West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Holiday in Haiti – Making house calls- Who is Drew?

Today, November 18, was a national public holiday in Haiti commemorating the victory of the Haitian rebels over the French in the revolution.  As usual, we learned of this on Sunday, just after we arrived.  A holiday means no school, no teachers for Sherye to do her planned teaching instruction, and no kids for the clinic.   However, per the Haitian way, we adapted.  There are about 25-30 permanent residents at St Vincents, so Phillip used today to do dental check ups on most of “Drew’s kids”. Sonya and her son went outside Port au Prince to meet the family of a little girl who needs club foot surgery. We hope to arrange for Dr Khumalo to see her on his next trip in January.  Ashley and I spent the day with Dr George’s Beauvoir, orthopedic surgeon who works part time at St Vincent’s.  He had two surgical cases today and invited me to observe.  It gave me a chance to see the surgical facility where he and Dr Khumalo do their surgeries. He treated us to a lovely lunch and then we made a house call on one of his patients. Abigail is about 7 years old and had just been released from the hospital after a wound infection. Dr Beauvoir wanted me to see the kind of place most of St Vincent’s kids live in.  We picked up the child’s mother at what I thought was a hotel.  Dr B told me she worked there as a maid, and it was a private residence.  Leaving that neighborhood, we quickly left the paved roads and entered another world.  We drove up and down very rough “roads”, more like gullies where even motorcycles could get stuck.  Children carrying gallon jugs of water were walking along the road just wide enough for a single car to pass.  Goats, pigs, and chickens poked around in the road or the vegetation on the hillside.  We drove about 3 miles, a distance which the mother travels daily, either on foot or by “motorcycle taxi” which costs 50 gourdes (about $1.20 US). Entering a maze of gravel gullies we finally arrived at her home, a concrete dwelling with a front porch reached by climbing crumbling concrete steps.  We were greeted warmly by the family of about 7 people; a young woman pulled out chairs for us. They were typical metal “lawn chairs” with faded cushions.  Dr Beauvoir laid the little girl on a plastic reclining lawn chair and changed her dressing, with assistance from me and the girls mother.  Two younger children stared continuously at me and Ashley; I don’t know if they had ever seen a “blan” before. (white person). I was thinking that Sienna would be so disappointed to learn she missed this experience. She would have been chatting in Kreyol with all the children and learning their names.  The best I could manage was “Bon swa” and “Mesi”. 

Dr Beauvoir gave me a great compliment. He said that I am 1/3 Haitian.  I replied that when my Kreyol is better I will be 1/2 Haitian.  

We returned to the guest house and met our team, hot and sweaty from spending the day at St Vincent’s. We shared our experiences over Prestige (Haitian beer). Stars of the day are Phillip, who did dental check ups on many severely disabled children, and to Kara, John and Brittany who ran the medical clinic in my absence.  Phillip and Kara are from Connecticut and have had to put up with the rest of us telling stories of past trips, referring to people they don’t know, and hearing us refer to Drew’s kids.  Tonight he finally asked, “Who is Drew?”  Much laughter ensued before we could explain the phenomenon of Drew Woodruff. The heart and soul of our Haiti ministry. Drew, if you are reading this, WE MISS YOU AND WISH YOU WERE HERE!
Susan Nelson
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