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Primary Care

April 23, 2023

Our family had the same primary care physician since shortly after Lex and I were married. He greatly encouraged us when we moved to Haïti and even worked with us in Haïti after the 2010 earthquake. Lex and I both loved the "special treatment" we received each time he came to Haïti. Talk about a house call! We had our physicals in Haïti for several years.

I remember I was not feeling well once and called for an appointment. Our doctor was away, so I had to see another doctor. At the end of our session, I was half expecting a diagnosis of hypochondria (he didn't seem to believe I was experiencing the symptoms I had stated), but he ordered some tests anyway. Long story short, according to the tests, nothing was physically wrong with me - except that there was. A week later, I went back to see my primary care doctor (he was back from vacation). He took one look at me and knew there truly was something wrong with me. Indeed I had what turned into a pretty bad case of mononucleosis. I always thought that had I been able to see my primary care doctor, the diagnosis would have arrived the first time around. The other doctor didn't know me well enough to realize I really wasn't so much a drama queen, and he wasn't familiar with my norms and not so norms.

In Haïtiian villages, it's not common for folks to have a primary care physician. Actually, many people won't even see a doctor until they're critically ill. The biggest reason for this is the cost. A lack of education is also a major hindrance. They don't understand the importance of well-child checks, annual physicals, proper first aid, and simply what's normal and what's not. When someone is sick, they often visit one doctor after another, hoping that they will find one who knows enough to fix whatever problem they're experiencing, not realizing the doctor usually needs additional information (tests). Unless they follow through with ONE doctor, they may succumb to their illness before knowing what is happening.

I love to see patients returning to the clinic at MOHI's main campus in Haïti, knowing they have made it their primary care facility. We have long been working together with our partners at Bless Back Worldwide for this very result. We believe primary care has a great long-term impact on our students and neighbors. Care at this facility includes prayer and education about common illnesses, hygiene, nutrition, chronic illness, caring for your family, and more. Wound care, breathing treatments, and important testing are all available to our patients.

Miraksin visits the clinic regularly for blood pressure checks, prescription refills, and general care for herself. She also recommends the clinic for her grandchildren and encourages neighbors to visit when they are not well.

I used to think of the medical clinic as being more critical than the dental clinic... that is, until I had a toothache. Oh my goodness!!! Talk about pain! I was very grateful for the dental clinic!!! Today many more people are grateful for it, as hundreds of people with that kind of pain have been treated. Many more have received education about dental hygiene and have received cleanings, as well.

Good nutrition in the first few years of life is critical on many fronts, including oral health. A lack of nutrients can prevent teeth from developing properly. This is just one more reason that helping families to feed their babies is the right thing to do.

Understanding good nutrition is especially critical when funds are very limited. We encourage parents and students to utilize the leaves of the wild-growing Morenga tree to prepare more nutrient-rich foods for their families. Often considered the "poor man's food," these leaves provide a huge boost of vitamins and minerals to those consuming them. Misconceptions about Moringa are similar to misconceptions about breastfeeding. Just because something is "free" doesn't mean it doesn't have value. You can learn more about Moringa here.

Relationships forged at school can last a lifetime. Even if you lose touch, the memories last.

The beginning of last week was a busy time in the classrooms as teachers and students prepared for exams.

And then exams began. The teachers like to spread the children out for exams to discourage sneaking a peak at a neighbor's paper.

The greatest blessing for me is seeing people grow in the LORD and express their gratitude to Him.

This week I've been humming Goodness of God (CeCe Winans) constantly. It puts a smile on my face while simultaneously bringing tears to my eyes. He's so good!!!

"I love you LORD, for Your mercy never fails me. All my days I've been held in Your hand. From the moment that I wake up, until I lay my head, Oh I will sing of the goodness of God.

Cause all my life You have been faithful, and all my life You have been so so good. With every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God..."

Many of you have been to Haïti with us and have enjoyed this man's treats. Jean Renold has been coming by our main campus to sell ice cream treats, including krèm mayi (literally translated "corn ice cream") since 2008! Up until a few years ago, he sold them for three Haitian dollars (15 gourdes). We can see the toll inflation is taking on the country in this simple treat, which today sells for fifteen Haitian dollars (75 gourdes). Wow! LORD have mercy!!!

Pastor Lex usually spends his days at the Thozin campus, but that doesn't mean he's easy to locate. In a matter of just a few hours, he was in the dental clinic setting up the X-ray machine and trying out the new chair, checking on some new equipment in the medical clinic, interacting with patients, and meeting with an organization about cholera education. Needless to say, it makes me happy to see him take a krèm mayi break.

Pastor Bauvais holds a special place in our hearts. Did you know the mission began in his front yard?

You know Lex loves being in the garden, too...especially when the watermelon plants are starting to spread!

In the Dominican Republic, Bernard (aka Mèt Ben) continues to hold down the fort in Luperòn. The gardens take up much of his time between harvesting in the one...

...and preparing the soil in the other. Sugarcane bagasse, a pulpy, fibrous material left over after sugarcane has been pressed to extract its juice, is mixed into the garden soil to enrich it with more nutrients.

We look forward to having some friends join us next month in Luperòn. We have a new program we'll be working on. I hope to tell you about it soon after it's off the ground.

May HIS goodness and mercy follow you each and every moment of this coming week! Thank you for being a part of answered prayers for many in Haïti and the Dominican Republic.


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