Photo by Tony Cece

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, Day  5

Impacting a Nation

Everything happens for a reason; that's what some people say.  Although the plans that we may have seem to be well thought out and even inspired by God, we can be sure that it is the Lord's purposes that prevail.  At Woodbrook Pentecostal Church, the group prepared to talk with a good size group of students who were scheduled to come from a highly respected school- Queen's Royal College.  The presentation centered on addiction and conflict resolution; however, the group of students ended up not coming.  Instead our team rounded up a small group of church youth who had come to help and had a discussion about the effects of addiction in their families and community.  We believe the right people were there.  Later in the day, a woman in a wheelchair came for counseling.  She had been in multiple accidents, one resulting in serious burns all over her body and one causing her leg to be permanently injured.  She shared about her feelings of survivor's guilt, humiliation, sadness, and anger.  She felt dismissed by her family and the society, as Trinidad is not disability-conscious as far as access to public places.  In fact, she had just had to use a bucket outside to relieve herself because event the church did not have restrooms that were wheelchair accessible.  Despite the fact that she had plenty to be bitter and angry about, her overall spirit and attitude was one of perseverance.  She shared that she was working to coordinate a symposium for health care workers and other community members to raise awareness about issues regarding individuals with disabilities.  All she needed was a listening ear and the encouragement that she is a survivor and not a victim, that she possesses great resilience.

The teachers at another Laventille school praised Dr. Harris' information, again confirming that the team's arrival was timely.  In contrast to the other schools we had visited, today's school was brand new and gleaming, though the team had a traumatizing time in the elevator on the way up.  They were the first ones ever to be rescued from the school's elevator!  Good news- the team members were unharmed and were able to address their traumatization while in the elevator waiting to be rescued.

Every night we debrief after dinner, sharing with the rest of the team where we went, what experiences we had, and our own reactions to what we saw.  Tonight the two Trinidad natives, Osanne and Lemuel, shared their own insights into the impact that Green Cross is having in their country.  Trinidad and Tobago is in a pivotal time, and the fact that GCAT was invited in is testament to God's provision.  The comment was made that our work is gaining a "foothold" in this country and people, setting many of us up for future ministry and work.  Certainly, assisting in the development of the new chapter of GCAT in Port-of-Spain represents an astounding shift particularly in regards to governmental officials.  It was truly humbling to realize that we are part of something much greater than the two weeks that we are in Trinidad.  Rather, the words of encouragement and training will continue to impact individuals and agencies, and the leaders of the country, long after our team has returned home and gone back to life as normal in America.  I am reminded that my work in America goes beyond what I see day to day, and that our interactions with others can have a lasting effect.

Amanda N. Trent, Psy.D.

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