22 Nov Fighting Cholera in Haiti
Fonda Cassidy, a nurse, is from Mt. Olivet UB church in Mt. Solon, Va. She has led or participated on UB medical trips to Honduras and Sierra Leone. Here, she writes about going to Haiti in October with Samaritan’s Purse.
In October 2010 I left for Haiti to work with Samaritan’s Purse. I did not realize until I arrived that there was an outbreak of cholera. This is a bacteria that spreads by contact or contaminated water. None of the 5 doctors nor myself had worked anywhere where we have witnessed this. Once you see it, you truly do not forget.
They came with fear frozen in their eyes, drawn up and over with incredible abdominal pain, with profuse emesis and diarrhea. What you soon realize is that the little ones and the older generation will soon die if not cared for properly. They need oral hydrating salts and/or IV solutions to replace their fluids, and an antibiotic.
So we ran cholera camps where we were treating only cholera. If they did not get treatment within 12 hours, they usually died. It is so hard to see death where you are working. Sometimes we would start treating someone, but it would be too late. They would have to be taken out right away and buried. At each clinic we did a lot of teaching and had a pastor to pray with the people.
I worked in 4 different locations in Haiti. One clinic took us about 2 hours to reach. Others were closer. We were able to share Christ with our patients. Personally, I was blessed to lead about 4 of my patients to the Lord. There would be follow-up by a Haitian pastor.
I was able to visit 4 orphanages that were run by Samaritan’s Purse. I taught in about 4 different classrooms about cholera–how it spreads and how to prevent it from happening. I will gladly return to Haiti to help in any capacity that God would want me to.
We have 22 United Brethren churches in Haiti. I was able to meet with the leader, Pastor Oliam Richard. He was a very precious man. He took me to two sites in Cite Soleil where there had been two churches. They now are rubble. Both toppled in the earthquake. There are plans to rebuild.
Safety and security is very important in Haiti. Each time we left the secured compound we had to radio a safety code, and when we arrived at location we also had to radio that we were at our destination.
I witnessed people dying and I witnessed a person being killed by rocks as he tried to steal–the police stoned him to death. Haiti is very rough, but there are thousands of people living in that country that God loves and cares for. He has asked us to be his hands and feet in ministry. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.