Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bod Me Limbe/Farewell Haiti

My last week in Haiti has been spent in Bod Me Limbe, where Haiti Village Health’s permanent clinic is located. Bod Me Limbe is about a one and a half hour drive from Cap Haitian in Northern Haiti. It is a very beautiful area with a picturesque mountainous landscape that is green for miles. Bod Me Limbe more specifically is located along the edge of the ocean, providing a nice cool breeze with the sound of crashing waves with spectacular views of the distant mountains beyond the coast.

Bod Me Limbe is very remote, so much in fact that many Haitians I spoke with in Jacmel had never heard of it before. The guesthouse has no running water and a generator that only provides electricity in the evenings. Taking a shower out of a bucket was something I had to get used to but eventually I got the hang of it. Otherwise, the guesthouse is quite the comfortable spot. My room in particular opened up to a patio with a view of the facing ocean and swaying palm trees, a lovely sight to wake up to every morning.

The clinic, as well as a school, is located just behind the guesthouse. My days in Bod Me Limbe were spent doing triage at the clinic. I enjoyed learning about how the permanent clinic operated and was happy to see its sustainable format in practice, supported by an all Haitian staff. Patients come to the clinic not just from Bod Me Limbe, but from villages all around, including Titoit, Fage and Noman. Santos, the HVH coordinator for the clinic, informed me that people come far distances from all around in the mountains to have access to the clinic. On their first visit, patients provide information including their name, age and address so that a file can be created for them to reference for future visits. They then receive a card with their name and file number on it so that their file can be quickly located upon their return. Also, a large directory of patient names and file numbers has been created in the event that the patient misplaces or forgets to bring their card. From my experiences with the other clinics, I think the patient records at the Bod Me Limbe clinic are an awesome method because it was often hard to get medical history from patients in Jacmel. The clinic is open Monday to Friday, with a nurse and two health agents in everyday and a doctor three days per week. The health agents are two women from the local area who have been trained in triage and first aid in the event that something arises when the doctor and nurse are not there. They also regularly visit the nearby villages to teach people about the importance of things like hand washing and water sanitization. Overall, I would have to say that the clinic seems to be doing great things for the area and is very well organized in its approach.

Tonight will be my last night in Haiti. I am spending it in Port-au-Prince so that I can get to the airport easily for my morning flight tomorrow. I am staying with Grassroots United, an organization that has worked with HVH in acquiring and moving medications in Haiti. On the one hand, I feel ready to go home because I’ve really come to miss my family and friends, but on the other, I know I will miss Haiti once I’m gone and feel so grateful to have had this experience. I have met so many wonderful people who have unfortunately found themselves in poor circumstances but are still able to keep a smile on their faces. The children most of all have touched my heart, particularly our little helpers in Chabin who were so jovial and thoughtful. I have also had some great experience shadowing nurses and doctors as well as learning triage. All an all it was an excellent trip and I look forward to hopefully coming again in the future!

Madelin Rocheleau