West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Life prevails

It is my granddaughter Emily’s 9th birthday. I called her at 6:30 her time to wish her the best of day. My wish carried over to the Haiti team. We had a good day; hot but good day. Prior to addressing our totals and patient issues, let me that the long way around to share the observations of the day and other events.

The St. V bus did not come. According to the driver, we did not make the reservation. OUCH! Pere said there was a miss communication. Thus, we are to continue with HHH van service on Thursday but the St V bus will take us to the airport on Saturday. I have heard from a couple of folks, Susan Nelson who reported St. Christopher is the patron saint for buses and bus drivers and Trover, my son’s friend, who claims it should be St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes!! At any-rate, we “took the short cute”, which means there was a whole lot of traffic and our driver does not like the traffic so we skirted every side street to finally get to the school. I lot like “running around the house to the barn” as my grandmother would say. The important thing is we made it in one piece and were ready to go by 9:15.

As I stepped out of the door of the guest house this morning, it struck me the huge growth of what we call Snake Plant or Mother-in-laws tongue growing wild on the side of the hill. Hundreds of the plants line the slope up to what is the old guest house. Therefore, I paid close attention and although I do not know the proper name, I believe there are ficus, schaffelera and many other varieties of plants that are indigenous to Haiti that we maintain as “house plants”. Of course there are a rainbow of Bougainvillea that waterfall over walls of the fences around homes and other buildings. The flowers, which are actually leaves do much to deter trespassing as the foliage also conceals the barbwire and broken glass concreted into the mortar and masonry block walls. Interesting history is the 8 to 10 foot high walls were constructed to prevent the police during the dictatorships from breaking into homes and carrying away those that opposed the government and their style of leadership. They remain as a means to deter others from entering one’s property. 

Another observation today – actually made a couple of days ago. As many of you may remember the current government had decided to centralize and rebuild all vital services and government building in a large one mile radius of the still to be completed reconstructed National Palace. To accomplish this goal there was a large reclamation  effort of all properties. That said, in the rubble 1 or 2 blocks around St. V. some inter- prizing souls have established businesses. One in particular I found interesting; on top of a 4 foot high irregular shaped mound of broken concrete and block is a tarp on 4 poles with dresses (closed in cleaning bags) for all to see and of course, purchase. I wondered when I first saw this if they also sold shoes to navigate down? Interesting to think about – and apparently no business permit is required. Also interesting, for those of you who have been to St. V, as we turned the corner making the right-hand turn to go to St. V and of course the prison, there used to be a bedding store with infants cribs and mattresses, directly across the street was a store that sold plastic lawn chairs, laundry baskets, fans and other household items, and diagonally from the mattress store again there is a “store” selling straight-back dining chairs. So think about this, the government took their buildings and property but are no longer proactive in rebuilding and these hearty entrepreneurs have re-established their businesses. The previous owners set up goods every morning and take them down every night. It makes me think .. if there is a will, there is a way.

It was a good day – very good. Matthew is remarkable with the children and never a word of fatigue or complaint out of him. We are seeing the teachers with their classes to allow us (specifically me) to have more time with the children tomorrow afternoon. We have decided to suspend assessments during recess – again to play with the children. The adults are always interesting – they seem to have the same issue as the person seen about 10 minutes prior to them; back pain, headache, cough, fever (I had a fever last Sunday). Did you take it … no but I was not hungry.  When someone asked about this I explained they probably had one in the past and want medication, so when we are gone they can have it.  There are some low hemoglobins in a few of the older girls and younger teachers. There are no vitamins in either of the pharmacy orders but I did have a big bottle of Women’s vitamins I bought for the nursing home and that is what I am using.

I spoke with Pere and he tells me that the teachers are charged with distributing the vitamins; however, he has not verified this has been done on a daily basis. Also the dentist only saw a couple of the children since last fall. Apparently he has left for the US or France. We have identified several in need of oral car, most likely the same children evaluated last fall.  There are very few of the children that will actually need follow up. I spoke with Miss Elizabeth to recheck the ulcer on Zachary’s sacrum and the longer of his 2 stumps. He is being very cooperative with the dressing changes, in fact, he is coming to us. The fact that we bring a clean male adult size diaper may be the incentive… gotta do what ya gotta do!! Also, I asked Elizabeth to check Marie Carmel’s BP weekly and make sure she takes her medication. The BP has come down some each day but she remains confused as what to take, for BP,what time of day,  as well as the medicine the 3-boxes of OTC proton pump inhibitor for her ACID. I tattled to JoJo to make her take her BP meds… of course he got right on her. We completed 64 or 65 intake cards and a couple of other’s (JoJo’s daughter and a friend of someone out in front of the building that John Robert slipped in).

We accomplished our task of stimulating the economy at the COOP. However, everyone is happy with the treasures for family and friends. 
And that, dear friends and family was our day. And it is only 8:30, still time for me to grade a couple of QSEN papers!! 

Think of this as a closing note, when you look at a houseplant – wonder… where in the world did you come from little green friend?

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