On Thursday, I went with the team to help put up the block walls of the home they were working on. (Josh, I consider building a house to be my WOD ;-). By the time we left to head back for lunch, my dress was literally soaked with sweat, and I had mortar, dust, and dirt everywhere. I was filthy.
We got back, and I was going to wash up quick before lunch, but I was told I was needed in clinic right away because, Pete, an American man who was at the other house site “broke” his finger. My athletic training mind kicked on. My initial thought was, “That looks dislocated,” but I’ve never actually seen a dislocated finger before. I was really hesitant to do anything because it could have been broken too, and I didn’t want to cause any further damage. Pete’s wife and another gal were out there (both nurses). A couple of the Haitian nurses were there too, and one of them tried to reset it. Pete is a strong man, but he was doing everything he could to not scream his lungs out. It didn’t go back in. I then had a “for such a time as this” moment. I knew I needed to try to reduce the dislocation and put it back and pray I wouldn’t make anything worse. I got down, pulled on his finger, knowing Pete was dying with pain. We all heard a little pop, and thought it went back in. It looked a little better, but it still wasn’t fully back in. I began feeling nauseous and a little dizzy and had to kneel on the floor. We decided to try one more time, but I knew I couldn’t do it; it was hard for me to even look at it. Amy, one of the other nurses, decided to try; we again heard a pop, and it went back in. The girls then splinted his finger, and then we headed back for lunch.
I was so frustrated and disappointed in myself. I know I’m not a failure, but I felt like one because I should’ve been able to relocate a finger; I’m an athletic trainer for goodness sake! What’s my problem? I was very thankful that Amy was able to reduce it, but why couldn’t I do it? What does this mean for me in the future when I’m in a situation and I have to do something? Am I going to feel nauseous again? I know that nobody was disappointed in me other than myself, but those were my thoughts.
I was walking back for lunch from the clinic having all these thoughts when I spotted Lorita (our other sponsored girl) and her mother. I was happy to see them but very confused because they live a few cities away, and it’s not like them to come unexpectedly. Robenson, my translator friend, was with me and helped me out. Apparently when my parents were with me last week and we went to visit them at their house, they told me they were coming, but somehow that was missed in the translation that day. I wasn’t sure what to do because I was still filthy dirty, already a half hour late for lunch but couldn’t just leave them there either. They were wearing their new clothes we had given them the week before, and said they had a gift for me. “A” gift that consisted of a large pot and bag of food- enough for a small army (I can’t imagine how much it cost them)! Pineapples, coconuts, bananas, mangos, corn, granadia, eggs, avocado, and some other things I had never seen before! I was speechless; it was such a beautiful but unexpected gift. I wasn’t sure what to do with it all, but we shared some of it with those who were standing around. It felt like a mini-Thanksgiving in Haiti. I ate a mango and everyone laughed at me because I had juice all over my face and mango hair coming out of my teeth. I don’t know how they eat them and stay so clean. It was sooo good! We talked some but mostly just enjoyed one another’s company. When it was time to leave, I said, “I don’t want to give you a hug because I am so dirty.” I heard them say the word “rad” which means clothes, but didn’t understand what else they said. Robenson said, “Sarah, you are not dirty; your clothes are dirty.” (One of those comments that just makes you smile and think.) (Mom and Dad, I know that gift was intended for you too =)
I get so much joy out of giving- physical and material things and my love and services. It brings me so much joy. But it is sometimes hard for me to receive. However, if we want to grant others the joy of being able to give, there must be times in which we receive. Lorita and her family have thanked my family and me repeatedly for all we have done for them over the years, and being able to see them receive our gifts has felt like a bigger blessing for us than for them. But the table turned Thursday; it was a very humbling experience to receive their gifts, and I hope that they were able to receive the blessing of being able to give.
All of this happened within an hour, and I think I experienced every emotion possible.