As it goes with many MEET trips, the memory that resonated the most with the Channahon United Methodist Church participants is the interaction with the Haitian children. Six members from the church—aging 17 to 75—participated in a week-long Mission Education Encounter in Haiti this January. Steve Good, pastor of the church and group leader, said that the whole group had a very good trip and seemed to particularly value their time in northern Haiti at the Jolitrou clinic. There they played games with the children and taught them to make bracelets and crafts. Luckily they brought extra supplies, because almost 70 children showed up for their visit!
The Integrated Community Health program at the Jolitrou clinic provides vaccinations for children against highly contagious diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, and tuberculosis. Prior to ICC’s presence in the community in 1994 to tackle maternal and infant mortality, there wasn’t a lot of hope for life expectancy of newborns. “When a child was going to be born, they would start building a coffin,” recalled ICC Maternal Health Coordinator Madame Sam. “Because of ICC, they don’t need to do that anymore.”
Steve Good and his group also heard this memory while on their trip, and he said it opened their eyes to all the work ICC has been doing. “It struck me that a lot of the kids we were playing with may not have lived as long without ICC,” Steve recalls. “Being with 70 very lively kids was a wonderful personal experience.”
Young or old, new to Haiti or a veteran visitor, they all seemed to see the impact and importance of learning about the need of the rural area. Katie McSteen, a high school student who went on the trip, said she had a wonderfully eye-opening experience.
The team also had meaningful time with the inpatients and outpatients at Grace Children’s hospital, visited the Lakou Lakay Cultural Center, and attended a local church service. But as the Jolitrou day was the one of the most memorable for this particular group, they are hoping to go back to their home church in Channahon, Illinois to raise funds specifically for this program. It is through the passions and generous help of these and those like them that ICC is able to care for so many. To learn more about the Integrated Community Health program at Jolitrou clinic, click here, or to learn more about our Mission Education Encounter program, visit our MEET page. We thank Channahon UMC for their continued support!