Our medical mission trip group consisted of two RNs, one paramedic, three nursing students, and four physicians. We also had three high school students that assisted with non-medical procedures, and a nurse and nurse practitioner who worked for the mission organization. Every day we drove to a village in Haiti and served the people living in that village and in nearby areas. We saw 80-100 patients on average in a six hour time period.
It was fulfilling to be able to use my nursing skills and knowledge to serve those who would otherwise not receive medical care. The most enjoyable part of the trip was interacting with the Haitians and learning about their culture. Many Haitians believe in voodoo and often spend all of their money on voodoo treatments, only to find these treatments did not change their condition. They were overwhelmed by the knowledge of our team and limited treatments we could provide.
The only thing I disliked about this mission trip were the food and lodging conditions. We ate a lot of food with preservatives because it had to be imported from the United States and therefore was not perishable. We slept on bunk beds with a couch-like cushion for a mattress that was five inches thick. We had to conserve water and took showers with a trickle of water. However, I quickly learned on my last mission trip to Haiti that these living conditions are far superior to how the Haitians live. I was grateful to have food, water, and a bed despite being uncomfortable for the duration of my trip.
I was surprised how many Haitians had not heard of Jesus. The mission organization is Christian and works with village champions to spread the word of Jesus and bring supplies to the villages. We talked about Jesus with every patient we saw and often prayed with them. It was surprising how many have never prayed.
I have served in Haiti before but had not been on a medical mission trip, so I was surprised to learn about the healthcare resources in Haiti. Port-au-Prince has physicians, nurses, clinics, and a hospital. Due to limited public transportation and the expenses of travelling to Port-au-Prince, most Haitians are not able to obtain care outside of their village. They rely on medical mission groups coming to the village on a monthly to quarterly basis for all medical care. We diagnosed patients with end-stage diseases who were likely going to die soon because they did not have the ability to travel to the hospital in Port-au-Prince.
This mission trip inspired me to learn more about healthcare in other countries. It is my goal to travel internationally on a regular basis and to go on a medical mission trip on a yearly basis. I was called to become a nurse and I know that serving others through humanitarian nursing is part of that calling. The scholarship I received from One Nurse At A Time helped me achieve this goal and helped me realize that serving others with my nursing skills will be a continual part of my life. I am thankful for the support of organizations like One Nurse At A Time to make it possible for nurses to serve others and bring healthcare to those who have limited to no resources