OTC instructor volunteers to assist injured in Haiti

OTC instructor volunteers to assist injured in Haiti

Friday, August 13, 2010

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College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

One trip is all it took for Becky Crocker to know that Haiti would always be a part of her life.

Crocker, an instructor in Ozarks Technical Community College’s Physical Therapist Assistant program, recently returned from a week in the earthquake-ravaged country where she participated in Project Medishare, a program established by the University of Miami Schools of Medicine and Nursing to offer medical care to the Haitian people.

Crocker learned of the program through a friend, and within three hours of contacting the organization, she had a plane ticket to Port-au-Prince.

Medical personnel have been going to Haiti to help the injured trying to recover from the earthquake that devastated the country in January.

Crocker took care of patients suffering from a variety of wounds, from providing therapy to those with spinal cord injuries to helping others suffering from severe pressure ulcers from being bed-ridden.

The conditions in Haiti are not improving, Crocker said.

“There are rats as big as cats. Kids are walking around with rat bites. There are people with wounds from guns because of the violence. There is a lot of spousal abuse. There’s going to be a lot of typhoid with the waste water running everywhere,” Crocker said.

There is little permanent housing, Crocker said. Instead, a half-million 8-by-10 tents sit side by side for residents to use. With the hurricane season approaching, the results could be devastating, Crocker said.

“The city is not rebuilding. There’s no place to rebuild because there’s so much rubble. It’s being taken away a wheelbarrow at a time," she said. “I think to myself that these people are never going to recover, but then the streets are lined with vendors selling everything.”

Despite the devastation, the spirit of the Haitian people amazes Crocker.

“How they love, laugh and smile. How does that happen? I thought I had a good handle on life. They have something more. They can get through situations we can’t imagine. I don’t understand how they do it,” she said.

It’s all so amazing, Crocker said. She plans to return to the country to help.

“I’m going back because I can. There’s more to do,” she said.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College. Contact him at koehlers@otc.edu.