It was a day, a glorious day. Each time a plan for this journey, I ask myself, is it worth the effort, numerous challenges, students coming and canceling and all the rest. And then, and then, I go to the special children’s room and I see Baby Margaret, who is no longer a baby and I touch her sweet face and say in English of course “hello Margaret – how are you sweetie”. I touch her face and look into her crib and her eyes and she smiles. Her face lights up and I pick her up and hold her and kiss that angelic face and I sing to her and she blinks her eyes and moves her head to my not so angelic songs. She knows me and this child with her shunt responds. This is why I come. This is my purpose. JoJo and Marie Carmel – so glad to see a friend to glad to welcome me back to Haiti.
I introduced our team and of course Marie, a Haitian daughter who has come home. Everyone is thrilled to have Marie, Dr. Bredy to come back and are trying to speak to her – she does not know their language but it is not important.
So it appears the numerical system for the sites is backwards; site 2 is the old site and site 1 in the brace shop, etc. SURPRISE!! We made a make-shift intake area in a make-shirt class room, which is part of where the old clinic used to be. There is no longer a stage and a hearing group from Quebec and Eastern Canada are doing hearing tests at the brace shop and have computers in the library and Pere’s office. Pere wanted us to set up the assessment clinic in the special needs room, which is what took me to Margaret first thing. She was the only child in the room. We gave it a go…. not the best, lots of room for improvement. Heather Ayres, a returning nurse and I made a new plan and presented to John Robert. Some how, some way we will be on the ground floor tomorrow. It was a bite of a challenge (an understatement) to get the children up and down, to maintain any privacy for the children, and to continue clinic once the children were out of school.
I would suggest someone run over to Walmart or Home Depot and get a pop-up canopy to run part the intake clinic to protect the team from the sun. This might fit in a golf bag and be checked as luggage. Gail is going to look for a tarp or something for us to use tomorrow. To set aside concerns, I told the nurses “think of how good our tans will be when we get home.”
There are lots of children. Are you hearing me Susan Nelson, lots of children and little ones of 2 and 3, who cannot tell us their names, do not understand us putting them on the scale let alone sticking them for a hemaglobin. We are not traumatizing the babies if they put up the least resistance and do not have a temperature,which is also a major event if the child is deaf. This was just very painful for the children, not to mention the nurses. Most of the kids did pretty well. I was peed on twice! I wash!!!
John – I saw our boy!,Bergans and has he grown. He came to me at the intake area during the recess and hugged me! Good moment. We have not assessed him but he looks good and healthy. Zachary is a double amputee but he did greet me. Blanda looks wonderful as do so many of the children. There are so many new ones that if a child recognized me and came for a hug or kiss there were 6 kids wanting the same thing – not problem, glad to comply.
JoJo is still Jojo – lucky we had him to go to the Minister of Education to convince them to keep St.Vincent’s. The area to the left of the school is all ruble. However, the area to the right, as you face the prison is still intact, as is the prison.
Mdme Noelle had a baby boy last week. We do not have access to the pharmacy at the brace shop area in what ever number that local has been designated. Therefore, the children have not been receiving vitamins for “ a couple of weeks” per John Robert. I suggested perhaps someone, maybe Jenny could give the children vitamins. We gave each child a vitamin today, if we could get them to understand the idea of chewing them.
I found a big bottle of gummy vitamins that I think I will personally hand out tomorrow after we get the clinic going.
We had clinic until school was out. And then, and then, and then, I suggested to John Robert we go to the National Museum. I wanted to continue Dr. Bredy’s reintroduction to Haiti. This was the best 5 bucks I have spent in ages. We had a wonderful guide, fluent in English and extremely knowledgeable in Haitian history. For the benefit of my family that reads these notes, he was the Denny McClurg of Haiti. Dr. Bredy was thrilled as were our nurses. Not only was the museum an experience but walking from St. Vincent’s through the ruble and navigating the streets and traffic was a whole different and unexpected cultural orientation. Now I said to them later in the evening, “just imagine making this really short 6 block journey with one leg and a brace or crutch, or wheel chair, or carrying a child with CP or even an elderly person walking over the high curbs and dodging the puddles, cars and everything else; 6 block would seem like 6 miles.
We managed to get August, our driver, who may have another job during the day to stop at the marche’ (aka market), this is the place for Dr. Bredy and the rest of us to get wine,coffee and other items we cannot survive without including Pringles and cookies!!
Susan all of the pharmacy order arrived except for 3 bottles of hand sanitizer. The box was not sealed with tape or twine and maybe floating around St. V somewhere. Since we do not have a pharmacy on Site ?? we are setting up our mini-pharmacy in our suitcases. We have counted out packets of 30 tylenol and Advit for the adults we will see tomorrow after the hypertension teaching clinic, Stephanie will be running in the afternoon.
As we got off the bus today I heard Tiffany talking “she is like a spider- monkey”. Silly me, I thought she was speaking about one of the children. Ummmm turns out it was me. As my family will tell you, I often do not see obstacles but opportunities and thus; like Corrine my 1-year old granddaughter, just climb over it. Perhaps, this is the best compliment an all most senior citizen can receive!!
So… who is our kid magnet?? It would be Heather Leland. Matina, who I refer to as my “chunky monkey” went to clinic and saw Heather and told John Robert – “she is BIG like me”. Heather took it well and Matina loved her. As a pediatric nurse, she is magic with the children.
So family and friends, as I read Psalms 66 from Leslie Brandt’s Psalms Now, a gift from a former Haiti team member, “I proclaim God’s praises because I know he will love me forever”. Good night!