West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Last day at St Vincent’s

After our restful day at the beach, we were all happy to see the kids again. Emily B worked with me again in clinic. Her French skills were invaluable, although by this time my Kreyol is fairly functional, at least for basic exams.   Sherye has also taught us signs to use. Every morning on the bus, she stands at the front clutching a pole and demonstrates how to say “What is your name?  My name is… Do you have pain.  Show me where …”  St Vincent’s has about 50 or more deaf students, so we all got lots of practice.  One of the deaf teachers came to me and I was able to ask him “Are you a teacher?” as well as elicit his complaints of eye problems and back pain, all without Sherye’s help. I was so proud of myself! After spending a week surrounded by people who speak a different language, between Kreyol, French and Sign, it is SO gratifying to be able to communicate. 

We saw a total of 140 patients, mostly kids, over 4 days. Most were healthy, but Edie brought down Margaret Vincent to see me today.  She had gone up to check on her because she told me she kept thinking about Drew and his love for the children in the upstairs room.  Turns out Margaret had a fever, caused by an ear infection and pneumonia. Fortunately we were able to treat her with antibiotics. I told Edie she may have saved the child from going to the hospital.  It used to be that we saw 5-6 sick kids like that every trip, but now it is unusual for us to see someone that sick. I think years of good nutrition and getting vitamins and the careful attention of the St Vincent’s staff has resulted in better health for all the children. 

After lunch we walked with Jean Robert to the Haitian National Museum, which was remarkable in many ways; we had a guided tour in English.  I was most impressed to see the anchor from the Santa Maria, which ran aground when Christopher Columbus landed in 1492. 

After our walk back to the school, we had the best time playing with the kids. Soccer balls and dancing, Mackenson singing and playing guitar for us.  This is always my favorite time at St Vincent’s, sitting under the shade tree, watching the kids play and listening to Mackenson sing. Frenel sang with him, “You Are my All in All” in Kreyol, which brought most of the team to tears.  It is always hard to say goodbye. Madame Marc made picliz for me and John to take home, with a special jar just for Amy Chanin.  Each team member has their special person to say goodbye to.  Pere Sadoni gave me some of Clauricianne’s paintings, to take home for Hope Lennartz to sell at their church Christmas fair. I told Clauricianne I would sell her paintings for a million dollars. She grinned and said “Yes, of course!”

As I was gathering all our belongings from the clinic, making sure to say goodbye to Marie Carmelle and a dozen others, Edie came to find me and insisted I check on Margaret Vincent before we got on the bus. We found her asleep and she felt feverish. I talked with the Madame who cares for her, she told me her next dose of Amoxil would be at bedtime, and that as soon as she woke up she would give her a dose of Tylenol. Feeling slightly reassured, we left, having to trust that Margaret is in good hands.  So hard to leave these children, yet I know that they receive love and attention and I know that we can only offer what we have while we are in Haiti. The rest is up to the Haitians. 

Vicky came to me tonight and proudly announced she had located every last card; (of 140 patients seen at the clinic), quite a feat with our team split into 3 groups plus the pharmacist.  Medical cards scattered everywhere,  Sherye remarked that we don’t know how we managed before without her!  Tomorrow she promises me she will help me make a master list of all the supplies we need, and a calendar to plan for our next trip.  We don’t leave for the airport until 12:30 PM, so we have time for coffee and for the younger folks to sleep in. 

We are all healthy except for an abrasion or two and maybe a broken nose, but we will tell our families all about that when we arrive in Memphis tomorrow night!

Bon Soir
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