Nelson in Haiti!
Thank you for your generous donations!!! Your funds helped make a dream come true for me. I had the enviable opportunity to provide pro bono physical therapy to some of the neediest people in the western hemisphere. The conditions were gritty, the workday exhausting, and sanitation was nonexistent, but the relationships I formed were unforgettable and the knowledge and perspective invaluable.
I can confidently proclaim, contributions towards the STAND Haiti Project, have a tremendous and life-changing impact. We provided countless medical supplies with quality care to Haitians of all ages and circumstance from orphans to displaced individuals.
My Personal Experience
Volunteering with STAND not only provided me the opportunity to give using my personal knowledge and skills, but also receive a phenomenal learning experience professionally, culturally, and personally.
I learned new ideas, concepts, and skills pertaining to a variety of populations including how to dry needle, build pediatric devices from duct tape and foam, perform orthotic alterations, help gait train a first-time prosthesis user, debride and clean wounds, implement vestibular treatments, and perform vertebral and extremity joint manipulations.
The experience shifted my perspective; particularly my appreciation of living in a developed nation with clean water, smooth orderly roads, and protection from mosquitoes.
Most importantly, the connections created and cultivated with locals and volunteers alike invigorated my passion for physical therapy in the hopes of returning soon to provide a lasting difference in their lives and mine.
A short vignette on how my nickname became ‘Monstre.’
“Can you fit the ankle foot orthotic on the boy in the back corner? Maybe he will work with you because I can’t get near him!” Vicky requested wearily.
“Yeah, of course!” I exclaimed naively.
I grab the AFO and head towards the back corner where I meet eyes with the 30 month old boy standing on a red play-mat. Immediately, he lets out a shrill scream! I halt to his scream.
I optimistically decide to pretend hide from him, rationalizing that he would be more comfortable if I played a short game of hide and seek. To my dismay, the boy responded to my playfulness, by gyrating violently to hide behind a Haitian interpreter, Joseph, with a deep-seated fear I have never witnessed. Joseph attempts to re-assure him that I am harmless. After a few more unsuccessful attempts to approach him, the boy yells out, “Monstre!!.” The local Haitians in the room laugh and roil at the boy’s unprecedented fear of white people.
I resign and toss the AFOs to Joseph with instructions. I return a few moments later to discover a wide circumferential wet spot on the red play-mat where the boy was standing moments ago.
They taught us cultural competence in school, but never how to handle a toddler so terrified by your skin color, he thoroughly pees his pants.
Thank you for supporting, donating, and reading!
For additional information on STAND, I have posted two examples of it’s tremendous impact on locals.
See link below for a touching story written by Dr. Justin Dunaway, founder of STAND. The embed video below the link shows the progress he has made since intervention.
The following patient story by @DrDunawayDPT recounts an extraordinary experience from @STANDHaiti. It's a quick read…cinemasays.wordpress.com
Secondly, a video update on Will Kingsley, a young boy without both hands and one leg playing soccer after prosthesis were customized for him.