HAITI MAY 2010 .
OVER 600 PATIENTS TREATED AT THE CLINIC DR BOB SET UP AND RAN FOR THE HAITIAN REFUGEES
"Despite everything they've been through since the earthquake, we saw people singing and dancing with joy and that gave me hope," said Paeglow, who runs Koinonia Primary Care in Albany and is and a veteran of two dozen medical missions to poor countries.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- A dozen Capital Region volunteers cradled orphaned babies, patched cracked concrete, painted rooms, cleaned and bandaged wounds, and dispensed medicine and vitamins at free health clinics here. During a humanitarian mission that lasted from May 8 to 15, they also endured primitive living conditions without electricity and other modern conveniences. And they prayed for Haiti's earthquake victims who for the last four months have faced those conditions daily. The volunteers, who paid their own way, traveled under the auspices of International Accelerated Missions Builders, a not-for-profit Christian organization based in Berne, Albany County. "It was just too much at times and I often felt numb," said Barbarah Reynolds, 16, of Hoosick Falls, Rensselaer County. The local group stayed at the orphanage, HIS Home for Children, where Barbarah Reynolds had lived for three years. Reynolds and her two younger brothers were adopted four years ago by Frank Reynolds Jr. and his wife, Susan Narkewicz, an attorney with a practice in Albany. Barbarah Reynolds served as a Creole translator for 600 Haitian patients who visited health clinics run by Dr. Bob Paeglow, including one at Kafou Fey, a heavily damaged district on the outskirts on the capital. Reynolds' 23-year-old brother, Wilton, was living in Kafou Fey when he died in the quake. "That was the hardest day of my life," the sophomore at Latham Christian Academy said after seeing families, now homeless, she knew as a young girl in Kafou Fey. Her mother died following childbirth and her father left her and two younger brothers at the orphanage because he could not raise five children by himself. Her grandmother, whose home was destroyed in the earthquake, traveled more than three hours to see Reynolds in Kafou Fey. "I love my country more than ever and I'm going to keep helping Haiti as much as I can," Reynolds said. "I believe it was healing for Barbarah to walk through that pain," Narkewicz said. Narkewicz filed paperwork to adopt two more orphaned Haitian children, 5-year-old Jacob, who has cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities, and Erntz, who turns 16 in September, when his age will require him to leave HIS Home for Children and will prevent him from being adopted. "There's such an amazing opportunity in Haiti to serve others in the love of Christ and to make a real difference," said Narkewicz, who has made 11 trips to Haiti. "What we managed to do for Haiti was a drop in the bucket of what they need, but at least we touched a few hearts and that's better than doing nothing," said the Rev. John Goyette, senior pastor of Green Mountain Christian Center of Bennington, Vt., which has provided financial support for HIS Home for Children for years. "Despite everything they've been through since the earthquake, we saw people singing and dancing with joy and that gave me hope," said Paeglow, who runs Koinonia Primary Care in Albany and is and a veteran of two dozen medical missions to poor countries.
"I was very pleased with how well a group of strangers came together, formed a team and completed projects very smoothly," said George Tockmakis of Colonie, a retired mechanical testing expert and organizer of the trip. "We provided some temporary relief and showed them that we care and haven't forgotten about them," said Dean Rueckert, president of Rueckert Advertising and Public Relations in Colonie. Jordan Flory, 18, of Colonie, a senior at Latham Christian Academy and a friend of Reynolds, said she was "a little freaked out" during her first trip to such a poor country. Later, though, she said playing with children at the orphanage helped teach her lessons in compassion. "I learned I'm very selfish and I need to step outside my bubble more often," said Flory, who plans to attend Hudson Valley Community College in the fall and hopes to go on more missionary trips. "This trip helped strengthen my faith journey," said Denise Warrender of Castleton, a retired high school math teacher. "The people of Haiti taught me about true faith," said her daughter-in-law, Melissa Warrender of Averill Park, who is the daughter of a pastor and an adjunct professor at Sage Colleges who home-schools her children. Keith and Janet McCart bid a tearful goodbye to the two orphaned boys, Juvens, 13, and Wadley, 12, they are in the process of adopting. She and her husband had already begun making plans to return to Haiti over the summer. "We really bonded with them and we're going to miss them terribly," McCart said.