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Posted By Carma Erickson-Hurt, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Project HOPE Volunteer on September 8, 2017

Labels: Americas , United States , Disaster-Relief, Humanitarian Aid, Alumni, Volunteers

Carma is a clinical nurse specialist and member of the HOPE medical team in Katy, Texas, providing health services to people impacted by Harvey. Carma has been administering tetanus immunizations in a mobile clinic as part HOPE's partnership with Heart to Heart International.

Project HOPE Volunteers Provide Care After Hurricane Harvey

The very first day that I was here, a dad came into the clinic. He was 25 or 30 years old and he brought his five-year-old daughter. He told me how he had left his house as the waters were rising and when he started walking out of the house, he had his daughter clinging to him and the water was reaching his chest. He was petrified. I asked if he could swim and he said “no.”  He got choked up.

He got so, so scared, walking in the water and not knowing if it was going to get deeper.

And there are a lot of snakes down here in Texas that might have been swimming around him. He was petrified of snakes. He also said his daughter is traumatized because during the floods, she looked over and saw parts of her school under water -- and she had just started kindergarten. So we were able to listen to him and refer him to a counselor in the clinic and the next day he brought his daughter back to see a counselor. We were able to initiate care that he and his daughter needed. I will always remember him. 

We’ve seen over a hundred patients just in the last few days. As we give each patient a tetanus shot, we talk to them and listen to their story. We’re seeing people who are going back into their homes for the first time since the floods started receding. They’re worried about injuries, cuts, and bacteria. 

We’re also seeing a lot of teachers who are taking time off to serve the community and help people clean their homes. We’ve also seen quite a few police officers who have been deployed here from other parts of Texas. We’re also offering mental health services and educating people about how to care for wounds.

I’ve been volunteering for Project HOPE for 10 years all over the world, but this mission has a different meaning for me because it’s a disaster here at home in the United States. I have been so impressed by the community response which has been so welcoming. People openly show their gratitude for the health services we’re providing and we feel really embraced by the community and that makes a huge difference.

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