I am just 22 days out from taking an incredible group of friends to Haiti…many for their first time. We have plans to listen, to see, and learn…to provide day camp for our schoolkids…to converse with our adult English students…to consider the addition of a fourth classroom…to encourage our staff. We will show up.
As final details are being completed, my thoughts wander between excitement, worry, and anticipation. This is a place that means so much to me…and to share that with my pals is just a bit overwhelming at times. My sis and her family will be joining in this adventure too…bringing their Haitian sons to their birth country, for their first return trip. I am thrilled to be experiencing this with them.
While the things on my to-do list include planning lessons, coordinating details with staff on site, researching the best sites to visit…the reality of locals has changed recently with the outbreak of the chikungunya virus.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haitian health authorities will distribute pain medication to clinics around the country amid a surge in suspected cases of a mosquito-borne virus that is new to the region, a government official said Friday.
More than 5,500 suspected cases of the chikungunya virus have been reported in Haiti, up from 1,500 cases a week earlier, Public Health Minister Florence Guillaume said.
There is no vaccine for chikungunya and the primary treatment is pain medication for the high fever and arthritis-like ache in the joints that are symptoms of the illness. The illness is rarely fatal though there have been deaths associated with chikungunya among people who are elderly or who have an underlying medical condition.
As reported by the Canadian Press on Global News.
We will take precautions, wearing our insect repellent, sleeping under mosquito nets at night, and bringing plenty of acetaminophen. We will pray. And we will remember that we are visitors. Our students and their families live with this risk day in and day out, with minimal resources for easing their pain – intermittent electricity, limited water supply, lack of funds for purchasing pain meds. Join me in praying the truth of Romans 15:13, that our God fills the hearts in Haiti with joy and peace and hope, as they battle yet another crisis.