The palm trees in Trinidad do not stand too tall- at times we do. As we hustled for breakfast comprised of chow mein, watermelon and eggs during a regular morning, the Trauma team remained fluid while adjusting to changed pick up times. We waved goodbye encouragingly to the group heading early to the prison, where the reception was now open, and the remaining team members jumped into the cars of church members who had graciously given of their time during our trip to transport.
Mandated youth awaited un-eagerly at the church where they were they were taught about sexual and drug addictions. Although resistance confronted skilled counselors, their integrity pushed them to remain constant like the waves of the sea hitting the beautiful Trinidad beaches. While small groups were challenging, the youth discussed topics like faith, futures, and unexpected contrition. The team then had an opportunity for counseling serious issues the remainder of the afternoon.
Upstairs two team members worked with young girls from an international organization. The girls were taught Building Self Esteem principles and delightfully drew pictures of their abilities and goals on a Shield that would protect them through bullying and disappointments.While digging through a bag, one of the children noticed a Cookie Monster puppet. "Is that a puppet in your purse?" she gasped. "Yes," we replied, "doesn't every woman have a puppet in her purse?" Although other schools of learning at Regent might not have a bag of tricks, having more than one tool is effective in promoting dialogue and leading group discussion.
A unique invitation also came from an organization called KIND (Kids In Need of Direction). Committed to flexibility, some of the team members joined our fearless leader to work with children and the inspiring organizers to create a lasting relationship. "The kids kept asking for a snack because they were so hungry," one of the Regent students recalled during our nightly debriefing, "So one little girl pulled out her Cheetos and gave one Cheeto to each children sitting in the room. Even while starving they shared." She continued to describe offering store brought bread to supplement their snacks; they were so delighted to have anything as they munched on the bread. Another child shared their last few pieces with kids that needed one more bite. "I was humbled," the team member shared. Despite the pace, the demands, and overwhelming needs...if we are not humbled by the people of Trinidad, than we are simply standing too tall.
By Paula L.Henderson
BA Public Administration, MS cert in Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management