Haiti Recap Part I

It’s been almost a month since returning from Haiti and I’m still not entirely sure how best to describe the week there. First I would like to thank everyone who joined with us in this trip, through prayers, encouragement, and funding. Check out our photos to see some images – I’ll be getting a DVD of the images come Sunday and will put a smattering up on my Flickr and here with some descriptions.

Haitian Flag

This was my second time in Haiti, the first being in September of 2006, in fact 8 of the 14 of us on the trip were return travelers – a fact that made this trip run very, very well detail and tension wise. We flew into Port-au-Prince about mid-day and didn’t fly out for Les Cayes until later afternoon, so by the time we arrived at Pastor Luis’ (the house we stayed at for the week) it was already dark. We woke up very early on Sunday to attend a 6:30 am worship service at the downtown church where Pastor Mike Hsu gave the message with Pastor Luis interpreting. I’m always amazed by the way the Haitians worship – I normally feel like a very stiff white guy, but in Haiti that feeling is even more pronounced. The services go for hours complete with shouting (Merci Jesus! Alleluia!) from everyone involved, Meg put it very well – they have a yearning desire for the Lord that we just don’t quite get. I must confess I’m a bit nervous and out of place in the services – I grew up in pretty intense conservative fundamentalism – and I can learn a thing or two from the way Haitians shout and scream for their savior (I’m thinking of a number of Psalms that do the very same thing).

Group Shot of our Team

Group Shot of our Team

We spent most of the Sunday in services (Les Cayes – Cambry – back to Les Cayes) and resting at Luis’ house. That Monday we organized some of the medications we brought down (around $43,000 worth if I remember correctly) and hauled them off to downtown Les Cayes to hold clinic. A little bit of anarchy ensued – first day is always interesting, but we got the pharmacy set up, Matt, Rich, and Meg set up their clinic spots with translators and we were off to the races. I believe a lot of the people that went through were members of the downtown church in need of medical assistance. We saw lots of worms, high blood pressure, diabetes (Rich had a lady who was in the middle of a diabetic ketoacidosis episode – blood glucose hovering at a sky high ~600 mg/dL !). Rich also saw a patient he treated at the clinic two years ago who had cardio myopathy – she was looking great, and the meeting I think really strengthened the minds of the team as to noticing that what we do does make a difference.

During the downtown clinic

During the downtown clinic

The next day we were informed we would not be returning to walk-in clinics but would spend the rest of the week visiting orphanages. We again loaded up meds and drove off toward Casa Major. This orphanage had about 180 orphans, most all of whom had a scabies infection and fungal infections (ringworm predominately). We devised a system that we would end up using for the rest of the week – Ann and Carla gave albendazole (worm med) and a multivitamini along with a hug and kiss – Rich checked their heart and breath sounds – Matt checked their ears, throat, nose, etc. – Meg with a few others applied topical creams to fungus infections – Craig and Gene gave each child a Tylenol/Motrin along with any prescribed antibiotic or other med – anyone not helping with the medical gauntlet was playing with the kids. One of the boys I was hanging out with had me teach him to count to 200 in English, showed me a book of his drawings, and had me draw him a picture and write out how to count to 200 in English (word-wise obviously).

Dr. Matt at Casa Major Orphanage

Dr. Matt at Casa Major Orphanage

Carla at Casa Major Orphanage

Carla at Casa Major Orphanage

The drawing in the notebook

The drawing in the notebook

Wednesday we headed down to Port Salude. This was a little newer orphanage with about 200 orphans. Very similar to Casa Major in that most had scabies and fungal infections. Chad Hall and I got the idea to teach the kids kanna, kanna, zwa (duck, duck, goose). At the time I only knew chee-ta (sit down) and sek (circle) but they caught on really well and it was off to the races for Chad and I (we got picked a lot).

Kanna Kanna Zwa!

Kanna Kanna Zwa!

I think I’ll stop part I there.

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~ by veniatregnum on December 12, 2008.

One Response to “Haiti Recap Part I”

  1. […] Recap Part II I finished Part I at the end of our visit at the Port Salude orphanage. On our way back from Port Salude we took a […]

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