Juniors bring supplies, teach first aid in Haiti

 Shannon Brady ’14 triages a patient while others wait in the background.

Shannon Brady ’14 triages a patient while others wait in the background.

Two juniors inspired by the idea of helping others spent 10 days last month on a tropical island in the Caribbean.

But this was no MTV-style spring break. Shannon Brady and Kelsey Row, both certified EMTs, were in Haiti to teach first aid and public health to 75 students and their teachers. They raised more than $1,000 to pay for medical supplies they donated to the schools they visited.

“My favorite part of the trip was being immersed in the culture,” Brady said. “It’s a beautiful country that is sometimes hard to see through all the rubble and poverty, but the people are so spirited and inspirational. They definitely remind you to put your own life into perspective.”

The trip was sponsored by the Haitian American Caucus, an organization that works to advance opportunities and improve the quality of life for the people of Haiti.

Brady began training as an EMT when she was 16 and started volunteering as one when she was a senior in high school. She worked with the College’s student-run EMS Club for two years. Row was certified last year and excited to get clinical experience in Haiti.

This was the second humanitarian trip to Haiti for Brady, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, and the first for Row, also a biochemistry and molecular biology major. Both women were surprised by the widespread lack of knowledge about health in Haiti. Many people refused medicines or didn’t believe the information Brady and Row gave them, they said.

“One woman refused to take the inhaler prescribed for her son because she said it would make his breathing worse and kill him,” Brady said. “She continued to refuse even after we walked her through the exact mechanism of the medicine.”

Both women are pre-med and plan to apply to medical schools in the coming months.

View photos from other spring break trips.