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Mission Trip Blog

Learn about the journeys of Westminster’s various mission trip teams.

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  1. Mission Trip Blog : Friday: On the Home Stretch

    Blog post written by Dorene Palermo.

    By now we are getting a little tired of being HOT! Our showers are a blessing, but the effect only lasts so long.

    Today we are targeting only 100 medical patients, but Joe has a full set of dental patients, maybe 10-15? He is upstairs and we don’t really see much of him. Even his waiting line is upstairs and out of sight. However, EVERYONE downstairs knew exactly when he got a compressor that worked! After days and days and failed repair attempt after failed repair attempt, on the last day we rented a compressor ($65 for the day) that arrived at about 11 am.

    Joe conveniently had the noisy device positioned outside so the noise was not in his work area. Unfortunately (and unintended he assures the medical guys) the compressor was just outside the open windows of the doctors and sounded like full-fledged construction 3 feet away. Needless to say it is hard to use a stethoscope on a construction site!

    We were fortunate that the morning went more quickly than the past couple of days. In the relative peace, Kay was able to begin the inventory of the treatment room, to speed the final work when we are done. We had done more than 60 by lunch time which was certainly fortuitous because on this our last day, everyone brought in their leftover “fixin’s” for lunches. The pharmacy team made PB&J sandwiches before the prescriptions from the first patients arrived. We got cold drinks for all the team and the translators, and we all took a lunch break on the benches in the sanctuary together. The remaining cookies, nuts, etc. were distributed to the Haitians after we ate, and it was like a miniature “feeding the 5000” only it was only 25 or 26 folks. There was more than enough for all!

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  2. Mission Trip Blog : Thursday: School Day

    Blog post written by Dorene Palermo.

    Time moves faster as each day goes by!

    The routine in the clinic moved things along quickly, even though our medical team had more “serious” patients than any trip before. Unfortunately our poor dentist Joe never got a compressor that worked until noon on Friday. We joked that his having to treat his patients with totally inadequate equipment was almost like pulling teeth (OK, I’m sorry for that!). Nevertheless he did manage to extract more than 100 teeth during the week, as well as train four different people as his assistant. And we never saw Joe without a smile!

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  3. Mission Trip Blog : Is It Really Wednesday Already??

    Blog post written by Dorene Palermo.

    I can’t believe it is already Wednesday, but it seems like we have been here a month!

    The standard routine begins with breakfast at 6am with fresh fruit, some type of bread, cereal, pancakes, or omelet (most of us have omelets), papaya juice that tastes like tasteless grapefruit juice, and wonderful coffee Adventure begins when the two tap taps roll into the courtyard of the hotel.

    Each day we load each tap tap with 6 or 7 team members, a translator or two, and a row of huge suitcases full of clothes for the kids down the middle between our knees. We are sitting on wooden benches, backs to the steel roof braces, holding on for dear life. We pile our backpacks and water bottles on top of the suitcases and off we go.

    We get to the clinic a little before 8am, after hitting some of the most horrendous potholes and dodging buses, motorcycles, other tap taps, people, pigs, goats, and cattle, If we were a little sleepy when we started out the noise of beeping horns, and rattling vehicles ensures we are wide awake when we arrive.

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  4. Mission Trip Blog : Hot Haitian Sunday!

    Blog post written by Dorene Palermo.

    It has been a long, hot, but satisfying day. We started with breakfast at 6am.

    Dressed in our Sunday best (men in dress shirts with ties, women in knee length dresses with shoulders covered), we climbed into the back of the two tap taps, avoiding the spare tire on the floor, to head to church. In each tap tap we squeezed three large suitcases of medications between our knees as we sat facing each other on board benches under the brightly painted metal roof. At least when the tap tap was moving some air flowed from front to back to relieve the heat. We commented on how much cleaner the streets were compared to last year, and guessed the amount of dust was less because everyone was in church instead of on the road.

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  5. Mission Trip Blog : Saturday: We Made It!

    Blog post written by Dorene Palermo.

    We had a good trip… on time, even! Our plane from Raleigh landed at the gate for departure to Haiti so we used the same plane with only a 20 minute layover! That helped ensure our bags would arrive with us (and they did!).

    I had a window seat for the first time, and I hope some of the pictures of the enormous thunder (hurricane?) clouds out the window in the distance will turn out. (The airplane window is quite an interference.) What really amazed me is how truly mountainous Haiti is as seen from the top, and how covered with trees! I love mountains, and the terrain of the entire island is actually beautiful.

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