Saturday, December 31, 2011

I am going to Haiti and I am bringing with me......

2- 50 pound suitcases full of medical supplies, soccer balls, school supplies, hygiene products, clothes...
1- small carry on suitcase packed with all my clothes, shoes, and power bars for the week
1- backpack stuffed with the medical nutrition binder for my assessments, a Bowes and Churches Calorie count book, a measuring tape, calculator, my cameras, and 2 Mother Teresa books.
1- brain full of nutrition related knowledge 

Ready or not.... the Healing Haiti "taxi" driver (aka my Uncle Tom) will be picking me up at 3 AM to get us to the airport with plenty of time to spare before our 6 AM flight to Miami. From Miami we will have a short layover and then have a 90 Minute flight to our destination... Haiti. Isn't it crazy-- just a 90 minute flight to this third world country!!

It will be my 3rd trip.. and a total of 40 days spent in  haiti over the past year! This trip I am going down with a different mission then my past few trips.. I have set plans and goals for things to be accomplished (we'll see how they go...). I will be doing nutrition assessments on all the kids (and hopefully the elderly) sponsored by Healing Haiti. I have created assessment sheets that cover areas such as height, weight, change in weight, food frequencies, current medical conditions, physical examinations, as well as feces samples. Several of the kids will be tested for parasites, which has a big impact on the nutritional needs. I have also have 100s of copies of the WHO (World Health Organization's) growth charts so that we can see which kids are at risk for stunting and malnutrition (Thanks to my dad for all his time spent making copies!!!). I am also analyzing the diets of the kids at the orphanage and making suggestions on how we can enhance their diets using the resources available to us in Haiti (as well as within our budget). I have created and gathered articles and references on recommended dietary intakes, food and cultural habits of Haitians, as well as different conditions that I might be faced with (malnutrition, parasitic infections, and lactose intolerance). My binder full of resources is pretty plump... but I am hoping it will be useful!!

I am grateful to have this opportunity to serve and to use the knowledge I have been blessed with to help enhance the quality of life of those living in absolute poverty. I am so thankful for the wisdom my teachers at St.Ben's have instilled in me-- preparing me for this journey ahead. I am so thankful for my preceptors and director for my dietetic internship program at The U of MN (as well as the student who switched rotation weeks with me) who have allowed me to take this time to travel to Haiti for my independent study week. I am thankful for all the donations that came this week, as well as those that participated in my metal-cross fundraiser in efforts to support this trip. I am so thankful for the many prayers and continued support from all my friends, families, co-workers, peers, and affiliates. 

I am looking forward to starting another New Years in Haiti!! :)

Just a cute prayer from one of my friends! 

A beautiful message from a dear friend of mine that gave me encouragement and reassurance.

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