In May, 2013 I was exceptionally blessed to return to the Cambry Orphanage for the fourth time. It is always an incredible experience and such a blessing to have the opportunity to reunite with the children and community there. Although our time there is short, we strive to live truly as the Body of Christ as we love on the children there and perform whatever tasks are needed each day. We, as Christians, are called to be the “light unto the world” (Matthew 5:14-16). What truly moved my heart this past trip was not the efforts of my teammates, however, but the efforts of the children! These children are not often in a position to help others, but their light truly shines when they are given a chance to do so.
I will always fondly remember working with one of my favorite Haitian clinic companions, Esaie Despre. He aided me greatly back in August 2012 as a translator, but is actually one of the older orphans at Cambry. He has an interest in medicine and was eager to learn all that he could while assisting us in clinic. One of my favorite moments of the entire August trip was watching him use my stethoscope to listen to one of our patient’s lungs before and after receiving an albuterol nebulizer treatment. Esaie simply lit up when he heard with his own two ears the distinct change from wheezing to nearly clear, normal breath sounds after the nebulizer treatment. It was so rewarding to be able to teach a little while we were in clinic to one of the children at Cambry who desires to be a doctor one day. I have never in my life seen a student light up the way he did that day as he learned more of how to care for others. I hope and pray that one day Esaie will be able to continue his studies as he will make a good, compassionate physician.
One very special girl named Ernise helped in several areas throughout the week on the May trip. On our last Friday we held one last painting session for the children who did not make it to the painting activity at VBS earlier during the week. In order to prepare for this last session, we had a rather hefty stack of blank canvases that we needed to trace a design and paint the background color. Honestly, we were running out of time and I was not sure that we were going to be able to pull off one last painting session. Ernise and two of her friends wasted no time in picking up pencils and helping us double our efforts in tracing canvases. Ernise had already painted her own canvas earlier in the week, but she still took such initiative in making sure theother children at Cambry would get the same chance our last full day there! This was not the only occasion Ernise was enabled to give back on this trip.
At clinic this year Dr. Erin, Dr. Lauren, and myself saw each child at Cambry for their health check-up. Taking vitals on this past trip nearly took my breath away at times when I realized that many of the children had gained 6-9 lbs since that last group arrived in January. We had many helpers for doing the children’s physicals this year. Cindy and Angela helped us pull the children’s files in addition to photographing each child. JT and Alex had many roles as they measured each child’s shoe size and handed out a snack, protein shake, chewable vitamin, and chewable de-worming medication. I know we could not have accomplished seeing all of the children without these amazing helpers, but one helper will always stand out in my mind when I think about clinic this past trip. Ernise.
One of the afternoons Alex had to step away to work on something else, and Ernise was overjoyed to be given the responsibility to help us care for the other children. I wish I could convey to you all through words just how happy she was to be a part of clinic. I doubt my words would do justice for the emotions we all saw through Ernise’s eyes. She handed out the medicines, snack, protein shake, and even starred the hand of each child as Alex was doing without even asking her to do so! Ernise is a very special child indeed. She understands so much more in English now that she has been going to the secondary school where she studies English, Spanish, and French. On our last full day at Cambry I asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up. She stated softly that she wanted to be a nurse. She has such a heart for helping others. Seeing her enabled to serve the other children at Cambry is one of my fondest memories of this past trip. These children truly are learning to be the hands and feet of Christ, and it is humbling to see them thriving spiritually.