Nov. 21, 2016 -- Last month, Marcellus High School ninth-grader Lilly Locastro accompanied her father (and Marcellus Central School District Board of Education member), Dr. David Locastro, on a five-day mission trip to Haiti. As a physician, Dr. Locastro is part of a group of medical doctors from the United States who provide free medical services to people in developing nations where little or no health care is available.
The country of Haiti has been plagued with political unrest and natural disasters in its past. In 2010, it was devastated by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Most recently, the island nation was ravaged by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
The following is an interview conducted by high school Principal John Durkee with Ms. Locastro about her experiences in Haiti.
Was this your first mission trip with your father?
This was my first. My dad has been on five to Vietnam and Ecuador.
What was a typical day like while you were there working?
We stayed in this house in a village with a family. Each day we rode in the “tap-tap” (open bed truck) to different areas and set up a medical clinic. We saw nearly 500 people a day, but many more showed up. We couldn’t treat them all. Interpreters would write down on a note card what was wrong with the person and the doctors would see them and treat them.This went on non-stop for 8 hours straight. I worked with a group of people who provided patients with the meds they needed in the right amounts for their treatment.
How would describe your experience?
Unbelievable! Before I went, I thought I would see houses and towns, similar to what we see here. But when I got there, I saw little, one-room shacks with tin roofs and dirt floors. Most of people didn’t have shoes. Kids wore the same clothes every day. At some points, kids coming through the lines for help did not have parents. It made me very thankful for what we have here.
What did you learn by doing this?
Appreciation for what I have. I appreciate my mom and dad! I also realized that these people who I thought had nothing were still very happy and positive.
It’s hard to understand what it is like in Haiti because pictures do not do it justice. Seeing the poverty and how these people live has changed my outlook and made me more appreciative. I would love to go on another trip. It was an awesome experience. I want to make sure that my future includes helping people. I don’t know if I will be a doctor, but it is a possibility.
What would you like people to know?
Not everyone has the opportunity to go to Haiti, but they can do little things closer to home to help people. It really is helping others that will change you, not where you are helping. I would tell everyone that you get so much out of helping others!
For those interested, Lilly will be discussing her experience with her father at the next Board of Education meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Dec. 4.
Ninth-grader Lilly Locastro poses with Haitian children during her recent medical mission trip to Haiti.
Lilly Locastro and her father, Board of Education member Dr. David Locastro, ride in the back of a "tap tap" on their way to set up a medical clinic.
Lines of Haitians line up for free health care during Lilly and Dr. Locastro's recent medical mission trip.
Dr. David Locastro allows a Haitian child to use his stethoscope during his recent medical mission to Haiti.