In 2017, my oldest daughter Maddie and I went on a mission trip to Haiti after she graduated from high school. It left a permanent mark on our hearts. Maddie, having an interest in going into the medical field (she is now an Occupational Therapist) wanted to learn all she could about the medical clinic we stayed at, which is run mostly by volunteer doctors and nurses.
When we first arrived, we were fearful and cautious, but we soon realized that the people there were not to be feared, they were warm, appreciative people who treated us with respect and kindness.
The children would run right up to us and affectionately take us by the hand and we quickly bonded with them. My fear melted away, replaced by compassion, and I still hold that compassion in my heart today.
God called to my heart to find a way to help these people, and today I have been able to make that calling a reality. A portion of the proceeds of the work that I do here at The Simple Daisy goes to Osapo to help the most vulnerable people of Haiti.
(Oganizasyon Sante Popilè/ People’s Health Organization)
OSAPOs main objective is to contribute to the sustainable improvement of the standard of living for the most at-risk families in Haiti, utilizing various programs that help empower the people to improve their overall health. OSAPO was founded on March 8, 2008, by a group of Haitian professionals led by Dr. Jean Gardy Marius and Dr. Sterman Toussaint.
Since 2008 OSAPO has worked on a model of primary care to improve the quality of health in the population, and to create economic opportunity for the most vulnerable families living in the rural areas of Haiti. Unfortunately, today OSAPO is struggling more than ever due to the fact that Haiti’s unstable political climate has led to restricted travel for visitors. OSAPO can no longer depend on the support of the travelers and missionary groups that used stay there at OSAPO.
One of the projects being worked on while we were there was the construction of a cinderblock school for the children living in the area. As we passed along the blocks to one another to get them across the river, they smiled genuinely at me in sincere gratitude. I felt something stir inside of me that was so deeply satisfying. I remember feeling a little exhausted, filthy, dehydrated, and sweating beyond belief, but surprisingly, this only added to my gratification. I marvel at how serving others can fill up our souls and complete us like nothing material in this world could ever do.
I was drastically humbled when a 10-year-old Haitian boy zipped by me carrying not one, but two blocks at a time, and not in his arms but balanced on his head!
In addition to helping with the school. I was able to put my organizing skills to use. Maddie and I spent a day organizing and labeling the clinic’s medical supply inventory so that medical volunteers could find the supplies they needed quickly.
My visit to Haiti has strengthened my resolve to live more mindfully and resourcefully with respect for those who live in this world with so little. Here in the US, we live in such abundance and luxury while others, through no fault of their own, are born into poverty and suffering. Consumerism and the ability for many of us to easily acquire too many possessions is becoming more common every day. The Haitians use and keep every possession they have until it nearly disintegrates. In contrast, we throw out things just because a new model has been introduced. But acquiring more stuff will never complete us like helping others will. If you would like to contribute, click the button below to visit OSAPO’s website and learn more about what they do.