VNA Employees Provide Abundant Life® to Impoverished Haitians
For two VNA, western Pennsylvania employees, caring for others isn’t just a job – it’s a mission.
In March, Jim Lewis, spiritual counselor and Renetta Winkler, RN, wound ostomy continence nurse traveled with 10 others to Mombin Crochu, Haiti, to help its impoverished residents. They brought with them $73,000 worth of medicines and supplies donated by Global Links and the Brother’s Brother Foundation in Pittsburgh.
The town has a population of about 20,000 people, most of whom live below the poverty level. There is no running water, no sewage treatment and sporadic electricity, which forced Winkler to be very creative when treating patients, she said. She made a solution of vinegar and water which she used to clean up after treating patients.
Winkler remembers one patient for whom she treated a foot wound, which she later discovered was due to a large hole in the man’s shoe. In addition to helping heal the wound, Winkler gave the man her own shoes to keep his feet protected.
This was Lewis’ fifth trip to Mombin Crochu since 2000. He has become friends with many of the people he has worked with, including Maudelin Mesadieu. From 2003 to 2012, Lewis and members of his church supported Mesadieu financially through medical school. Mesadieu has since graduated, become a physician and has opened a medical clinic in Mombin Crochu.
“I love this country,” Lewis said. “I feel like with the relationships I’ve made, I’m returning to visit family. I also return because the need is huge and helping allows me to feel like I’m making a difference.”
Educating the Haitians about health care was a large part of their mission, and can make a tremendous difference in improving the conditions there.
“I would like to do a lot more education next time, working on the resources they have and going from there,” Winkler said.
Photo at right: Renetta Winkler and a few of the Haitian children she served on her recent mission trip to the Haitian town of Mombin Crochu.