Claire brought her own special touch to St. Vincent’s today. While the children lined up to see Dr Nelson, or Phillip, the dental hygienist, Claire entertained them. I looked out the door of the clinic to see kids clapping and singing and shaking these small colored balls that sounded like maracas. A great diversion for the little ones waiting to see the doctor. And it was nice background music for the clinic as well. In the states I don’t get to listen to children singing while I work.
Phillip cleaned the children’s teeth and applied fluoride treatments. Some of them came to see me afterwards; I could tell because they had white crusty paste all around their lips. The deaf kids mimed brushing their teeth and proudly held on to their new toothbrushes. Jaden was the runner, taking kids to the pharmacy to get their meds and running errands for everyone. “Jaden go find me the trash bags.” “Jaden take this kid to the pharmacy”. “Jaden go find John for me”. Kara helped me see the kids for their check ups, learning how to say “Do you have pain, do you have a cough, where does your stomach hurt?” JoJo was our translator. It’s amazing to watch him interpret for the deaf kids. He signs with his face and the short stumps he has for arms. With team members running to and fro between the medical and dental clinic and the pharmacy, it happened that Vickie became a geographical reference point. Her desk under the shade tree in the courtyard was where each child came to get a card filled out with “Nom, Prenom, L’age”. “last name, first name, age”. Eventually someone would say, “I’ll meet you at Vickie”, or “Leave it at Vickie”
Brittany was a hero, running the pharmacy out of the empty music room, with meds stacked in suitcases or on the floor. She tagged the wall with labels for “GI”, “cough/cold”, “antibiotic” and stacked meds underneath in neat rows. She covered the desk with a plastic trash bag and then wiped the surface clean with alcohol each time before counting out the pills. She told me she’s really good at those games where you guess how many jelly beans are in the jar.
Rochelle came to see me today so I could give her the violin donated by Connie Tipton in Memphis. She was delighted and promised to return on Thursday to play for the group. I first met Rochelle 6 years ago when Sienna and I heard a violin playing somewhere in the school. Sienna tracked it down to find this young girl, practicing by herself in a classroom at 5 AM. Because there was only one school violin and that’s the only time she could practice. Since then Rochelle has grown up and now attends University in Port au Prince. When I asked her last March did she still play the violin, she told me no because she did not live at the school anymore and so had no instrument to play. I promised her then I would bring her a violin, and today I was so pleased to be able to fulfill that promise.
At the end of the day, Claire had her guitar upstairs in the dorm with “Drew’s kids”, the more severely handicapped children. Many of these are new residents to St Vincent’s, plus we had our old friends Diana and Yolene and Auguste. Dieumene helped lead some of the songs and told the kids to be quiet so Claire could speak. “See-LONCE “, she said in her “I am the queen of Haiti” voice.
Check out the you tube video on Twitter @wtnhaiti. (Stephen maybe you can put the you tube link here?)