Shopping on

Fast & Free Shipping over $60

Exclusive products and offers

90-day money back guarantee

Easy ways to pay

Swipe to the left

Second Stories with Charlotte Schmitt: The Orange Cup

Second Stories with Charlotte Schmitt: The Orange Cup
October 13, 2015 No comments

The Orange Cup

by Charlotte Schmitt

This week’s Second Stories is told by Charlotte Schmitt, a nurse volunteer who serves in Haiti. As she serves the impoverished, Charlotte reflects on the significance of her orange cup. All opinions and thoughts are the author’s own, for more information please read:

It’s an orange cup. A plastic one. We wash it with cold water and cheap dish soap. We don’t use bleach. I drink from this one virtually every day. I’m a nurse working here as a volunteer. We do mobile clinics, but not 5 days a week, so the Haitian staff often bring the patients to our house for their medical appointments. It’s summer. It’s Haiti. It’s hot – very hot. There are few air conditioned spaces. We see the patients outside on a porch.

The patient arrived on time. She needed treatment for Syphilis. Three injections of penicillin to be exact. And, also a drink of water. I went upstairs and got some water in an orange cup. I sat there while she drank it. Later that night at dinner, the orange cup was at my assigned place at the table.

You can’t get Syphilis from sharing utensils, however it made me think about the proximity in which I am willing to risk to treat the sick. I am in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It’s a developing nation. I am currently living in a slum in Haiti on a month long missions trip, but the house is nice. There is a wall separating the house from the street. It is there by obvious design. Barbed wire and bougainvillea cover the wall. More separation.

I work among the sick in clinics held in church buildings. I don’t have access to unlimited gloves. I’ve had contact with many diseases. An experienced missionary and I talked about how many missionaries acquire the diseases of those they are caring for – diseases like Tuberculosis. Other caregivers pick up common diseases such as Malaria or rarer diseases such as Ebola (not found here in Haiti, but in Western Africa).

The cup made me ask myself, am I really, really willing to do what Jesus did –touch the leper? Spit into a blind man’s eyes? Drink from the well with a Samaritan woman? Or, as yesterday unfolded for me, do a heel stick test for syphilis on a baby without gloves? Give injection after injection with no personal protection equipment? Work in a place with no bathroom, running water, or soap? Wash my hands only now and then with hand gel placed across the room from me? Give oral medicine to a baby as its vomit lands on my boots?

It says in Matthew 9:35 that Jesus healed EVERY kind of disease and sickness. And then Jesus turned to his disciples. He was ready to teach them a life lesson.

I call myself a disciple. God has called me as a servant worker in his field. He has shown me the crowds of helpless sick and has instructed me to take off my shoes and wade in the water. Just this week, I was at a waterfall that had plenty of trash floating about. I slipped on the moss covered rocks and tried to avoid letting plastic and paper trash touch me as I entered the cool water.

I have learned a lesson about myself from my orange plastic cup. I am willing to let the sick get very, very close to me–even to the point of drinking from the same cup. It’s far removed from everything I was taught in nursing school about self-protection. God whispers to me, “Take off the gloves and touch my people and let them touch you.” This choice has resulted in some of the most deeply beautiful moments of my life–a smile from a patient whose language I have yet to conquer, a “thank you, nurse” from a mom who received medicine for a child with an itchy rash, a hug around the neck from a Haitian staff member who has worked beside me in a hot clinic all day.

I am in the cleft of the rock—orange cup—–my God sees me. Yes, he sees me.

On my very first journey out of Haiti, I met a priest who had worked for several years in the slums of Cite Soleil. He was coughing frequently, very thin, and pale. He told me he was leaving due to illness–(perhaps Tuberculosis, I wondered to myself). I was honored by the presence of that priest. He had touched the untouchable and they had reached out to touch the hem of his garment. Healing was poured out by that priest’s obedience. May I be like that Priest in my work, my attitude, and my life–in and out of Haiti.

Let the covering of God surround our work, our hands, our hearts.

To read about MDF Instrument’s stance on sharing about faith please read:

Posted in: blog