What Difference Does it Make? – Haiti trip November 2015

This was not a typical Covenant mission trip to Haiti. For starters, we had three

non-Covenant participants. Two men from Madison (GA) Presbyterian joined us in

an exploratory trip to determine that congregation’s interest in joining the

partnership. In addition, Ernest Scott, a long time volunteer for Heifer International,

joined us from Washington, DC. John Greeley, Deb Griffin, Ed Lloyd and I

represented Covenant. We met as strangers and left as friends.


We enjoyed worshiping at Nan Mango and sharing a fabulous meal after the service.

We met with the first class of microfinance participants. These seven people are

working hard and all expect to fully repay their loans in December. One woman is a

representative for Digicel selling cellphone minutes. Another travels a great

distance to Picmy to buy fish to bring back to cell. Yet another raises and sells goats.

We were inspired by their efforts and determination. The microfinance program

will be significantly expanded in the next round of lending thanks to a gift to

Covenant’s Haiti program.


DSC_0487The next few days were truly bittersweet. Ed Lloyd joined Dr. LaPointe and others

on the staff of the Bill Rice Clinic seeing patients at the clinic and at remote clinics at

Nan Mango and Bois Brule. We were reminded of the fragility of life in this country.

A young woman at the clinic had nearly bled to death after terminating her own

pregnancy. We quickly put her in the pick-up truck and headed down the rocky

roads on a 40-minute trip to the Wesleyan Hospital. There is no blood bank at the

hospital and the woman’s family was summoned to see if there was a compatible

donor. We believe that this woman survived but she clearly would have died

without medical treatment.


DSC_0818At Nan Mango, a 47-year-old man with congestive heart failure and a 17-year-old

woman with a 38-day-old baby were also sent to the hospital. We returned to the

hospital each day to check on these patients. Sadly, the man was dying and it was

both heartbreaking and heartwarming to watch family members wash his fading

body. We left the hospital shaken and in a daze. David Powers, the pastor of

Madison Presbyterian, asked if we could pray for that man. We formed a circle and

were both moved and comforted by the simple act of praying for this man and his

family and others.


DSC_0486 (1)At the same time, we formed a pop-up pharmacy for our mobile clinics at Nan

Mango and the next day at Bois Brule with incredible efficiency. Ed Lloyd and Dr.

LaPointe saw over 200 patients in two days. Francky Charles, the nurse, dewormed

children in both schools and enrolled a child in the Medika Mamba program. The

people at Bois Brule had not had a partnership visit in almost two years and were so

grateful for the clinic. This is such a remote community that visits to the Bill Rice

Clinic are nearly impossible and our prenatal clinics do not reach that community.

The partnership is working to extend coverage to all communities but that takes

time and money and planning. Nothing is easy.


We know we are making a difference in Nan Mango – you can see it with your eyes.

The school is bright and cheery and the church is beautiful. There is a wonderful

latrine (if a latrine can be wonderful). Brand new PVC gutters line the buildings. We

are greeted as friends and know people by name.

At the same time, it is hard to feel that you are making a difference when the needs

are so great and your contributions are small and infrequent. This is, however, a

“ministry of presence” and sometimes it has to be enough to just demonstrate that a

community is not forgotten and that we care enough to come and be with them.

There is value in presence.

Lee Wilder