Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The End

Well the trip is over, and pictures and stories are circulating all over the place. I hope by now that everyone reading this blog has had the opportunity to talk to someone on the trip and learn all of the details.

Kara and I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who kept us in their prayers while we were gone. We also ask that you continue to pray for the people that we were able to interact with, and especially for Pastor Antoine and Pastor Judy.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this all week long.

- Matt and Kara

Friday, January 14, 2011

A day of fun!

Our free day did not cooperate with us weather wise. It was about 70 degrees but very windy and cloudy. Despite that, it was an awesome day to get out and experience the Bahamas. There were two groups of people this morning, one went out to go snorkeling and the other went to a big market with lots of home made crafts known as the straw market.
Those that went to the straw market in the morning quickly learned the art of bartering to get the prices down on the things that you want! The market was a huge place with tons of vendors all trying to get you to buy their goods. Some of the members learned the hard way that "nothing in life is free except the good grace of God" hahah There was a lady who was saying that necklaces were free. So she put them on the girls neck and then told them that she accepted tips so they took out about 2 dollars and she says that tip for her necklaces are 5 dollars.... and she refused to let them give the necklaces back.... so they learned the hard way that nothing is free. Another lady standing nearby was the one that said the line about nothing being free except the grace of God.
Lots of souveneirs were bought and a good time was had by all! We then met up with the group that had gone snorkeling that morning at a resturant called Conch Fritters, a Bahamian resturant in downtown. The food was great!


 Enjoying the day off!

Lots of booths in the crowded Straw Market 

More Bahamian dialect 

Funny saying at Dunkin Donuts - we thought it applied to us students 

A few cruise ships were docked near downtown

Today about 18 of us were able to go snorkeling at a place called Stuart Cove's. We all went out on a boat, and visited 3 different locations. The first one included a sunken plane, which I believe was placed there for use in Jaws 4. The second location had a large section of coral reef, and many different kinds of sea life. Near the second location there were a bunch of divers exploring some other sunken objects. According to our guide, Into the Blue, and a James Bond movie were filmed next to the spot and they had sunken a boat for use in the movie. We unfortunately were not able to see them because we had to stay within 100 feet of the boat for safety reasons. Our 3rd and final location required a longer (also colder and windier) ride to a deeper section of the sea, which is home to many large Carribean Reef Sharks. Our first mate, Vincent, dropped a box of food about 40 feet into the water and we hovered above watching them all eat. It was a thrilling experience to see all of these large, powerful (and dangerous!) creatures.

It may have not been optimal weather conditions, but I believe we all enjoyed the experience. One team member even conquered her greatest fear (sharks) by getting in the water. It was a great way to spend the day off, and it was definitely a morning I will never forget.

We did our final debriefing tonight, and almost everyone is already packed up. We will meet in the morning for donuts and devotions, then head to the Nassau airport to go through customs. Next we will stop in Washington DC for a few hours before flying into Indianapolis. Please continue to pray for us as we travel tomorrow.

We all wish this trip would last for another few weeks, but alas it is time to return.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We believe that we accomplished so much this week and all of you played a very significant role in that.


Our ride for the morning 

Snorkeling stuff 


Lindsey and Sarah

 Kindra, Kristen, Morgan, and Brita

Seagulls were everywhere

Waiting to get picked up by the bus

It is what it is.

First of all, Kara and I would like to apologize for being a day late. Things have been crazy, and we just now have the opportunity to catch all of you up on our latest adventures. Yesterday (Thursday) was our last day working in the clinic and the school. We were also able to enjoy a great home-cooked meal thanks to some of the women from Victory Chapel Church of the Nazarene.

Nursing experience
thursday was such a sad day for everyone because we knew that this was our last day at the clinic. We saw about 100 people again at the clinic, however they were much more spread out throughout the day so the day was much slower than the other days have been. We were able to help many more people today which was awesome! we have already had some many people asking us if we would come back next year and i think that it is unanimous that we all want to come back very soon!! What we had left over in medications we were able to leave at the church with the pastor to distribute to fomilies in need in the future. we were also able to leave behind some bandages with the doctor to use in his practice. The team also collected clothes that we did not want to take home and donate them to the church as well to pass out to the community. All of the people that we met this week have made such an impact in all of our lives and we hope that we were able to make as much of an impact on them as they have on us.


morgan taking a child's temperature

Joni checking vitals on a little Haitian patient

Michelle taking some time to teach the kids "go fish"

Final Day:
It was a sad day at Oakes Field Primary School. We were all excited to see the students again, but all day we knew (and so did the kids) that it was going to be our last day there. Every student wanted to know our email address, home address, or Facebook name so that they could keep in touch.

For me, Thursday was definitely the day I was stretched the furthest. My teacher, Mrs. Kemp, asked me which subject I wanted to teach that day. It definitely caught me off guard especially since I have no training to be a teacher. I taught a lesson on multiplying and dividing fractions, and it was a totally new experience for me. I also graded papers, for which Mrs. Kemp told me I could grade any way I wished. It was definitely a learning experience.

The kids hated to see us leave, and we hated to leave them but it was time for us to go.

- Matt

Eating our delicious dinner

Frankie, Beth, and Steph leading us all in song

Group photo
Including Mike Shinn (Director), Pastor Antoine and Pastor Judy

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Today was a very busy day for all of us! After working all day in the school and the clinic we went back to the hotel for dinner and to get changed before going back to the church to put on bible school. Today is the 1 year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, so we started off the service with a prayer session and some worship. After worship the team set up the activities for our carnival themed VBS. The kids had a BLAST! it was so humbling to see kids get so excited about wining something as small as a 25 cent eraser. Even the adults wanted to color and play the games. Thankfully we bought plenty of prizes and supplies. Some of the stations that we had set up were face painting, balloon animal making, basket toss, wordless book bracelet making, and coloring. The night went so fast that when it was time to clean up no one wanted to leave. we literally had to pry the children off o us because they didn't want us to leave :) We have already formed some great relationships with the children here. we are all referred to as "mam" and "sir" which is so different than what we are used to in the US. Even if we asked them if they are having fun their answer would be "yes mam". Once we got home from VBS we went to have devotions and headed to bed! We are all so exhausted that we don't even want to stay up late to get in the hot tub!!!

Nursing day 3:
today was another very successful day in the clinic! we saw over 100 patients again today! it is amazing how many lives we are able to impact even in the short time that we have been here. There are people who have told me that they have had to walk miles to get here just to have their children looked at. We were able to come up with a very efficient system for getting people in and out of the clinic so we got many more people through in shorter time today, which has been great! One thing that i learned is that they LOVE anything that smells good. i was passing around the bath and body works antibacterial gel that i had and within 10 minutes i had already run out. For some people they are not able to shower daily, or even weekly for some patients, so having something that smells so good was awesome to them, they were rubbing it all over their bodies and behind their ears! If we come next year we know that we need to bring some sort of lotion with us because they really appreciated that. Everyone has agreed that this has been a WONDERFUL experience for us as nursing students because we have seen so many problems and have applied the critical thinking skills that we have been learning. We will let you know how tomorrow goes!!!
Ashley and Beth assessing a father and his daughter

Steph checking blood pressure

say ahhhhh :)

Brita is always surrounded by children... they are drawn to her!

Education day 3:
The trip to school this morning was a lot less interesting than it was yesterday, which we were all grateful for. Markus and Rachel were able to go to the guys basketball tournament today. They say that it is nothing like basketball back in the US. Speaking of Markus, the girls at the primary school love him. Every girl there was upset that he went to the basketball game, and wasn't there to entertain them. I switched class rooms today and I had my first experience with a Smart Board. It was great to see how all of the children were anxious to run up and write on the board.

One thing that really stretched me today is that my teacher had a meeting with a few other teachers and left me in the classroom with the students for over an hour. I wasn't left with any instruction, and I had to figure out what they were supposed to do. It was difficult to keep them quiet and busy without their teacher in the room, but it felt great to have some responsibility. I was able to walk around and teach the concept individually.

I also had the opportunity to entertain many different questions in the classroom today, and they had a lot they wanted to know. They loved hearing about snow, cold weather, schools in the US, and about all of different things and people they have seen on tv. Many of the children dream of being able to come to the US some day.

Tomorrow is our last day at the school, and I imagine that it will be hard to say goodbye. They won't want their visitors to leave, and we will all miss our new friends.

- Matt

 The primary school children love getting their picture taken

 They loved the face-painting!

Markus leading a game 

Jessie's friend 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A few extra pictures

A few more pictures to tide everyone over until we are able to post again.

The broken window 

Silly faces! 

Stephanie and friend 

Balloon time

- Matt


One more busy and eventful day is now drawing to a close. We will be meeting for devotions in around an hour or so, and I am guessing that most of us will go to bed immediately after.

The day started out normal with another delicious breakfast and a student-led devotion. After breakfast we loaded up the bus and headed to the schools to drop off the education department first. Once the education team headed to the classrooms the nursing team had an eventful run in with a tree branch. The team is fine, but the rear window of the bus did not fare so well. The window is being fixed as we speak, and we will be off and running like it never happened.

                                                 the view of one of the islands from the airplane

Nursing students day:
Today was another busy day in the clinic! We saw a lot of people again today which was great! We have all been very busy, however it is a great feeling that we are able to help so many people.We have been handing out a lot of multivitamins for both chilren and adults as well as toothbrushes and toothpaste. There are some very  poor people coming in to be seen over these past few days and even though they have some pretty serious problems with their health they do not have the money to go and see a doctor for a prescription. There has been a lot of people with uncontrolled high blood pressure, which is one of the most prevelant concerns of the patients. We are able to play games and talk with the people who are waiting in the waiting room so it has been great to get to know more about the people that we are treating. A large number of the people who we are seeing are not able to communicate very well so that poses an issue when trying to ask patients more about the problems that are hurting them. Something that is very humbling for all of us students is the fact that so many of these people have been having pain for months but they do not even have simple things like advil to help get rid of a headache, unlike in the US where whenever we have a headache we take medicine right away. We are really looking forward to tomorrow and we are praying that we are able to see as many people as we have in these past few days. The pastor of the church has been a huge help in everything that we are doing this week. We also have had the help of a wonderful translator who helps to make the communication process so much smoother.

Kindra and Kristen eating our bagged lunches

two of the chilren we got to play with in the clinic. we blew bubbles and colored pictures with them as well

courtney teaching a child how to listen to heart sounds. she kept walking up to people telling them to say woof woof so she could hear their breath sounds :)

kindra assesing a patient in the clinic

a child with her vitamins and antifungal cream after going through the clinic. they are so proud of the medications that they have been given, even if it is only a 30 day supply.
Education Day #2:

The experiences at the primary school seem to be very different for everyone. Some people have been spending most of their time in the back of the classroom grading papers while others have been given the opportunity to really teach the children, and help with their assignments. The culture is very different than that of the schools in the United States, and that is one big adjustment we have all had to make. At times we don't always agree with some of the teaching methods or the ways that some children are punished, but part of our job here is to learn and respect their way of doing things.

The students in my classroom for the last few days (Grade 6 McKinney) are still trying to adjust to have someone totally new in their room, and their behavior demonstrates that struggle. It is difficult watching the children get into trouble when I know that they are just excited to have me there. Even with these issues, it is great to see the children really learn. Even though my fraction multiplication skills were a little rusty ( I think we all had that issue) I really did feel like I was able to give the kids so much more one-on-one attention than they normally have. With 32 (or more) children in a class, and limited resources, it definitely puts a strain on the teachers.

Some of us have been dealing with the issue of not really feeling like we are making a huge difference in the lives of these children by helping grade papers, but I do believe that God brought every one of us here for a reason. We may not know it, but maybe that hug I gave that child was their first in a long time or maybe that girl really just needed a little extra help with an assignment that my team and I were able to provide. I believe that we really are making a difference while we are here.

Tomorrow is a very busy day, and I will try my best to take as many pictures as possible so you all can see just how beautiful everyone and everything is down here.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday and Monday

Well as you  all probably know by now, we made it here to The Bahamas!!! After arriving at the airport at 5am on Sunday for a very long day of traveling we were all more than happy when we landed in Nassau. Soon after landing we piled 30 people into a 20 passenger bus, with everyones luggage. It was a little more than a tight fit for sure but we made it there without any problems. We went to get some dinner and then spent the rest of the night resting and getting settled in until church. Church was a very different experience for a lot of us because the style of worship is very different. There were people dancing and clapping through the whole worship time. The people that go to the church are all of Haitian decent. The service was a mixture of creole and English, with a translator for a good portion of the service. After church we grabbed dinner and headed back to the hotel for the night.
our trusty transportation for this week :)

                                                   the amazing view from our hotel rooms

Nursing students report for Monday:
Today we went to the church to set up the first day of the medical clinic. we all didn't really know what to expect walking in there. when we showed up there were already about ten people waiting there for us even though we weren't supposed to start for another half hour. we quickly got everything set up and started seeing patients. for the first three hours or so we saw close to 100 people with all problems. it was a great experience to be able to assess the patients and try to help them understand why they may be having those problems. there was a great variety of medical issues, some very minor and some more serious. there were lots of children there so the balloons and coloring pages were a hit, as well as the bubbles we had brought to entertain waiting patients. we had so many patients that we ran out of the medications that we had set aside for the first day!! we were able to take a short break to eat our bagged lunches and then we were back to work. the people here are all so kind and respectful and it was awesome getting to sit and talk with some of the patients waiting to be seen. the children are very respectful of their elders and most of the time we are referred to as mam or sir. we are hoping that tomorrow we are able to have as much success as we had today and that the people who were there today spread the word that we are here to help the community. the pastor of the church said that there many more people than just his congregation there. many of the children speak very good English but the adults were not as able to communicate with us. we were very lucky to have the help of a wonderful translator helping to make the communication a smooth process.  we cant wait to let you know how tomorrow goes!
- Kara

Education Report for Monday:
The school here is nothing like what we are used to back in the United States. Open windows, many buildings, prayer 3 times per school day, and a lot more singing and dancing. The 11 students were all split up between Primary (grades 4-6) and Lower Primary (Grades 1-3). Some of us started our morning by attending the school spelling bee, while others went directly into the classrooms to begin assisting the teachers. We all felt like celebrities, everyone was staring (and asking to touch our hair) and all of the children were very excited to have us as their visitors.

                                                  A mural on one of the many classroom buildings

                                                        They loved having their picture taken!

Showing-off for the camera

Here are a few fun facts about our school. First of all, the children start school younger than we do in the US. The 6th graders were only 10 or 11 years old. The students are able to buy ice cream during their first "recess". They love our American music. Finally, every question is answered with a "Yes Mam (Sir) or No Mam (Sir). I think I can speak for everyone in the group when I say I am excited to go back tomorrow.

- Matt