West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Continuing Reflections from Our Team in Haiti–Baby Rhianna, Life in the Cabins

Debbie and Margaret toured the school and saw every classroom. Margaret speaks fluent french and apparently charmed all the students.

After lunch we walked back to the little house near our campground to see the 3 month old baby with the diarrhea. Her name is Rhianna. She looked more alert today although the mom had not made her the rice water we gave her the recipe for, and the baby was still having diarrhea. At least she had stopped giving her formula and was only giving breast milk. We talked with the baby’s father who actually spoke english! He said he would help the mom make the rice water. Hopefully tomorrow we will see some improvement.
This afternoon we held a clinic for the seminarians and staff who cook for them, at the request of Pere Deravil. It was blazing hot in the room with no fan. John Mutin reminds me every 30 minutes to drink water, bless him. We had a child from St Paul’s whom we had seen that morning with extra finger tags, come to our clinic so I could tie them off with suture. Problem was I could not find any suture. I must have forgotten to pack some. Fortunately the clinic we are using is a birthing center, with full surgical supplies including suture. One pack of ethilon (nylon) suture and we were in business. The 4 year old girl didn’t like the lidocaine injections much, but when the anesthetic kicked in she sat and watched me tie off her finger tags. Not many kids in America would have been so calm, I expect.
One seminarian appeared quite professional and spoke excellent english. She had had back pain 2 weeks before which had resolved, but she just wanted a “checkup” Turns out her hemoglobin was 7.8. At least we brought plenty of vitamins!

Another delightful dip in the ocean made me forget how hot I was. Tonight I am in the “girls” cabin with everyone asleep at 9:00 except me typing away on my cell phone, which for some crazy reason can get wireless internet as long as the power is on. We only have power from 6 to 11 pm because that’s when they turn on the generator. So the fan runs until 11 pm. Usually everyone wakes up then because the room gets much hotter. Amy even moved to the lower bunk because she said it was hotter in the top bunk. Everyone except me abandoned their mosquito nets after the first night, for the same reason. Anything that stops the slightest whiff of air has to go. We argued about whether keeping the overhead light on makes the room hotter. We take great care to position the rotating fan so everyone gets their due. This is quite a feat with 5 people in the room. I turned myself around so that my head was closer to the fan rather than my feet. I can’t sleep with a pillow, my neck gets too hot. There was some debate about the vinyl mattress covers causing one to sweat more, but everyone decided they didn’t want to be eaten by bed bugs. Except Debbie, who seems to be doing all right so far without a mattress cover. One must make these choices when it is 97 degrees outside! Actually the nights have been just a little cooler recently after a big rain Monday night. I can sleep without sweating and that’s a definite plus.

Tomorrow we go on a ferry ride with Jean Robert, to the island of La Gonâve which is just across the bay from Montrouis. It will be a nice break after our hard work these last 3 days. Amy is staying here with Allie and Margaret. Amy says “if you’ve seen one island you’ve seen them all”; Allie feels like she already missed one day in Haiti so she and Amy will go back to the school to see more kids. Amy is braver now about seeing kids after seeing about 30 of them today! Margaret wants to go back to the school as well.

So now I am caught up on the blog with real time. I thank all of you reading this for your love and prayers and financial support to come here and work with these children. The St Vincents kids really are doing well and the St Pauls school has a fine priest in charge who really cares about the school. There are plenty of opportunities to come here and build or repair classrooms, to teach english to the older kids (a special request by Pere Deravil), to sing/draw/play with the children. Our St Vincents kids will be moving back to PAP very soon and will still need us to come see them and bring medical teams. Think about when you might be able to come and experience this wonderful place yourself (just be prepared for the heat)
Good night for now

sent from Haiti by Dr. Susan Nelson
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