#TBT: 8 Days with a Broken Arm
In 2018, as we aim to raise the final funds and complete the construction for Phase II of Peredo Community Hospital, we wanted to share again this poignant story that so clearly illustrates the need for a surgical center in Peredo, Haiti. This story was written and shared by former HCO Summer Intern, Allison Condor, in September, 2015. The needs are just as real today as they were then. Would you pray with us for the final funds to be given and for final projects, like stucco, installing the electrical, and flooring, to be completed as soon as possible?
Triple Trek has raised nearly $45,000 towards the final construction costs. Learn more about this unique adventure mission trip and hike happening this March!
Vacation Bible School is always an exciting, chaotic mess in Peredo. Hundreds of children come from surrounding villages, and we do our best, with two translators and 400 children, to share a little Jesus, some food, and a lot of love.
The soccer field is always a draw before and after the VBS activities. Innocently, in all his 10 years of boyhood, barrels a headstrong, future soccer star on the rocky field. He’s got the ball, and as he cuts left the ball is swiped from him.
Looking back, he trips on a misplaced rock in the middle of the soccer field, and falls hard on his left arm. Time pauses, and we all hear the echoing snap. There’s a level of adrenaline that pulses through our bones, and we create the game plan in our minds.
In America, any parent would scoop him up and get him into the emergency room. There’s a level of urgency as we convince the little guy that everything will be all right. And it will be.
The child will get to the doctor.
X-rays will be taken.
He will be given medicine.
The arm will be reset and casted.
He’ll come back in for check-ups.
(Elapsed time: a few hours in America)
And then there’s Anderson.
Time always freezes in moments just after an accident. It’s where they are sure to put in the slow-motion effect in the movies. In Haiti, there’s an extra pause. Why? Because that action plan we Americans are so used to filtering through in our minds is replaced with nothing but prayer. Anderson was brought over to me, clutching his arm and biting his lip.
Lucky for this little guy, a hospital waited for him 100 yards away. Here we would be able to stabilize him and keep him comfortable until his mom could arrive. Unfortunately, our surgical center is still being built, and we are still raising funds for the digital X-ray that would have allowed us to completely care for his broken arm.
Anderson calmly asked if I would carry him, so I scooped him up and told his friends to go back to the field to play. As I was talking to him, he said that he lived far away, and that his mother was going to be mad at him for getting hurt. Of course I consoled him, assuring him that she couldn’t be mad for an accident. We got him into a patient room, and I was informed that I needed to find his mother so that we could proceed.
I went to the soccer field to find the boys that he had come to camp with. Four boys in the midst of 400. They were eventually sought out, and I asked if they knew where our friend Anderson lived. A few of them believed they did, and set out to find a relative. They told me it might be a while. They had at least four miles to walk in the Haitian sun.
I went back to the clinic and found Anderson alone in his room. As I sat next to him, he let a few small tears fall, the first tears since the accident. I asked if it hurt, but he assured me that was not why he was crying. He knew that his mother could not afford to fix his arm, and he was genuinely fearful of her disappointment when she arrived.
I learned that he had broken the same arm the previous February while he was playing with friends from school. His family didn’t have money to send him to the clinic, so they let it heal as naturally as it could on its own. Never having been reset, it broke easily on that June morning.
I asked to pray with him. We prayed, thanking God that he was right where he was supposed to be when that arm snapped. We thanked God for the care of doctors, for friends, and for strangers who can love each other enough to be there when we need each other.
Several hours later, Anderson’s mother arrived at the clinic extremely upset. She informed me that she had not asked for his medical care and therefore would not pay for whatever we had done to him. I attempted to comfort her, letting her know in this situation she would not be expected to pay. Relief washed over her as she realized that her child was going to receive the care that he needed.
One tap-tap ride to Jacmel with a broken arm.
Four more tap-tap rides to Jacmel over the course of 5 days with a broken arm when the doctors decided not to show up the first (or fourth) time.
X-rays were taken.
X-rays were read by our staff in Peredo.
Returned to hospital in Jacmel to set up appointment for surgery.
(Elapsed time: 8 days in Haiti)
I cannot begin to emphasize the lives that will be changed by the completion of the surgical wing of the hospital (shown under construction below). Lives that will change because of the digital X-rays we will be able to take.
A parent should not fear that eight days may pass before their child’s broken arm is fixed. And Anderson was one of the lucky ones. Each day this summer, I would walk the halls of the unfinished building and through the future surgical rooms. I would pray for all the future Andersons who will have more than just their arm saved. God has bigger plans than we can dare to dream.
Dare to pray them with me.
by Allison Condor
Former HCO Intern