The Story of Guerline - A New Arm
Each day, under the direction of Jesus, Mission of Hope is able to plant seeds that begin a transformative work in the lives of the Haitian people through all the different facets of the organization. Sometimes, by definition, transformation is something that takes time and oftentimes results don’t happen right before your eyes; but sometimes they do.
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to be able to witness an emotional & physical life transformation happening right before of my eyes. Guerline Mentor, one of the ladies that I work with at 3 Cords received a prosthetic arm after living without her right arm since the devastating earthquake in January 2010.
She’s made do for the last five and a half years, having to relearn basic everyday tasks like buttoning her shirt or doing her hair to more intricate trade skills that have helped her find her niche as a 3 Cords employee. She taught herself to hand stitch the outer edges of 3 Cords wallets using her good arm to stabilize the product and her teeth to pull the stiches through. She also helped with the hand stitching on our Christmas ornaments this past season! Although many people would burn out of doing the same task every day, I have never once heard her complain. She carries herself with a joyous spirit and always greets others with a smile.
Our prosthetics lab here at Mission of Hope currently only specializes in lower limbs, so Guerline was never expecting to receive a prosthetic. We were ecstatic to hear that a prosthetist, Robert, was coming from New York, to volunteer in the prosthetics lab here at MOH. He took a mold of Guerline to take back with him to NY and after only a few months, he was back again with her arm! I was fortunate to get to spend three full days in the prosthetics lab with Guerline as the arm was fitted to her, adjustments were made and she began to learn to operate the trigger mechanism that makes the hand open and close.
Since Guerline lost all but four inches of her arm below her shoulder, Robert explained that it was going to take a while to learn how to move her shoulders to make the arm function, but Guerline was ready for the challenge. When she first figured out how to make the hand open, the room exploded with clapping, laughter and hoops & hollers. It was a joy filled moment and Guerline’s smile was bigger than I had ever thought possible.
The only thing that could top that, was returning to 3 Cords with her and witnessing the reactions of the other employees. They were SO happy for her. Most of them have lower limb prosthetics already and only they could accurately understand her joy in that moment. Guerline has mentioned how sad it was to lose her arm in the earthquake, but how much hope she was given when she started working at 3 Cords with other women that were like her. It was amazing to witness this story come full circle.
I will end this story with Guerline’s favorite bible verse, one that I think encapsulates her journey perfectly. I hope it encourages you to remain strong, always hope & trust that the Lord is fighting for you always.
“The Lord will fight for you. You need only be still.” – Exodus 14:14