This is something that has always been close to my heart and that I’ve always wanted to write about. My Senior year of college I had the opportunity to go on a Medical Missions trip to Jamaica along with several girls from my nursing class. It was amazing, mon. We went through a missions organization, Mustard Seed Communities. (GREAT organization. Check it out if you have time!) Most of our money was raised through donations, and my intention all along was to send my donors all a letter after our trip full of pictures, so they could share in our experiences in some small way. Sadly, that never happened and I won’t go into why just yet.
It was definitely wonderful to go to Jamaica- great music, beautiful weather and scenery, and yummy food.
While we were there we stayed at a place called Sophie’s Place. At Sophie’s Place there were several small houses (apart from where we stayed) that house disabled children who had been abandoned. Most of these children had physical disabilities and deformities I had never ever seen or even imagined. Some were so neglected that their little arms and legs were horribly atrophied, and they had very little use of their limbs. Most couldn’t talk; some couldn’t walk. One child in particular had Hydrocephalus and as a result was blind. His head was severely enlarged, and one of my friends found that he liked people to rub his head with their hands. She quickly became attached to him and I think found joy in the fact that she could comfort him with this small act.
In the mornings we rose early and helped feed, bathe, and dress the children. None of the children owned their own clothing; it was all shared among them. One of the things that stuck with me most was the fact that these children had never seen us before, but they accepted us and warmed to us immediately. When they first saw our van arrive, some of the mobile children came right up to the fence to greet us.
We spent some of our afternoons at a place called Jerusalem, where the clinic was. There currently was no nurse overseeing the clinic, so we spent time updating the medical charts, disposing of expired medications, and organizing the clinic. As one of the residents at Jerusalem said (in reference to our med disposal attempt), “Down the drain, no good” “We bury it.”
We had brought several large tubs of medical supplies with us which had been detained at customs and were never released to us while we were in Jamaica. I don’t know if the supplies ever reached that clinic.
One of my favorite memories of the whole trip was from an afternoon at Jerusalem. There was a school there, and one day some of us happened to be outside when the kids were at recess. They swarmed over to us and began calling us “Auntie”. “Auntie, spin me a-round!” “Auntie, is your money different from ours? What does it look like?” It was so precious! Some of the little girls began playing with my hair and putting it into little braids. Some of the kiddos taught us how to make a loud popping sound with leaves. I just could not get over how these children took to us immediately.
I think all our hearts were touched on this trip. Our hearts were filled by the love the children showed us, and our hearts ached over the suffering we witnessed, and the neglect that manifested into some of the physical disabilities. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to go on this missions trip. Because of Mustard Seed’s regulations, we were unable to take pictures of the children. For that reason I have very few pictures from the trip and never got around to writing a “trip summary” for my donors.
God has granted a special grace to the people who work with these children everyday, and to these children who show the love of Christ to others so transparently.