Saturday, March 28, 2015

Done in Ayacucho

It's a wrap for the MMI clinic Ayacucho! We finished up with a half day of work on Friday and got to play around with the kids afterwards and even get a few games of ninja in with the workers! We finished off the day with an AMAZING dinner from chef Estelle, with some common Peruvian dishes followed by not 1, but 2 absolutely delicious desserts (rice pudding with sweet milk and fried donuts with syrup). Which was immediately followed by a stop at our favorite local ice cream joint, Café Via Via, where we received our own private serenade from the café band!  Nobody on this trip is going home hungry! We can't believe this week of work is already over, and we are so grateful to have been apart of it. We got to see over 260 patients through the 5 days, with many memories to go along with them! We are honored to be able to be used by God to help plants seeds in such an area of need to further His Kingdom. I know most of us are already planning on when we can come back! Ayacucho is one of the most beautiful places in the world with some of the most impoverished people in the world as well. They are simple people who don't have a lot of material possessions, but are some of the most joyful people you will ever find. The need here is great, and the workers are few! It was definitely one of the most humbling experiences for all of us, and we are excited to have made new friends while getting to practice our physical therapy skills along the way. We are now off to Cusco to hike up the beautiful ruins of Machu Pichu! Thank you all for your continued prayers and support, The Lord has heard them and His plan is definitely in action! 

View of Cusco from the taxi on our way to Machu Picchu!

View from the Train to Machu Picchu!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Days 3 & 4

We are officially done with Day 4 of the clinic! But first, we will start with Wednesday's adventure. We took a 2.5 hour van ride up through the mountains to see the people of the Chequi-pampa community. And let me tell you, it was a van ride for the ages. But I think we would all agree that the terrifying parts of driving along the very edge of an 800 foot cliff was totally worth the view! The picture below does now do it justice! After we arrived, we were greeted with the customary goat soap. We will just say that it was interesting also! We then were able to see the majority of the community before we left at sundown. Wednesday was definitely the longest day so far as we didn't get home for dinner until around 9, but it was definitely the most fulfilling! The warmth and happiness of the people was infectious and it was amazing to be able to serve them. 
Thursday we packed up and headed to our 3rd location of the week, which was a local private school in Ayacucho. After today and yesterday, we should all be low back pain pros! All of the people of Ayacucho do such hard manual labor and work for so many hours a day, LBP is the by far the most common problem we have seen. We also got to do another serial casting today of a case of club foot, which was an awesome experience! We are continuing to learn and grow as we serve these amazing people! Pray for strength for the rest of the trip as we are starting to wear down a little, and pray for the health of all team members as some are battling stomach and altitude issues! But overall, we are absolutely loving our time here! Thank you for your prayers!

(Attempting to eat goat soap)

(1 of the many beautiful views on the way to Chequi-pampa)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ayacucho clinic days 1 & 2

We are officially done with day 2 of our MMI health clinic in Ayacuho! The entire group set up shop Monday morning with a place for PT, the MD, the dentist unit, a triage unit, a pharmacy unit, and a place called "integrated health". 4 of us students were split between the 2 PTs with remaining students helping with triage and pharmacy. The morning started off slow but very quickly picked up and was consistently busy until closing time around 4:30. God has already broken our heart towards these people, as we have found out that most of them don't have access to really anything, let alone healthcare. Some people came in with pain or other disabilities that they have been dealing with for years, and literally have to wait until a free clinic like this to be able to get what they need. Of all the units in our clinic, the most important may be the integrated health, where the patients got an explanation on how to properly take their new medication along with hearing the Gospel of our Savior! We got to laugh, cry, and pray with many patients and it was a great experience! We also got to do a little sightseeing in the plaza of Ayacucho and taste test the local ice cream!

Today, (Tuesday) 4 of us and the 2 PTs ventured to the local pediatric clinic to see the patients there, while the other 2 held down the fort at the clinic. It was an amazing day at the peds clinic as we got to fit and fix wheelchairs and orthotics and give many kids a new pair of shoes. The joy on their faces to receive these gifts was absolutely priceless! There are so many personal stories we could share from patient experiences, but just know that God is definitely moving and has big things in store here! As we close day 2 in the clinic, I (Shelly) would ask that you say a special prayer for a 3 year old girl named Yasensia. She has severe cerebral palsy and we were the first healthcare place she has been to. Her mother is a single mom who literally has to sling Yasensia to her back with a blanket while she works out in the fields with their 2 cows, which is their ONLY source of food. Yasensia desperately needs a wheelchair, and we think we may have the perfect one, but it was left behind in Miami. Please pray that our wheelchairs and other equipment make it to Ayacucho, pray that Yasensia gets the perfect wheelchair for her, and pray for Yasensia's mother who desperately needs hope and encouragement in this season of life. God is faithful and we know He will provide for His people! Thank you for your prayers! 

(Beautiful Yasensia and her mother Rayda)

(A serial casting of Olga to help correct her club feet)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Peru team made it

After 36 hours of straight traveling, we have finally arrived safely to Ayacuho, Peru! A few hiccups and a few pieces of missing luggage have certainly not squandered the excitement we have to serve the people of Ayacucho and the surrounding areas this week! 

After arriving in Lima around 4:15 am this morning, we proceeded to wait in line for 3 hours to report our missing luggage. Yes, 3 hours. However, The Lord kept us in good spirits despite the miscommunications, language barriers, and sleep deprivation! We did manage to catch a few Zs on the luggage tram during the wait, though! (See attached photo). 

During our next 8 hour layover, we were able to tour the city of Lima with a friend of MMI, Willy. He took us to a park with an oceanfront view, showed us some of the more historical areas (including getting to watch the "changing of the guards" ceremony in  the front quarters of the house of the President of Peru!), and shared lunch with us at a tourist favorite spot called Tantas. One thing to notes about Peruvians - they LOVE to eat. We have been fed until our heart's content since leaving the U.S.! After arriving in Ayacucho around 5:30 pm, we all took DESPERATELY needed showers and headed straight to dinner and a team meeting. There are dentists, medical doctors, nurses, and physical therapists working together this week, and we are so excited and honored to be able to be a part of this journey! The Lord has been so faithful throughout this process already, and we cannot wait to see what He has in store for us this week!

(1 of the cathedrals we saw in Lima)

Brazil Team is on the Ground

Day 1 (3-22-2015):
Hello from Brazil! We made it safe and sound and are at the Lider Hotel for the time being in Manaus. We made it to the hotel without a hitch last night and we are feeling much better after much needed rest. We enjoyed a delicious Brazilian breakfast this morning with Dusty, Corinne and Mandie (student from Florida).

Manaus is one of the main port cities of the Amazon where the two rivers, Rio Negro and the Amazon, come together. We will be “floating” down the Rio Negro and visiting new villages this year. I am so grateful for this as we will be meeting new faces and spreading God’s love. We will be visiting 5-6 villages (roughly one per day) and will be providing medical services, providing children’s and women’s ministry, sending out an evangelism team and any other services the village may need.

The itinerary for today includes: go see a traditional fish and meat market, view open air markets, enjoy some more food (yay!), go to church and then get on the boat! Please pray for myself (Heather), Brittany, Mandie, Rachel, Leslie, Ashley, Chris, Greg, Sam, Dusty and Corinne as we embark on this week long journey. My prayer for the group is that God would move us in such a way that we are uncomfortable with our comfort zone and move closer to Him and to desire to be like Jesus. I have been so excited about this trip and am so thankful to be back here. Please pray for encouragement for our team as it’s a new environment and sometimes long hours. Please pray for safety and creativity for not only serving the people in the village but the other people on the boat and our team members.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support!


Heather B.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Brazil and Peru Teams are packed and off!

Both SBU DPT GHO Spring Break teams are packed and off today. They had a joint packing party this past week.  All of them are excited to see what God has in store for them in the coming week.  Pray for their safe travels and smooth customs experiences. 

Brazil Team (BoMo Segment)

Peru Team

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The last two days in Haiti

A strongly unified team divided to extend our reach as we completed our mission in Haiti.  Six team members went to Mission of Grace orphanage and Grandma's House Center to assess and treat their special needs children and widows.  This was followed by a little R & R at the beach before returning home.  Four team members traveled to the north of Haiti to Cap Haitien to explore some contacts there and determine needs and opportunities for the future. They enjoyed some R & R at the One Mission Society missionary compound and hiked The Citadel & Sans Souci Palace ruins - the highest point in Northern Haiti.

At the end of the week, we pray the our Lord was pleased with our service. Jesus modeled ministry that included both healing and preaching.  We tried to follow His example this week.  We found it very possible and effective to combine Physical Therapy and the sharing of the Gospel message with the people that we served. Many of the people we encountered in Haiti seem to be accustomed to just living with brokenness in their lives - brokenness of both their bodies and their souls.  We were able, in a small and fledgling way, to start sharing the truth that there is healing available for both body and soul.

Here are some final memories and thoughts from various team members:
- It was extremely satisfying to follow up and reconnect with people who the August 2014 team met and served and started to build relationships with. Haitians are a very relational people.
- This team was amazingly unified despite being spread across the country geographically prior to arrival on the field.
- Praying for people and sharing the hope of Christ is a privilege.
- It's hard but good for us the be stretched out of our comfort zones physically, personally, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally.
- Poverty and starvation now have faces and names and voices. Seeing starving little ones who cannot even ask for food for themselves is humbling and painful.
- The church is strong in Haiti, and Haitian Christians have an undeniable strength to live life with joy in a place that is harsh and full of brokenness. Worshiping with these brothers and sisters is an amazing and wonderful experience.

The Citadel

Sans-Souci Palace