by beautiful music. They were having an all night fast and prayer service in the church and all of the people were singing.
As we entered the wound clinic, people sat waiting for us along a cement ledge against the wall. We got a quick lesson on what to do... put plastic on a little stool for the people to place their foot, unwrap their cloth bandage, take off the gauze underneath, spray the wound with saline water, wipe it, spray benadine, wipe again, put on antibiotic salve, more gauze, then wrap it up with a new cloth bandage. It sounded easy enough.
The first man I was helping took off his own bandage and I couldn't believe what I saw. He had an open sore from the bottom of his foot to the middle of his calve. In one spot I could see his bone. I can't even explain the smell and sight of that open sore but I knew it needed to be cleaned. He helped me by pointing to the spots that needed more cleaning and let me watch him put his bandage back on. There were others waiting so I had to move on.
One after another they came with similar wounds. They didn't cry or even flinch as I scrubbed the open sores. It was so hard because I knew it had to be painful and I didn't want to hurt them.
I was down to the last person. He was a young man probably in his twenties. He put his foot on my stool and I saw that the bandage was between his toes and farther up on his leg. I knew what was under that bandage had to be bad. I said softly "I can't do this" thinking he wouldn't understand me. He looked up at me and said "yes you can". I had to keep repeating in my head I'm washing the feet of Jesus and by the Grace of God, I did it.
I don't know if I would ever return to the wound clinic, but the image will always be with me.
I love the Haitian people and right now my heart feels like a big open wound for them. The Haitians are strong, beautiful people trying to survive in a country that should be so much more.
Throughout my trip I saw more wounds in many of the people. The hunger, the sick children, the need for water, the need for shelter, the need for money. So many times I wanted to say "I can't do this", but I know that I would get a reply, "yes you can".
As I sit here today in my comfortable home in America I can still feel the wound in my heart for the Haitian people. I pray that the Lord will provide me a temporary bandage and guide me according to His Will to be able to help the Haitian people from home until I can return again and have a new bandage.