Thursday, March 5, 2015
This morning we trekked through a riverbed in a semi-ancient school bus, remarkably one of the less adventurous journeys we’ve had so far. With plenty of Catch Phrase to keep us going, the trip passed in no time. We arrived at our destination which was a beautiful rural town surrounded by mountains, tropical fauna, and pet dogs. Also, cows and goats per usual. Donkeys (mules?) grazed lazily in the afternoon sun. We sweat profusely in the same sun.
When we arrived at the local church, the patients had conveniently already been assembled and ordered. We got to work quickly and took advantage of the rather large school house which allowed us to spread out. Throughout the day we treated a number of ailments including uncontrolled hypertension, infected wounds, and the sequelae of uncontrolled diabetes (bilateral eye enucleation and one-sided below the knee amputation). Despite witnessing the overwhelming effects of diseases here which are easily preventable in the US, we continue to be inspired by the tenacity, kindness, and generosity of our patients in Haiti. As per usual, many cute children stole our hearts. After a hard, sweaty day’s work we saw almost 200 patients. This was made more efficient by champion medical students like Adam Grippin who saw families of 6 at once. Weary but gratified we finished seeing our last patients and quickly packed up, trying to cross the riverbed before sundown. On the way home we were treated to a full moon rising over the mountains, and a chance to bond with our translators who had previously kept mostly to themselves. The translators are all local students who are in school for interpretation and hired by HCM to spend the whole week with us. This week has been a great opportunity for them to work on their medical English and us on our medical Kreyol! Like all of the Haitians we have worked with this week, they have been a joy to be with.
After making the successful journey home, a bountiful dinner and a new medical team were waiting for us. We finished the evening with plentiful snaps (nice things we write anonymously about each other and read to the group) and good team time.
Kimi, Michael, Michael, Anouchka