Sunday, March 1, 2015
Today was one of those special days on Project Haiti when all of your plans don’t happen as you expected, but it all turns out far better than you could have hoped. In years past, we’ve had difficulty having enough medical patients on Sundays, as many of our patients were coming home from church or spending time with family and were less inclined to come to our clinics. Thus our fearless leaders had planned on having us visit a local orphanage to meet and play with the kids and to provide fluoride varnish and acute care. However, we were fortunate this year that Miss Betty (one of the founders of HCM, where we stay) has a contact at an isolated village across the lake from Fonds Parisien, near the border with the Dominican Republic. We were all excited to board small rowboats with our supplies and we made it safely across the short passage with some of the citizens of the town rowing us (we were glad /to have packed relatively lightly!). We had a great day at clinic providing medical and dental care, and it /was great fun to get to see all of our students working closely in teams with our attending physicians and Creole interpreters, getting used to the flow of the clinic and our different stations. We stayed several hours and then rowed and sailed back at sunset to a delicious dinner at HCM. We are so fortunate to have the support of our many donors for this trip, and it has been really wonderful to see the trip come together for the third time. Thank you to all of you for reading our blog and rest assured that we are safe and happy and that we are providing the best care possible to our patients here.
Today we got to practice adapting to changing plans. After getting to participate in the morning church service at the Haitian Christian Mission, we prepared for the rest of the day. The afternoon was supposed to be spent at a local orphanage caring for the children’s medical needs, applying fluoride varnish, and playing soccer in the evening. However, after hearing about a local village in need, we rearranged our schedule to care for this “remote” community. I don’t think any of us really knew what to expect after we had only heard that they were “on the other side of the lake.”
When we drove around the lake in our old retired school bus we saw a fleet of small row boats coming towards us. It turned out that these boats were coming for us. We parked the bus, loaded our bags, and all climbed aboard the locals’ boats. The Haitian men rowed us across the lake towards a large group of men, women, and children anxiously awaiting our arrival. The children all jumped into the water and swam out towards the boats to greet us and help unload the medical supplies. This was just the beginning of an incredible day of serving these people. It was not only an opportunity to benefit them, but I think we all have a new appreciation for the people of this country and our respective future careers.
Today was both heartwarming and adventurous. We visited a small village to administer medical, dental and pharmaceutical services. The villagers congregated on the shoreline, curious to see who would be visiting and what we would be bringing. As we unloaded the boat and walked to the kindergarten classroom, we were greeted with people of all ages and children who just wanted to hold our hands. Both joy and sadness filled my heart. I was saddened because I was exposed to how much poverty radiated from the area. However, I was joyous about the opportunity we had to impact the residents through our services. In addition, that fact the the children hung onto us, while smiling adorably, made me smile. Serving in the clinic was an exhilarating experience. I am a first year Pharmacy student so there is so much more for me to learn about medications. Operating underneath the Pharmacist, I was challenged to learn more and encouraged to ask questions. My most memorable moment was panoramically looking around the mobile clinic. I remember looking up and seeing all the medical students enveloped in their work. They had their stethoscopes and their medical tools performing tests to determine the ailments of the patients. I also saw the Pharmacy team intently reviewing the prescriptions and dispensing the medications needed. It was so wonderful to see the level of seriousness, the demonstration of professionalism, and the implementation of teamwork.