I have just returned from my mission trip to Haiti and Dominican Republic. What a place, what an experience. The words seem to fail me to be able to express and explain the experience I have just encountered. Indulge me a little…let me try to express how I feel.
I have spent one week in the most amazing company of like minded Chiropractors and students. We have laughed, loved and cried (not necessarily in that order). The Haiti experience was an eye opener. It allowed me to realize the value of such commodities as say; clean water, toilets that flush and a hot shower in the morning. Lest we not forget the comfort of the double bed that is just swamped with fluffy pillows, duvets and shrugs. Clean clothes, a hairdryer and makeup. Yet in the moment, none if this seemed to matter. None was significant to any of us as we were there on a mission. A mission to serve others and give hope to so many who never knew there was someone sent from their angels to watch over them, someone who cared enough to take their head in our hands, lift up their chin and embrace them with such love in our hearts.
I have cried oh too many times to recall this past week. It catches me off guard. I don’t mean to, but it just overcomes me and I find my chin quivering and a tear tumbling down my cheek, sadness in one aspect but such joy in the other. Each time I have been touched by such emotion I had not felt before. I am feeling and I am letting it flow.
My initial reasons for the mission were quite selfish. I broke my hand in a roller blading collision with a car in December 2012 and listening to Dr Simonetti speak, I thought I should go on this mission to improve my skill and become more capable with my altered right hand and relatively limited motion. As the time grew closer and after taking part in the seminar with Dr Morgan I soon realized my reasons were very different. I realized that there was more to this trip than simply adjusting. This was going to be a shock to my ‘precious’ system and this was going to be a trip to serve the people, to give them a flash into our world and to offer them another way other than they were used to.
None of us spoke Creole, I don’t speak French. All I was armed with were my hands, a shared astro-lite table or a chair and Spanish. ‘Su do’, ‘Su vent’, ‘Su kote’ and ‘Shita’…this was all we had. In this modern western world, we have everything. We have technology beyond imagination, we have anything and everything available at a touch of a button and all the hoolaballoo. Not just that but we have hot water, we have sanitation, we have electricity…we have connection. However, in Haiti we had nothing but our mutual love of chiropractic, like mindedness in spirit, love, those 4 phrases, our tables, our hands and the ability to understand from their gestures where they had pain (even though I don’t consider myself a pain based chiropractor, it did come in handy).
Yet they came, and boy did they come in their 10’s, 50’s and 100’s. They was no let up, once one person got up from the table another person presented themselves, nay! jumped on our tables, even to the point where 5 people launched themselves at one of my compi’s tables, with headache consequences (good job we were on hand to help)!
The Dominican Republic part was tame in comparison. The people of DR have more wealth in comparison to Haiti. They have homes, they have access to clean water and sanitation. They have hit the jackpot, yet still in comparison to our day to day lives they are still living an unfortunate life…that is in comparison to our life of sheer comfort and spoils that we take for granted.
The best moments for me were the eye openers. That moment when you adjust someones cervical spine and their eyes pop open, not just from from the shock of the cavitation – the noise, but realization of the power of an adjustment. I loved that moment. I would always give them a moment to accept and explain it, stroking their cheek with a smile. These people didn’t sit in on a half hour health talk, they didn’t even know the full extent of what it was we were doing, but they believed. They believed we were truly sent from above, they believed that what we had to offer worked. They believed, full stop.
Although I adjusted more people than I can count and cried more times than I can identify, I will always take one thing away from this experience in Haiti and DR… HOPE. Hope that what WE do helps, what WE do works, what WE do is important. Important in delivery and important in reception from whoever is on our table.
Ego out of the way, let the energy play. Release interference to the nervous system and allow the body to do with it what it will. I am realistic, I am educated. I know that it takes more than that…in the Western world. Yet for these people, none of that seemed to matter. They trusted, believed and desired. They wanted what we had to offer, they believe in another way. Their eyes lit up with emotion and their gratitude for what we did. Expressed with words and moreso with embraces of honest true love and thankfulness that maybe, just maybe we opened the window of opportunity and the realization that they are not alone (they are never alone) and, regardless of faith…someone or something more powerful than we can ever comprehend is there, watching over us and that each and every moment matters and each and every moment happens for a reason.
These are my real thoughts, my real feelings. I am so blessed to have been a part of this mission trip and I am looking forward to my next one. I cannot wait to go again, to help, to serve. Thank you to each and everyone who I shared some moment in time with. It is greatly appreciated and will always be remembered.