Katie Michel gives her view of her two trips to Chauffard:
I had the opportunity to travel to Chauffard two years in a row- and think about and miss our times there often!I think the two things that always stand out to me the most when I am there are the amazing people we get to spend time with and the incredible beauty of the area. Although our interactions with patients are brief, there are many of those encounters that are sealed in my memory. And to be honest, I think about them, and the people of that area, all the time. One of my favorite memories of my trips – and the people who make it worth it- is this young lady and her baby. I met her on my first trip- she was a scared, newly pregnant, single mom. She was terrified of pregnancy, and scared she wouldn’t be able to do it. I gave her the limited prenatal things we had, as much advice as I could, prayed with her and reminded her that she was enough, and told her I looked forward to meeting her baby some day! Fast forward a year, and I was again at the clinic. I was walking into the clinic early one morning, when I suddenly heard someone calling my name. I looked over to see this young woman, holding her baby. It took me a moment to connect who she was… but she couldn’t wait a minute longer to introduce me to her beautiful, healthy baby boy! It was an incredible moment to see her- realize the answer to prayer her baby was, and see what an impact our brief meeting the year before had had on this life!Her baby, and her life reflected the reason I (and everyone else on the team) love to travel and work in Chauffard!
Another precious memory I hold close to my heart, and think of often, was an elderly gentleman who came through my clinic room. He didn’t have any major issues to address, just generalized fatigue, back pain, knee and foot pain. I gave him what I could, encouraged him to continue to take care of himself and let his family care for him. As we finished the visit- he asked if I would remember him and pray for him when I returned to the US. I assured him I would- at which point he asked- How? How will you remember me? You don’t have a picture or anything to help you remember! We snapped a quick picture, and he was on his way- but I’m sure that man has no idea the impact he had on my life that day! Maybe some day I’ll get to tell him just how often I remember him, look at his picture, and pray for him!
The staff we get to work with at the clinic are fantastic! Every year I come away with a new set of nursing friends! These girls worked so hard all week- always with a smile, eager to learn, and so kind to each patient that came through our doors!
The views surrounding the clinic and church compound are simply stunning! Having the opportunity to explore the mountainsides with some of the local neighborhood children keeping us safe, and on the right trail, were some of my favorite, cherished moments! Those children know no stranger, and are so protective of each other, and all of the team members!