At the end of last summer, we announced that CI was sending a team of 7 therapists to Haiti to partner with the organization One Gift One Child (OGOC). However, right before the team was set to depart in September, Hurricane Irma hit. While the original trip had to be cancelled, one of our team members, Laura Boggio, traveled to Haiti this spring. ---
Here's a recap of Laura's trip this spring:
I recently took a trip to Saint-Marc, Haiti to work with One Gift, One Child (OGOC) with the support of CI. When I was there, I was also able to provide trainings and support to mothers and staff and give the generous monetary and physical donations from CI and other supporters of the trip.
I was so blessed to not only learn from and work with a close-knit community but also be able to explore the beauty and culture of Haiti including experiencing numerous ocean views, eating great food, learning some of the language, and experiencing a 3-person moto ride up a mountain path.
OGOC was started by Natalie (a native Wisconsinite) and Pierre (a native from Saint-Marc), a Christian couple who have a passion for assisting and ministering to the people in their neighborhood and country. Please see their website for additional information: http://onegiftonechild.org/
While I was in Haiti, I worked closely with the therapist technician (our version of a COTA/PTA combined), Christopher. He taught me about each of the children and taught me a little bit about the culture. We worked together to determine treatment strategies and tools for individual children.
I provided him with multiple therapy supplies (thanks to CI donations!), visual resources, and educational tools. I evaluated one little girl (pictured above), and I worked with multiple children to determine effective sensory strategies.
I provided trainings to staff and parents of the children. I did trainings on Picture Exchange Communication (PECs), sign language, behavior strategies, and sensory processing. While I was there, I was also able to demonstrate how to implement the information and strategies that I taught on.
The parents immediately implemented the strategies that I taught, and they were very thankful for the education that I was able to provide. Parents and caretakers asked multiple questions throughout and after presentations, and they were encouraged to use these strategies with the children immediately after the trainings were completed.
I also assisted in designing an adaptive bathroom for the therapy space. Donations from CI went toward renovating the therapy space to improve accessibility and access to a bathroom! (See below)
When I was not doing therapy, I worked alongside others (including both of my parents) to get to know people in the community, provide health assistance (treating for scabies and H Pylori), and assist in making raised bed gardens to improve the independence and sustainability of OGOC.
While I was there, we celebrated Easter. Virtually the entire community of children (400+ people) danced, engaged in a worship service, learned the Macarena (courtesy of my dad and myself), did a sac race, played, ate a delicious meal, and did a scavenger hunt.
Some of my favorite experiences included playing with all of the smiling children, using an interpreter for a presentation for the first time, working with the amazing staff, getting to see the beauty of Haiti, and eating spaghetti and hot dogs for breakfast (see below)! I was truly blessed to be able to support OGOC with the support of CI. I learned and grew so much while I was there, and I would love to go back some day.
Laura Boggio, MS, OTR/L