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I recently was blessed with the honor of being a team member on the November 2012 medical trip with the HEF. 27 amazing people of all different talents and from all over the country came together at the beautiful countryside of Hinche to spend a week providing medical and dental care to the people of the surrounding areas.

November 2012 Medical TeamWe divided into two teams, one team led by Dr. Walt Combs and the second led by Dr. Eileen Chang. Each day, each team went to a church in the surrounding villages to provide medical screening and care to the Haitian people. We saw hundreds of people each day at the mobile clinics. Some of the sicker ones would be asked to come back to the on site clinic at the HEF compound for further care. Back at the clinic we would continue to see people well into the evening. I was amazed how everyone came together and continued to work well after dark each day.

On the second day, as one of the teams was heading back to the compound after their clinic, a woman waved them down. A boy had fallen into a fire and had severe burns all over his face. The team brought the boy and his mother back to the clinic where his wounds were treated each day until we left. The boy and his mother was then referred to the hospital and provided with the means to continue his treatment. When I return to Haiti I hope to see the boy again with his wounds healed. On another day a small boy waited until well after dark to be seen at the clinic. He had gotten poked in the eye with a pencil at school. After seeing Dr. Pat Utenhmer, the boy was given antibiotic eye drops and some sunglasses before being sent home. Without this simple treatment the boy may have had permanent damage.

Each day we would take time to tour some of the villages and surrounding areas. The Haitian people were proud to invite us into their simple homes. They were very basic: mud walls, dirt floors, and sparse furniture. Although they had no running water, their clothes were as sparkling clean as their smiles.

On the last day one team went to the local jail in Hinche. I was deeply saddened by some of the hopelessness that I witnessed. Very different from what I had witnessed in all days prior. However I was also deeply touched of how Natalie Bither reached out and touched and provided love to the inmates. Her love and fearlessness reminded me both of Mother Theresa and Princess Diana.

When we came to Haiti we wanted to provide medical care to the people. As we were leaving, many of us were in agreement that the people of Haiti gave us much more than we could ever give to them.

Shannon Reed, RN