“It only takes a moment to make a big impact. A Haitian girl taught me that this week as we were working on building steps for her orphanage home,” said Lisa McMillian, 3rd year Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) student. “Her small hand slipped into mine as she looked up at me with a bright smile. We made our way back up the dusty path to refill our buckets with more sand. Back and forth we went until it was time to begin creating the steps. As I bent down to lay a block into wet cement I felt a hand gently wipe my skin. I looked down and there was, Isamarie, cleaning a small cut I had received. We had hardly been there for 2 hours, yet she didn’t hesitate showing her thoughtfulness and care. It was a simple moment, but she showed me that first day what an impact one can make if we only take the time to love in the moment.” Lisa and a team of seven other DPT and three Orthotics & Prosthetics (O&P) students spent a week in Haiti July 25th through August 1st, 2015. They went in part to complete a structure started the year before by DPT student, Samantha Willis Moore. She raised money to redo the front of the Adventist school in Haiti, Universite Adventiste d’Haiti. The school has 199 students with 17 living in the attached orphanage. The students spent a busy week building three walls to complete the school, a set of steps and a sidewalk to replace a long, steep dirt path to the entrance, one day teaching for the Rehab Technician Training program, which will soon graduate its fourth cohort, one day divided between the Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti and the Club Foot Clinic attached to the hospital, and evenings playing with the kids in the orphanage. “My prayer before arriving in Haiti was that God would allow me to be useful, especially in the clinic setting,” recalls O&P student Andre Chambers. “When we arrived at the hospital we were given a tour and then split into our respective fields. The O&P students were placed in the Club Foot Clinic. The clinic was comprised of babies whose feet were internally rotated so badly that the toes were facing each other and pointed toward the ground. I was allowed to cast three babies that day.
I realized as the casting was taking place that I was playing a small part in healing the bodies of these small children. The experiences were both humbling and exciting! I walked out of the clinic with a glow, realizing I had put into practice all that I had learned in my classes at LLU. It was God’s divine hand that supplied my desire to be useful and I am thankful that I was able to make a small difference in the life of someone who will never remember that I was there.” While on the trip Andre says he was constantly reminded of Ephesians 3:20 – Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. (KJV) The trip was sponsored through the SAHP Outreach Fund and faculty. The students raised $3,060 for building materials by hosting a bike ride from Loma Linda to the beach and selling t-shirts. They also filled ten suitecases with clothing and shoe donations. At the end of the week the students carried on the tradition of giving the on-site workers their work shoes. At the start of the week, morning devotionals were lead by Everett Lohman, Director of Post-Professional Physical Therapy and Heather Appling, Assistant Professor in the O&P Program, then the students lead out the rest of the week. In the first devotional of the trip, Everett told the students to focus first on building relationships, and then on building buildings. That message must have really hit home because when it came time to leave not a dry eye was seen from the orphanage kids who clung to their student companions. It was a very emotional and unforgettable experience.