Friday, February 16, 2007

The Peaceful Invasion

Sorry for the delay but we have been without access to the outside world for several days. Might I add personally it was lovely. Still having problems with the photo up load so we will have to work that out later.

Thursday Feb 8, 2007

Our first full day on the coast of Haiti. A beautiful morning in Labadie. Pat our resident H2O expert and I took a walk through the village with one our translators, Alex, to check out the water situation. RCI money and efforts by another organization run by Jimmy Felter, Vwa Haiti, have ensured that there are several pipe water sources in the village. Everyone has equal access within a few minutes walk. A simple thing to those used to hot and cold running luxury a god send to those having to walk a long way carrying 2-20L pails. Try it sometime. We checked out the reservoir and the spring source. Unfortunately the reservoir is not protected and while the water flowing in may be in relatively good shape, what comes out is certainly not. That being said there does not seem to be great evidence of water bourne illness

We had a great experience walking by the HTFH school as it let out for lunch. We were swarmed by over 100 fresh faced identically dressed timoins (kids) of all makes and models. They loved it. We loved it. Good for all. It was like being in a riot of ankle biters.
Then we visited the clinic in Labadie with Miguel the Cuban doctor who is just finishing his 2 year obligatory overseas volunteer service. Cuba which has an excellent medical systems sends doctors and nurses all over the world to provide medical care for villages. Unfortunately they receive little support and their supplies are very low.

Jo, our local contact and chief of mission left us to play for the afternoon while he met with some of the representatives of HTFH who were in town on the RCI Voyager of the Seas. The contrast of this massive floating city in the background of the local fishermen was striking. While we thought it a terrible display of the inherent disparity of our world the locals with whom we spoke thought differently. They saw opportunity.

Just after noon we said goodbye to Labadie and loaded our traveling circus into the boats for the trip to Bod Me Limbe. Small boat. Long trip. Guy needs a bigger motor! Passed what we were told is a drug boat run aground.

Hitting the beach in BML was a truly consciousness shifting experience. Everyone. I do mean everyone met us on the sand singing and cheering. I missed the best photo of the trip when three little kids were each carrying a backpack up the beach. Each one had a Canadian flag on the back. We all trooped into Jo’s house to set up shop behind the sunflower walls. He painted them on because the goats kept eating the ones that he planted. Did I mention there are goats everywhere. Pigs too, which we have taken to calling pork chop, bacon and scrunchion for those of you familiar with Newfoundland.
Several hours of organizing, unpacking and rigging up took a series of concrete cells that will someday become a school and transformed it into a very impressive clinic complete with 4 Triage rooms, 2 Doctor consultation rooms, a lab (Dan has truly found a new calling in urine sampling) and a Famasi! I have to use the few Kreyol words I have when I can.

A beer and bed. By the end of the next day we would triage and treat 165 patients with no medical history over 14 hours. Finishing well after dark which to say the least was an interesting experience.

No comments: