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Haiti: Small Acts of Kindness

by Sarah Austria | Jan 13, 2017

Medical Teams International’s Mobile Medical Units enable prompt response after a natural disaster strikes, bringing medical care when and where it’s needed most. Here is one story of how a Mobile Medical Unit made a difference after a recent disaster.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, many clinics in Haiti were destroyed or closed. Cholera risk was extremely high, and many people suffered injuries. Especially in isolated, rural areas, locals urgently need a safe place to find help. Thanks to your quick response, Medical Teams International’s Mobile Medical Units were up and running almost immediately, providing relief and working hard to prevent a deadly cholera outbreak.

Haiti-hurricane-matthew-volunteer
Volunteers & staff work together to treat patients in the mobile medical unit.

Health workers noticed a large crowd assisting an obviously injured man. The hurricane devastated the island, causing injuries and illness. What was wrong with this patient - and would they be able to help him?

He was immediately brought in to see the physician. Jean, a 39-year-old farmer, had been working to clear hurricane debris from land. He cut his foot while using an ax. A hard-working farmer, he needed to be mobile to make a living. Without treatment, his injury could lead to serious infection. Thankfully, his fields were close to the Mobile Medical Unit and he was immediately brought for treatment. Seriously hobbled by the injury, Jean was treated by Dr. Dave, a physician. A nurse, Teryn, and Humanitarian Team Leader, Frank, both assisted in cleaning and dressing the wound.

Nurse Teryn describes what happened next. “After dressing his wound, Jean was unable to put his sandal back on due to the bulky dressing. However, in the nature of helping one’s neighbor, Jean’s friend took off his own larger sandals and handed them over to him to use. Sometimes, even a small gesture can mean a lot to someone in times of need, and today we were blessed to witness this selfless act."

"Sometimes, even a small gesture can mean a lot to someone in times of need, and today we were blessed to witness this selfless act."

It can be daunting to imagine how to begin the process of rebuilding, but Jean and his friend know exactly what to do. Neighbor helping neighbor with a small, profound act of kindness is a great place to start.

Jean was fortunate to receive medical care. According to the United Nations, Haiti is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Against that backdrop, Hurricane Matthew has only added to Haiti’s recent history of devastating natural disasters. Thanks to you, Medical Teams International is in Haiti providing expert medical care for immediate needs, as well disease prevention and control.