Having the opportunity to go to Thomazeau, Haiti was a life changing experience. Firstly, I am grateful to be employed by STAR Physical Therapy, a company who has strong foundational values in faith and a true heart to serve others, locally and globally. LiveBeyond, the organization that we assisted, was/is very intentional in their efforts in spreading the love and the message of Jesus Christ to meet the spiritual needs of the Haitians and they are also purposeful in helping meet their physical needs by providing employment, education, clothing, food, and medical care (preventative, restorative, and maternal), etc. This trip allowed me to view the world from the eyes of Jesus and truly be an extension of Christ’s hands and feet.
Upon arrival, we learned of the rich history and the culture of the Haitian community, particularly the local area. Due to the poor economic state of the country, it is not uncommon that many die from starvation. Learning of that fact and seeing various malnourished individuals was heart breaking and a vast contrast of life in the United States. I was also astounded by the incidence of death of mother and child from women giving childbirth. My heart cried most when learning about the high percentage of children been raised in orphanages due to their family’s inability to provide for them and in some cases pure abandonment. My heartstrings were tugged greatly when working with Johnny’s Kids. Johnny’s Kids, is a group of children from the Thomazeau community, who have mental and/or physical disabilities. At birth many of these children are neglected and/or treated poorly because of their mental and physical conditions. I had the opportunity to provide physical therapy to six of the most loving and resilient children that I have ever met. I was able to truly appreciate the level of gratitude and love that the children possessed for themselves and one another. My experience in Haiti allowed me to truly put value on the things in life that we often take for granted. It reminded me that love transcends all cultures (language barriers, skin tones, social economic status, etc). It beckoned me to be diligent and intentional in my efforts to “GO” and continue to make a positive impact in the lives of others utilizing my gifts and my talents, but most importantly it reminded me of the impact that we can have when we are purposeful in sharing the love of Jesus Christ. This experience has forever changed my life and I am grateful that STAR Physical Therapy allowed this opportunity to be possible.
Tameka Duncan, PT, DPT, CI