25,000 adjustments in four days!
DC mission breaks world record
This April, ChiroMissions brought 32 chiropractors and 31 chiropractic students to the jungles and remote villages of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Their mission was to bring the healing touch of chiropractic to as many people as possible. During their four-day stay, they broke the world record for chiropractic adjustments, caring for more than 25,000 people. A PBS film crew joined the foundation and recorded the amazing accomplishment.
Chiromissions doctors spread out throughout the two countries, reaching and serving hundreds of Haitians in the town of Ouanaminthe and thousands in Dominican Republic cities, villages and hilltop towns.
Breaking up into 30 doctor/student teams and led by a mission guide, the group visited places like Santiago, La Vega, Ranchito and San Francisco de Marqoris, Imber, Luperon, Caberette and the Puerta Plata region of the Dominican Republic.
While the effort was just a chiropractic pebble in the pond, given the extreme poverty of many of these places, the rippling effect of is already spreading.
"There was a lot of uncertainty on both sides as to how this was going to work," said Jason O'Connor, DC, from Antioch, Calif., one of the primary mission organizers. "I was organizing with people who have never received an adjustment, and who do not know what chiropractic is. I have never been to Haiti and do not speak Creole. I was nervous and apprehensive regarding our physical safety. I was concerned about the sanitary conditions. However, since our mission was so important, I was willing to try. I trusted that God would see that things would work out. We were pleasantly surprised!"
Yet, the initial surprises they encountered were far from pleasant.
When Dr. O'Connor -- along with fellow mission leader David Hecht, DC, from New York and John Palmer, a student at Life University and student mission leader -- tried to drive across the border into Haiti, they were informed that they would not be allowed to take their rental cars into the country. They were weary, hungry and sweaty from their long trip from Puerta Plata to the Haitian border, and not a little nervous about being stranded in a poor and often violence-ridden area.
"We couldn't reach Hugues Bastien, our contact person, by phone," O'Connor recalled. "Stranded for hours, we were stuck!"
They considered leaving their car and walking into Haiti, but images of returning to a dismantled vehicle (or no vehicle at all) ran through their minds. They might have decided to turn back but they were given a chance to see first-hand how desperately they were needed.
"Little children were coming from Haiti begging for money," O'Connor said. "Several of them, wearing filthy rags for clothes, approached the car windows and we could see their skin riddled with all sorts of skin diseases, teeth that were decayed to the roots. We could see across the border to the outskirts of a very poor town, very sparse vegetation, and garbage everywhere."
After witnessing this, it was hard to think of turning back. Still, as the hours passed, they faced the possibility that it could be their only choice. Just as they were making plans to leave, they received a call from Mr. Bastien. He confirmed that they couldn't bring the vehicle across the border but gave them instructions where to leave it.
"We really had no other choice, so we left our car, and the keys, and the team crossed the border to be picked up by Bastien's four-wheel drive van and driven into Ouanaminthe, a city of about 100,000 people at the northeast corner of Haiti, on the border with Dominican Republic. More than 90% of the people live in tiny two- or three-room homes made of concrete block or recycled wood lacking piped-in fresh water (water is normally obtained from community wells), a sewage disposal system or electricity.
Despite the hardships and worries the team members experienced, they were glad they persevered. "We would have missed out on a great opportunity to serve and the people who were expecting us would have been severely disappointed," O'Connor admitted.
He quickly checked with the Medical Center and found that its staff had scheduled 100 patients per hour. The doctors worked non-stop, seeing all the scheduled patients plus walk-ins for the days that they were in Ouanaminthe. O'Connor noted that "each member put in a good 12-plus hours of solid work per day."
To help with the language barrier, the chiropractors had help from translators who delivered the chiropractic story to educate the people as they waited. Emphasis was placed on the vitalistic principle… the power that made the body heals the body.
Back in the Dominican Republic, the 30 teams were stationed all over the country. Many of the chiropractors were on their first mission trip but all of them had prepared for an incredibly powerful week of love and service. They went to mountain villages, city ghettos, orphanages, nursing homes, prisons, baseball fields and villages that were devastated by a recent hurricane. Some teams adjusted as many as 1,000 people in a day. The average team adjusted 400 people a day. Almost every team adjusted all the students in each local school.
All types of people presented to the teams. We saw new-born infants, elders more than 100 years old, people with hatchet wounds, on crutches and in wheel chairs, with bleeding goiters, huge tumors. Priests, pastors, ministers, and curious passersby wandered over. There was an endless procession of people with all kinds of ailments, all looking for a miracle from the chiropractic "miracle workers." We explained that chiropractors analyzed and adjusted solely for the purpose of removing nerve interference.
During one trip, I dropped off one team to the exact site I'd visited on the previous mission. I saw the pastor I'd met at that time, and we spoke about the wonderful night he'd invited me to his house for dinner.
As I was leaving, three women came up to me and asked if I could adjust them. I told them that this was not my station and the young women chiropractors would take care of them. One replied, "Oh no, doctor, you have to take care of me. The last time you were here you created a miracle in my life."
I explained that I didn't perform any miracles but was an instrument of the universe there to remove vertebral subluxations, which would allow the body to work better.
The other two women had the same story. One of the women had had a tumor, another a goiter and the third, digestive problems. After their adjustments, all of their problems seemed to just "go away" and I had been credited with a miracle cure!
Of course, I adjusted these three women and got a big hug and a lot of love in return! I also ended up staying and helping the two assigned chiropractors because hundreds of people had already come two hours early and were waiting. People cried, laughed, smiled and grinned after they got adjusted; they all respected the sacred art of adjusting the spine.
Over the next three years, Chiromissions plans to bring chiropractors to Trinidad, Haiti, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica, and Argentina to adjust some 600,000 people whose lives can be made better through chiropractic adjustments.
I have made contacts with health officials, churches, and community leaders and have even arranged to sponsor a weekly radio spot in Trinidad.
The Trinidad trip is scheduled for January 2009 and there is still room for five doctors and ten students. The next Haiti trip is planned for April 2009.