In February 2004, I had the life-changing opportunity to travel on behalf of the Friends of the Children of Lascahobas on a medical mission trip. In taking this trip, I discovered a very worthy organization and a fabulous group that is a godsend to the people of this impoverished area. I am an R.N. working as Regional Operations Director for AmSurg, a surgery center company headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. I was able to accompany one of our physician partners from Las Vegas, Dr. Kenneth Westfield, on his 10th annual journey to provide much needed medical eye care to the residents of Lascahobas.
This was my first trip to Haiti. Very few people in Lascahobas have any running water or electricity. They have only rice to eat. They basically have no medical care. They can’t afford to send their children to school. We were there during the end of Aristide’s rule, but Lascahobas is so isolated, we did not hear the country’s unrest until we returned to Port-au-Prince. Despite these difficult conditions, I found everyone I met to be very caring, loving, kind and humble. They were very proud of who they are and seemed not to know that they have it so bad.
As an R.N. working in the United States, it was quite an eye-opening experience to walk into an O.R. that had been shut up for a year. We operated on an O.R. table that was rusted and stuck in trundleberg position, with no sheets, no running water and only the limited supplies that we brought with us. In these circumstances, we definitely needed to be flexible and creative. On the first day of surgery, we had one microscope go out. The generator ran out of gasoline on our last case of the night and the surgeon had to finish the procedure from the weak glow of penlights in an otherwise pitch black O.R. that was blazing hot. The second day of surgery, one of the phaco machines broke down and we were unable to use it any longer. However, the incredible team of God’s servants that I had the pleasure of working with was determined not to let anything stop us from reaching those in need. During our time in Lascahobas, our team of volunteers treated 718 patients and performed 70 surgeries, mostly for cataracts and glaucoma. Our patients were so grateful and thankful for the medical care we were able to provide.
Will I go back to Lascahobas? Most definitely, if I am invited. God has blessed my life and it seems that the least I can do in return is help take care of His people. It is very obvious to me that God has truly lead in the development of the Friends of the Children of Lascahobas. Estelle Dubuisson is such an inspiration and I admire her tremendously. I applaud her efforts and those of the numerous volunteers and donors who comprise this praiseworthy organization.
-Kari Lindsey R.N.