West Tennessee Haiti Partnership


Day 3 at St Vincents
Morning clinic was well underway when someone came to tell me “There are 3 Haitian nursing students here. They want to work with you “.  Pause.  How to integrate them into our routine when they speak only Kreyol?  What is their training?(turns out very little). 
“Of course,” I reply. Thinking John Mutin is going to LOVE this.
The next three children we saw had “high” blood pressures. Quickly the nurses were reassigned to help guide the children through weight and height checks. Sherye’s skills were soon called for because we were working with many deaf children and the nursing students, though speaking Kreyol, still didn’t know how to communicate with them.  A crash course in “Come with me, “sit please,” and “please wait” brought quick results and were a big improvement over grabbing the children by the shoulders and bodily moving them from place to place!  Sherye Fairbanks, international sign language instructor 
Had a long conversation with Mackenson and Hilarie after lunch. Mackenson is worried about his friend Frenel who lives in Jeremie. Because the school’s dorm rooms for the boys was so damaged by the earthquake and later Hurricane Matthew, the ceiling had collapsed and we decided it was unsafe to take boarding students this year.  This means students like Frenel cant come to school because they live many miles from Port au Prince. Frenel calls Mackenson every day unhappy because he cant be at school.  The new school site only has room for 34 residents.
Mackenson and several of the permanent residents at St Vincent’s are in their 20s and even older, so the issue is how to find housing for them to make room for blind students like Frenel whose only option for education in Haiti is St Vincent’s. I told Mackenson Frenel is close to my heart and many others; in fact I have his photograph on the wall in my office.  Somehow together we will find a way to bring this intelligent young boy back to St Vincent’s.
Our way back to the guest house includes a 5 minute drive down a gravel “road” (I use that term loosely). Sadly our bus had a flat tire! We walked the last 200 yards home and along the way a car pulled up behind us with Dr Pascale Yola.  She is a pediatric oncologist and friend of our Dr Judy from St Judes. We had much to talk aboit, including three children with serious conditions who need complex medical evaluations.  What a great connection has been made with her and St Damien’s hospital for some of our St Vincent’s students
(To be finished later)
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