dimanche 1 mai 2011

Rock Hill teen 'learned patience' on medical mission to Haiti

Seeing malnourished, poor people 'happy' offers her perspective Andrew Dys - Columnist
When Sierra Gilmore left for Haiti, a place 14 months removed from an earthquake, she was, in her own words, "a little stingy, and I wanted everything right now."
Which means Sierra, 16, was like just about every other teenager.
After a week in Haiti with a team of doctors and nurses, ministering to the sick and the hungry as the sole teenager on the trip - seeing the ribs of children her age and younger stick out as they waited four and five hours for medical help - Sierra was changed.
Andy Burriss - aburriss@heraldonline.com - - Sierra Gilmore gives a presentation to her history class at South Pointe High School about her trip to Haiti as part of a medical mission.
"I learned patience," Sierra told her classmates in her history class at South Pointe High School after she returned. "I don't fuss anymore. I have seen what other people have to deal with.
"And they still are...happy."
Mission trips for churches are usually in the summer or other vacation times. Sierra took a week off from the 10th grade - she had to make up the class work she missed - to go to Haiti.
She raised money through her church, Mount Zion Baptist in McConnells, and went with Dr. Nikita Lindsay of Rock Hill Pediatrics and other providers.
Lindsay brought up the idea to take Sierra on the medical trip. For five straight years, Lindsay has been a part of Haiti Outreach Ministries medical teams. She knew Sierra as a patient who had an uncommon yearning to help others.
Sierra's parents, Linda and Steve Gilmore, thought the trip would be a good experience.
After coming home, Sierra wanted to share with her classmates what she saw, so she gave a slideshow presentation in Kristy Riese's history class. Sierra showed where so many people live in Haiti.
"Tents - that is their home," she told the students, who just couldn't believe that tens of thousands of Haitians live in tents 14 months after an earthquake. A couple of students said they have seen a few homeless living in tents in Rock Hill, but that is it.
Sierra showed communal showers, buildings destroyed, more. She showed a concrete building with no windows - tarps over the openings.
"This is a good house in Haiti," Sierra said.
Her classmates were speechless.
She showed a woman washing clothes in a bucket.
"This is little girls waiting to see the doctor," Sierra said of another picture.
Sierra's job was to check the weight of people, help take temperatures, and other tasks to help the doctors and nurses dispensing medical care and basic pharmacy supplies.
"Most times they needed so much," Sierra said. "There was one man who just passed out."
She talked about the Haitian people walking miles to go to church.
"They never miss," said Sierra, of people who have so little but worship devoutly.
The other students wanted to know if the Haitian kids - in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, ravaged by an earthquake - had toys for little kids, or cars or cell phones or anything that an average Rock Hill teen has.
"They have happiness," Sierra told them.
Because what she showed most were the people of Haiti, in so many pictures, smiling.
"Hopefully, we can all appreciate what we do have and understand that there are people who have much les," Riese told her class.

Every head nodded.
Lindsay - who knows from her own experience as a doctor that poverty was made worse by the earthquake and that so many Haitians had social and psychological traumas long after the TV crews left - said Sierra was efficient and helpful on the trip.
She, too, saw a change in Sierra that can only come through helping another human being with her own hands - and heart.
"Sierra saw that other people's lives are not as our lives are," Lindsay said. "She was great."
Sierra took every question from her classmates. She was in no rush to finish. She wants to be a lawyer some day, but she is in no hurry to get there.
"People would wait in line for four or five hours in Haiti to see a doctor," Sierra said. "And here we get upset if we wait 10 minutes for anything.
"I learned patience in Haiti."
Andrew Dys 803-329-4065 adys@heraldonline.com
Read more: http://www.heraldonline.com/2011/05/01/3029946/after-haiti.html#ixzz1L6vg9Ov6

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