In the fall of 2016, I travelled to Chauffard, Haiti as part of a medical mission team with the Church of St. Michael and St. Peter. Working with fellow clinicians inspired to serve others, I volunteered in a beautiful remote mountainous community that has minimal access to health care. When we first landed in Port-au-Prince, I had no idea what to expect. The day after our arrival, we took a long car ride into the town of Chauffard. Along the way, we were greeted by the wonderful members of the community. I remember being completely struck by the beauty of the country as we made it to the mountain top. My colleague and I got out of the car and walked alongside the young children as they guided us to our destination. There was truly nothing more warming and beautiful than walking on the Haitian mountains and overlooking this strikingly gorgeous country.
Throughout the week, we were able to provide care for over 1000 Haitian adult and paediatric patients. I can honestly say I have never had such a humbling experience. I remember lines of mothers and fathers lining up outside the clinic for care, bringing their newborns. I remember groups of young kids happily lining up for school, excited and eager to learn. I remember gathering for dinner each night with the parish and some community members, sharing a meal, and creating community.
My work as a volunteer in Chauffard has merely augmented the importance of helping others. Through each encounter I had, although a language barrier was prominent, it merely catalyzed the importance of being compassionate and kind, and I have carried that throughout my medical career as I encounter patients from diverse backgrounds. Since my time on the trip, I am now in my fourth year of medical school, and I am currently interviewing for residency positions. However, the stories and memories of the Haitian people will be something that I will never forget.