While J.P. spent all of day 3 in Mapou working with the federation, the remainder of the group continued for another half hour to a small village within Belle Anse by the name of Machese
Our focus for the day was purely medical. Another day spent on vitals and running what we referred to as our makeshift pharmacy, with everyone contributing to ensure patients need not wait longer than necessary for care.
The highlights of our day were split. From the medical perspective, the nurses in the group enjoyed viewing and assisting in the care of a substantial knee wound sustained from a fall off a motorcycle. Seeing how the medical staff reacted and treated the patient with the supplies available showed us the true meaning of the phrase our friend at Heart to Heart taught us on night one: “De ga jé”…do the best you can with what you have! For pure enjoyments sake, though, we were also treated to personal fresh coconuts. It was the first time experiencing a treat for many of us, and in the midst of long days working through dozens on dozens of patients, it was particularly special.
On day 4, the full group returned to Mapou to finish out our work both with the federation and the medical clinic support
The medical support team saw another 50 patients, bringing the total of their patient load to over 200 for the week so far. To imagine the impact that aid has brought to the village is truly amazing.
Finishing up work with the Federation gave JP his first opportunity to teach and interact directly with the members. Kicking off his leadership training with relaying to the group that “…we can only learn as long as our bodies allow us to sit,” JP set forth in leading the group through a series of team-building exercises after helping to establish among the Federation what it is that actually constitutes a true team. How do you pivot from simply a group to a functioning team?
The first exercise JP led the group through was the human pretzel. If you have ever personally taken part in such an exercise, you know how difficult it can be. Now take that difficulty, and imagine if you can, trying to explain such an exercise through an interpreter to a group of adults who have never before taken part in any sort of icebreaking or teambuilding activity. After three attempts, the group managed to succeed, and the smiles on the faces of the Federation members reinforced why such efforts are so impactful. Don’t let go. Never give up. You only grow when you learn to work and act as a team. It won’t be easy, and may even seem impossible at the outset, but by taking time and working through the hardest parts, you are bound to eventually succeed.
Next up? The human chain. Having still retained the two groups naturally established (by histories and boundaries unbeknownst even to us on day 1), they were tasked to create as long of a chain as possible, with the intention being for one group to eventually realize that by binding their “groups” together as a “team,” they can achieve success together. While JP intervened to bring them together and drive this point home, there was noticeable resistance against the shift from competition to cooperation.
Having witnessed the exercises and group dynamic over the course of these four days, it is evident the Federation needs to be one team. There still runs through the group a moderate undercurrent of competition and tension amongst the Federation. It remains clear there is still a need for outside guidance to continue steps forward in creating a truly cohesive team working towards unified goals for Mapou. Guidance we look forward to providing in the months and years to come as we continue to work with this village and its people we have come to know and care for.