This post is a continuation of mission news coverage authored by Chiropractor, Peter Morgan.
Now on to Haiti…
Jason O’Connor, DC, from Antioch, California was the primary chiromission organiser of the Haiti expedition and led the brave team of Chiropractors. David Hecht, DC, from New York was another mission leader, and John Palmer, Chiropractic Student at Life University was the student leader. There was a lot of uncertainty on both sides (Haiti and ChiroMission) as to how this was going to work, said Dr. O’Connor. I was organizing with people who have never received an adjustment, and who do not know what Chiropractic is. I have never been to Haiti. I do not speak Creole. I was nervous and apprehensive regarding our physical safety. I was concerned about the sanitary conditions. However since our mission was so important, I was willing to try. I trusted that the God would see that things would work out. We were pleasantly surprised!
Photo: Dr. Todd Herold and Sr. Jason O’Connor telling the chiropractic story to Medical Doctors and residents at Morillo King Hospital
The expansion to Haiti fits nicely into ChiroMission’s desire to bring the benefits of Chiropractic to people who cannot afford healthcare. During the last ChiroMission trip, in October 2007, Dr. O’Connor was introduced by a Dominican friend to Rezene Tesfamariam, Director of Plan Haiti. Plan International has donated $350,000 toward the construction of a kindergarten at Institution Univers, as school of 1,500 students in the town of Ouanaminthe, Haiti. Understanding the objectives of ChiroMission, Rezene introduced Dr. O’Connor to Hugues Bastien, the founder of Institution Univers. That’s how it all began, said Jason. I just wanted to help in any way that I could. For me this is a perfect match”my love for the Dominican people and my love for Chiropractic”all wrapped up in an effort to serve and make things better for others. Having lived in the D.R. for two years, I know how poor the country is. I knew that Haiti was even worse off.
Looking back on the trip, one can recognize some great lessons of life. Things usually look ugly before they get better. Dr. O’Connor and his team almost decided to turn back when they got to the border and were told they couldn’t take their rental car across. They were weary, hungry and sweaty from their long trip from Puerta Plata to the Hatian border. Not to mention nervous, anxious and apprehensive. They were receiving lots of offers from “strange” strangers to watch their rental car while they went across the river to Haiti. Images of returning to a dismantled vehicle, or no vehicle at all ran through their minds. We couldn’t reach our contact person Mr. Hugues Bastien on the phone. We were stranded for hours. We were stuck! The team told stories about their time waiting. Little children were coming from Haiti begging for money. Several of them approached the car windows and we could see their skin riddled with all sorts of skin diseases, teeth that were decayed to the roots, and wearing filthy rags for clothes. We could see across the border to the outskirts of a very poor town, very sparse vegetation, and garbage everywhere.
Don’t give up! The team reported that their minds began looking for every reason not to go forward. But, just as they were beginning to make plans to leave, they received a call from Mr. Bastien. He confirmed the fact that they couldn’t bring the vehicle across the border. They felt even more insecure when he told them he might have a place where it could be left. When Dr. Hect asked if it would be safe, Hugues just replied, Trust me. Followed by an unsettling laugh.
œWe really had no other choice, so we left our car, and the keys, and the team hopped into Hugues’ 4 wheel drive van and crossed into Ouanaminthe. The chiromissionaries were so happy that they endured the hardships and carried on with the mission. We would have missed out on a great opportunity to serve and the people who were expecting us would have been severely disappointed. Jason O’Connor also described the organization of the Medical Center. They had scheduled appointments with the people, just like a regular office. They had scheduled 100 patients per hour, and people showed up consistently throughout the day. We worked non-stop over seeing all the scheduled patients plus walk-ins for the days that we were in Ouanaminthe. A good 12+ hours of solid work per day for each member of the team.
To help with the language barrier, the chiromissionaries had help from translators who delivered the Chiropractic story to educate the people as they waited. Emphasis was placed on the vitalistic principle That the power that made the body, heals the body. The facility at Universe Medical Centre was built for all types of health providers, who can come and donate their time and talents to help the people. There is a huge need for help. The team was told that there is only one health provider in the region, a medical doctor. Only 25% of his time is actually spent seeing patients because of the administrative responsibilities he also carries. The 3 story Medical Centre is right off the town square, and is currently scheduling visits from doctors from other nations.
The team also expressed admiration for Hugues Bastien. Hugues is one of 12 children. He is a well educated gentleman receiving an advanced Engineering degree in college His family immigrated to the United States. All of his brothers and sisters continue to reside in the United States, but Hugues had a dream to build a educataional center in his home town. The educators at the center would teach children how to prepare for opportunities, how to create oppurtunities and to take advantage of oppurtunities when they come along. Little by little he began to build the school. In the beginning he saved money by working as a taxi driver in New York. Slowly but surely he worked and toiled on his dream. Finally Mr. Bastien’s dream came to realization. Now there is a stunning educational facility that has 1,600 students. This was the first time that any Chiropractors had visited the town.
Another facility is also nearing completion; it will be able to house teams of 50- 60 doctors who could stay for a week or longer. With Hugues’ engineering background, he has taken his vision and turned it into reality. ChiroMission was able to share in his joy as the fruits of his labor are beginning to show. Speaking on behalf of the ChiroMission team, Dr. O’Connor, stated We were tremendously blessed by what we received from the experience in Ouanaminthe. We went with one purpose, to give of ourselves. We will never forget this!
Back in the Dominican Republic the 30 teams were stationed all over the country. Many of the chiropractors were on their first mission trip but they all prepared for an incredibly powerful week of love and service, giving God’s greatest gift to man “chiropractic”. Chiropractic to so many people that may not have ever had the opportunity to experience a chiropractic adjustment. Teams were located in mountain villages, in city ghettos, in orphanages, nursing homes, prisons and villages that were devastated by a recent hurricane. Some teams adjusted as many as 1,000 people in a day. The average team adjusted 400 people a day. Almost every team adjusted all the students in each local school. All types of people presented to our teams. Their were new born infants clutching their mothers breast, their were people over 100 years, people with hatchet wounds, people on crutches and wheel chairs, priests, pastors, ministers, curios passerby’s would wander over, an endless procession of people with all kinds of ailments. However the chiropractors analyzed and adjusted solely for the purpose of removing nerve interference. As DD Palmer stated “Our mission is to reunite the physical with the spiritual”. Each adjustment was accompanied by a hug and the love just poured forth. People cried, laughed, smiled and grinned after they get adjusted, however they all respected the sacred art of adjusting the spine. The damaging effects of vertebral subluxation are easily identifiable in the DR. The ChiroMission Foundation is doing it’s best to bring chiropractic to the DR on a permanent basis. ChiroMission foundation also raised over $5000 dollars on this trip and it was donated to the Casa de Oracion.
Look at what is in our Horizon. 600,000 people around the world need to be served in the next three years. We need your help.
Thanks to Joe Vetere, DC we have at least 15,000 people in Trinidad to adjust in January 2009. Get this: Dr.Vetere has a weekly radio show that airs in Trinidad. ChiroMission will have a one minute radio spot on the air every week in Trinidad. They will keep airing it until we get there in January. We will be in serving in several Trinidad cities: Port of Spain, Chaguanas, Couva, San Francique and Mortuga.
Thanks to Joe Vetere, DC we have over 100,000 people to be adjusted in churches in Mexico. Thanks to Joe Vetere, DC we have over 45,000 people to be adjusted in Jamaica. Thanks to Joe Vetere, DC we have over 40,000 people to be adjusted in in Agentina. Thanks to Pastor Soto we have over 45,000 people to be ajusted in Guatamala.
Please join us on our next ChiroMission:
October 2008-DR/Haiti January 2009-Trinidad April 2009-DR/Haiti
The following is our tentative schedule.
If you are interested in the trinidad trip please sign up now. We only have room for five more doctors and ten more students.
“Are You In Mission Mode?”
Visit our website at www.chiromission.org