On the bus this morning, Sherye taught us some basic signs including colors and numbers. There are about 80 deaf kids at St Vincent’s, and Sherye helps us communicate with them in clinic. Being a teacher, she always looks for an opportunity to teach the students new vocabulary. Not to mention 17 team members from the United States! Picture Drew Woodruff trying to make the sign for “yellow”, “green”, “red”, “purple” and getting them all mixed up.
Later, one of the nursing students, Garrett, asked Sherye what a particular sign meant. Several of the deaf teenagers were making that sign to him after they tried to communicate with him and he did not understand what they were saying. Turns out the sign means “zero brain”.
Operating the pharmacy has become a rotating function among the nursing students, with the help of Sienna who can translate directions into Kreyol and help explain to the patients how to take the medications. Take one pill twice a day. (Pran yon gren de fwa pa jou) Take 2 pills four times a day as needed for pain. Take one teaspoon three times a day. And so on. We dispense a lot of vitamins, ibuprofen, tylenol, ranitidine (for acid reflux) , and blood pressure and diabetes medication for the adults. A few antibiotics for children with ear infections. Counting 30 pills over and over.
Tonight after another delicious supper at the guest house, we had the group divide up the common medications and count them into 30 pills in a ziploc bag. Then Sienna helped us write labels for each of them. This will save a LOT of time tomorrow in the pharmacy.
Now the girls are in our dormitory bedroom, talking over the day, remembering funny and sad stories. Each girl has her own mosquito net over her bed, so we talk to each other through a hazy mesh. We can solve all the problems of St Vincent’s School here in our dorm room. Tomorrow, of course, we will return to reality and the limitations of time and resources. Our own inadequacy is painfully obvious. Mercifully, the answers don’t depend on us alone.