After making the trip last year and collecting donations from patients and friends this spring, Nicholasville chiropractor Timothy Sunda returned to the nation of Haiti to help heal backs in the country that was devastated by an earthquake in January 2010.
Sunda made the trip at the end of May with his friend Mark Graviss. He spent several days traveling with Graviss and Haitian pastor Thomslay LaGuerre and saw about 300 patients.
Some had been skeptical of Sunda’s work when he first visited Haiti in September 2010 and saw about 200 Haitians. While the chiropractor still had to explain his craft to many in May, he gave about 30 patients follow-up visits.
“About 30 of these people were people I had seen back in the fall, and that was kind of nice, because obviously I had helped them then, and when they heard I was coming back, they were there that morning for me to treat them again,” Sunda said. “So that was a good experience.”
Sunda had learned last year how the earthquake’s destruction affected the backs of Haitians, seeing some women carrying buckets of water on their heads and holding others in their hands as they walked down uneven gravel roads. This year, he went even deeper and saw where many in the country have been living since January 2010 — tent cities.
“I actually got to go into a tent city this time where people are basically sleeping on a mat or on the ground or whatever makeshift they can do, so a lot more acute back problems — especially in the tent city, everybody that I touched, you can tell, this person’s in pain; they’re hurting,” he said.
Two days of the trip were spent in a remote village with “very primitive” living conditions. The group took rice, beans and cooking oil to the village the second day to help feed its 300 residents.
“That was a good mission to be able to provide some food to folks who have basically nothing out there,” Sunda said.
Some signs of recovery were visible during Sunda’s visit, but the work left to do was still much more evident.
“I did start to see some signs of construction equipment, building supplies, but in the big picture, it was a drop in the bucket,” he said. “We’re starting to see some stuff happen, but the tent-city population has probably only decreased by about 10 to 15 percent — pastor LaGuerre kind of confirmed that for me.”
Graviss’ current objective is helping find ways to get food delivered to Haiti. Sunda said he was encouraged by the donations of friends and patients that allowed him to make the second trip and that he hopes to go again as soon as possible, perhaps taking other chiropractors with him.
“Hopefully that will take place in the future, maybe within the next three to six months,” he said. “We just kind of have to see how it plays out, get my donations together, see if I can get somebody else together with me.”