msmarymac

Heading to Haiti

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I'm leaving for a medical mission in Haiti Saturday; this is the 3rd time I've gone.  The first time I weighed almost 300 pounds and thought I was going to die in that heat.  Plus I felt so conspicuous in a country that has so little to eat, not many obese persons there!  That trip is actually what led me to the life-changing path of WLS.  Not just the WLS but changes in general.  I was a widow with 2 kids still at home and pretty much just marking time until I left the earth.  My experiences in Haiti, with this joyful people who were joyful despite having nothing in terms of worldly goods, who certainly had experienced loss exceeding my own yet remained grateful for each small thing they did have.  I came home with this overwhelming feeling that I had a responsibility to not squander the gifts that I had been given, including life and the possibility of joy.  At age 50 I decided to find my way back to joy and it started with getting healthy.  I had WLS 1 year later, worked through my grief, got healthy, downsized my home and my body.  I went to Haiti again 1 year post-op and what a different experience it was!  So much more energy!  I was apprehensive because I wasn't sure I could get in all my fluids and protein but it all worked out great.  Now I go back having realized that vision of reclaiming joy! I got married just over a year ago, and we built a house together.  We are blending our families and lives and life is good. 

You never know what will spark that desire to change for good.  But when it happens, it is beautiful :)

 

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Thank you so very much for helping the people of Haiti.  And thank you also for sharing your insight into how weight loss surgery can inspire one to work for positive change. 

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1 hour ago, Res Ipsa said:

Thank you so very much for helping the people of Haiti.  And thank you also for sharing your insight into how weight loss surgery can inspire one to work for positive change. 

Ditto!

I worked for a third world aid agency back home in the UK and I'd be interested in hearing (and seeing) more about your work.

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When I first saw the title of the thread I thought what a strange place to go for a holiday.....then I read your post. Not only is what you're doing a great thing for other people, it is also an excellent reminder to you of how you managed to turn your life around, and that whatever we struggle with is minor in comparison to what others are likely facing day to day. I still struggle at times with the death of my husband....yet it will be three years ago in a few months. I do think I'm really only just coming to terms with it now, and definitely trying to consciously process it more now. Your life has moved on in such a positive way, and you are indeed an inspiration to all of us here @msmarymac.

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Yes, it would be a bit of an odd choice for a holiday @Aussie Bear, although there are parts that are absolutely beautiful.  I think 3 to 5 years after my husbands death was when I really worked on my grief and being able to help my kids with theirs.  But I still didn't really see myself as enjoying life or experiencing joy until after that experience, when it really hit me that I was really being quite selfish throwing away that possibility.  Here's to health and to joy!

@cinwa I will try to get some pictures that I can share.  We are so busy in the medical clinic while we are there that I don't usually get too many.  But we usually share pics and end up with a decent amount among all of us.  It is quite an experience.  We go into a pretty remote village that doesn't really have access to medical.  We setup a makeshift clinic in a church that doesn't have electricity or running water so it really puts our basic skills to the challenge.  We have to take all supplies and medicines with us and try to treat chronic conditions as best we can.  We generally give enough medicine to last until the next visit which will be in 6 months.  We also go into the school and give vitamins and de-worming meds to the children which is fun. 

I look forward to sharing more :)

 

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Safe travels.  What a wonderful thing to be able to help others!  Enjoy your time!

 

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Good for you!! God bless! Enjoy each day. 

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What a blessing you are @msmarymac ❤️ I think what you are doing is amazing!

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What a wonderful way to channel your energies, @msmarymac! It sounds like it must bring you a lot of joy to be able to help out, and I'm sure the people there are appreciative of your efforts. Talk about hitting a reset button on your expectations on life - some excellent changes in perspective. Work hard, share your expertise, and take care of yourself there.

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That sounds awesome, @msmarymac!!!  It is amazing to me how when you help someone else in need, that you find you are helping your own needs just as much if not more.  No matter what state you’re in (heavy, healthy, mourning, joyful) the people you help seem to give so much more back to you than you could ever give to them and it makes you a better person in the end.  Enjoy your time there and know you are making a difference not only to them but to yourself :)  

We’ll be anxious to hear how it went (is your husband going down with you?). I see you’re leaving today,  I will be praying for your safety!

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Wow what a transformation.  The gifts we give always come back to us 2 fold.  So happy that you have found joy in her personal life and also  the joy you can give to others.  Abundance.  We are so fortunate.  Have a wonderful trip.  I love your story.  

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That's amazing, @msmarymac! What a way to encourage you to step forward into your transformation - and that you keep returning to keep giving back is inspiring :wub: Have a great trip!

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Thank you everyone!  I am safely back home now, weary but as always inspired by the amazing people I encounter in Haiti.  I'm sure to those living in the midst of it, it must seem like progress is ever so slow but to me who is only there every 2 or 3 years it is obvious. This time I saw increased construction, more homes had electricity, and I saw more animals (cattle, horses, goats, pigs, dogs and a few cats) plus the animals that I did see were not skeletal.  And, I saw overweight people, surely a sign of decreasing poverty, at least of the starvation level it had previously been.

Still, so much hypertension and diabetes in this population which is primarily genetic.  Much of those conditions in the U.S. could be prevented and/or managed with diet and exercise but those are not the answer in a population that eats maybe once or twice a day and walks everywhere they go.  Also lots of illnesses that are due to lack of clean water and sanitation.  Not my typical day at work for sure lol.

Here are just a few pictures to give you a flavor of what I experienced. 

 

haiti1902.JPG

haiti1901.JPG

haiti1904.jpg

haiti1905.jpg

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Lovely shots. Were you up in Cap Haitien? Transcendant beauty in parts of Haiti...

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39 minutes ago, BurgundyBoy said:

Lovely shots. Were you up in Cap Haitien? Transcendant beauty in parts of Haiti...

We stayed in Carries which is about an hour and a half from Port-au-Prince.  We were bussed inland every morning to a village about 20 minutes away from where we stayed called Merrotte.  A study in contrasts to be sure, from extreme beauty in some areas to the ugliness that seems to accompany extreme poverty.  The people are amazing.

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Clearly you weren’t in Kansas anymore!!!  ;)

it looks gorgeous!  Doesn’t it always feel so good to help people less fortunate?  Especially if you can help them increase their health.  I am sure you were as blessed by them as they were by you!  Glad you had a safe trip and that the people are having more improvements there.  

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