Monday, May 18, 2009

Saturday, May 16th

Village de Casse and Tetkole

I was fortunate to make contact with Gail Buck of the Healing Hands Team in Port au Prince. Jan Groves and her team were in Jacmel on a rehab mission. They were travelling to a small village just north of Casse, that I wanted to visit so myself and Mona tagged along for the day.

The road to Casse was a difficult one to say the least. It's actually not a road after all. It is the river bed. After 90 minutes and 10 river crosses we did reach the village. The villagers were waiting at the top of the ridgeline. Unfortunately it was after 1 pm when we arrived and the skies were looking dark. The problem with travelling along the river bed is that the water levels continue to rise throughout the day, and flash floods can happen quickly if there is a heavy downpour.

The group was a bit torn with it's decision about what to do. In the end, four members of the Healing Hands team decided to stay the afternoon and spend the night in the village, along with a Haitian physician.

We handed off our water bottles and any granola bars that we had, with one flashlight and left them to start their busy clinic.

The rest of the group continued back the riverbed. The water levels were already rising and our tap tap got stuck. Luckily, the other tap-tap driven by Tour Haiti operator Cyril Pressoir was behind us and was able to gentle give us a nudge. We did have the UN landrover accompanying us but unfortunately they didn't have a winch. After 2 somewhat forceful taps we were out.

The remainder of the Healing Hands team had stayed in Jacmel to work at Tetkole...a day program for street kids. We joined them once we returned to the city.

Little did the rehab team know what they were getting into. They seemed quite releaved when Doctor Mona and I joined them. In the end, we saw about 110 people with mainly primary health care problems.

At the end of a long day, we joined the Friends of the Children of Haiti team at the Cyvadier Hotel.

It was a long day and I learned several important points....#1 don't attempt to cross riverbeds in Haiti in the rainy season #2 be well prepared for any medical missions and ensure you plan for the patient population you will see

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