Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sunday- A day of rest!

This is our last day to bask in the warmth of the Haitian sun. Half the group rose at 0630 to join Thony at his church. After the service they were treated to a meal at Thony's parents home. It sounded like a fantastic way to spend the morning. The rest of our group "slept in" and re-organized the supplies we were leaving behind for Global DIRT. Once the church group returned we started off for the beach. It was a long two hour ride in the party van, but the end point was well worth it! The beach resort was just breath taking. The way the mountains met the water reminded me of Maui. We swam, sat in the sand, some snorkeled, hunted for sea shells and just relaxed. A few of our interpreters, Joe Wolf, Junior, Jameson & Shaba, joined us for a day of rest as well. It was such a treat to decompress in such a oasis. We stayed until the sun almost set and made the drive back. Vaness was kind enough to have left us some dinner. One last meal of chicken and beans with rice. The evening ended with chatting in the courtyard. Looking forward to seeing my family, but sad to leave Haiti. Until next time...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday- Our last working day

I can't believe our last working day in Haiti has come and gone. The hours go very slowly here but the days have flown, if that makes sense. We held our last clinic at a safe house for women who have been raped. Not all of our patients were recent victiums. So we did treat colds, worms, jammed fingers, stab wounds, etc. Canadian Cindy work with me today doing exams. We had a good day together. Our one super sad story was a 20 year old women with a 3 year old. She had been beaten and raped by five men with guns in November. She had been walking home with her grandmother, daughter and another family member when they were attacked. All the adults were beaten with rifles and then the raped out patient in front of her family. How does a 3 year old even begin to process seeing something so horrific done to her mom? I will never understand this kind of brutality. What will it take for all humans to have humanity? - Kerry.******************* I haven't blogged for awhile. I have been enjoying everyones company. I am now decompressing with a wee orphan chick that Johanna had try to get the other mom rooster to adopt in my lap. It has been a very rewarding week. This team works well together. I have enjoyed every role I have done. I really like working with Fatima, it is soooo nice to have an ARNP to make most the hard decisions. She is so excellent. I can't believe we had two NP's on this team. They are both phenomenal. I could go on for hours about how much this group is wonderful to work with. They make me laugh so hard. It has also been great hanging with global dirt Sarah and getting to know her better. todays biggest memory is the 15 year old 8 months pregnat lady i did a sonograph on. She didn't have a plan on what she will do when she goes into labor. I am pretty sure she was a victim of rape but did not ask.......I did some massages on people and made them smile and feel better even for a brief moment. I am sad this week is coming to an end but know I will be back to Haiti again. Evie############# Today Kayla and I worked in pharmacy. We were a well organized oiled machine! The patients we saw today seemed a little more nourished than some of the people in the tent camps, but still saw some people who appeared to have very little. I can't believe how fast the week has gone by. Haiti and the people here have really grown on me. I'm glad I came to Haiti for this medical mission. It has been an experience I will never forget. As much as I have loved most of the food we've eaten, I've been craving vegetables (shocking, I know!) and I can't wait to have a green salad. ~~~Jenna I worked in the assessment area with one of the Nurse Practitioners today. It was a rewarding day. I didn't want to pry too much into any of these people's lives because intimate details of a person's own rape or assualt seem like something they should offer. We saw a 30 year old woman who stated she couldn't feel her right hand. She shared with us that she had been attacked by 6 men with knives about 1 month ago. She had horrific scars on her arms and back. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do for this poor woman except comfort her and tell her she didn't deserve this kind of brutality. This trip has been a great learning experience for me...I have learned more about myself and a lot about Haiti and Haitian culture! I am glad I took this opportunity. *****Elise****** PS all the other gals are alive but just tired. They all say hello. Our exciting news today was that Sarah informed us we treated between 1000 and 1100 people this week! Just look at what 10 motivated women can do in a week, imagine if we had more....

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday at the orphanage

We left the house at 0815 then sat on the side of a street for a looooonnnnggggg time waiting for our interpreters. Super hard for us to work without them. The orphanage was very nice. The children were in the middle of school, when we arrive, so we hung out on the rooftop while we waited for them to finish up. It was fun to see the number shapes the kids had made with play dough. And what a cool sound to hear them all singing "Old MacDonald had a farm". We set up the "clinic" in the same fashion as the rest of the week. Johanna and I teamed up again for exam. We work well together and manage to have some fun with it too! I did manage to drain two cysts, but Fatima stole the show by draining 60ml's from a man's knee. The clinic started with seeing the 30 children of the orphanage and then opened to invited community members. The children were in very good health, clean and well fed. So very sweet. Evie and Johanna both had special buddies with them most of the day. We started seeing patients at 1030 and finished at 4 pm. We saw close to 200 people. Sad to say that tomorrow is our last working day. This week always goes too fast.- Kerry********************************************************* Today we went to an orphanage in a nicer part of town up in the hillside, the view from the deck was breathtaking, you could see for miles across the city to the ocean and mountains. It was the perfect spot to pause and just take it all in. The children here get frequent checkups from other organizations so they weren't as bad as the ones in the tent camps but some of there stories were heartbreaking, many had parents that couldn't afford them and had just abandoned them, or there parents had passed away. After seeing the children we saw all the locals in the community, some still suffering pain and injuries from the earthquake. Everyone in Haiti seems to suffer from a cold, congestion or burning eyes. The dust in the air here still lingers, everywhere you go you feel dirty and dusty, my eyes too sometimes burn and I am congested. After a few years of daily inhalation of the pollution here you can see the toll that it is taking on many people. Haiti and the people here have really grown on me and I am truly going to be sad to leave here. It really is a beautiful place, it just needs a lot a love and hard work to get things where they need to be out here!! -Canadian Cindy

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Haiti Block tent city

Hello everyone! Today we set off for a tent city called Haiti block, it is named this because it is next to a a place that they make block for building buildings. We left the house around 8:15. The place we set up our clinic at this camp was in a building tucked into the city. It was one big mostly enclosed room. We set up the triage in the middle and three examiners along the wall. Pharmacy was set up in the back. We saw between 50-60 people today, much less than the previous days. I was in the inferno also known as the pharmacy, the sun was directly on the tarp behind us and there was no breeze. Everything went well despite. After clinic we stopped at REDUILD again because not everyone brought money to buy sandals yesterday. Then we came to the house and changed clothes and headed to downtown Port-au-Prince to the Haitian National Museum. It was really nice to see. We also bought some paintings and necklaces near the museum, which is right next to the palace. They have recently torn down the palace and are starting to rebuild it. It was a great day. Johanna***************************************** Everyday I continue to be amazed by the things we see while out driving through the streets of Haiti. There was a bull walking down the side of the road in the ditch and another bull tied to a wall in another. We also saw a sign that read "no trespassing at risk of molestation and going to jail."~Cindy (USA)*************************** Dogs are howling and "calls of prayer" are being made as we sit outside and reflect upon our day. As the girls stated, we hit up another tent camp today. We walked through tightly packed homes-made out of tin, cloth, wood and scrap metal, as we made our way to a larger community tent from which we treated people today. My youngest patient was 7 days old, she had infections to both eyes-I was happy to be able to send her home with all of the correct antibiotics! The mother looked well for delivering the newborn in her "tent home" without any medications or medical attention just a week before. After we were finished everyone had a chance to purchase more sandles from Rebuild Globally before heading to the museum. We thought we needed to learn a thing or two about Haiti's history! ;) Tomorrow we are heading to a different orphanage than which we went to the other day. I'm excited to see and play with more children! ~Kayla *************************** Today was a good day. It was nice to have a short work day so that we could truly experience Port Au Prince. I have been wanting a taste of history since we arrived, so the National Museum was pretty refreshing. We got to see an anchor recovered from the Santa Maria! I am currently sitting back, enjoying some wine from a carton (this brings new meaning to the words "boxed wine" :)). Good friends, good company. Looking forward to tomorrow. - Elise******************************** Always learning something new in Haiti - import lessons of the day. Lesson 1: Ivory cure STIs. Lesson 2: If it's oral, need to eat it. Overall, a great day! Enjoyed learning about Haiti and visiting Port-au-Prince. -Fatima************************************ We are sitting around, outside in the yard reflecting on our visit. (yes beer may be involved) I would describe the tent city more like a shanty city. The dwellings are very close with narrow walkways snaking around the village. The village leader was very nice and helpful. We covered more buns today. Funny though, mothers were upset that we were out of boys undies. I guess a pink shirt with flowers but no Dora undies! I was surprised that the patient group was so small today. But we are a well oiled machine at this point. Johanna and I ran the pharmacy today. It was a circus at times, but we sang, handed out stickers and undies and had fun with it. Funny moment of the day... I had my arm hanging out of the truck window as we drove. At an intersection a boy grabbed my arm, then through me an American dime. So I made 10 cents today. Very interesting experience. Evie and Johanna are about to entertain us with LMFAO, yet again. Who need reality TV. Having a great time and sad that we only have two working days left! Already mentally planning my next trip. The smoke is thick in the air today. My throat and eyes are starting to burn. I guess I would not make it long term here. Patty, Judy and Suzie, the pregnancy tests have been awesome. We have already used 35. So very helpful. A super big thanks to everyone that gave me things to bring. Everything is so well received and needed. If anyone has an urge to donate money, please give to Global DIRT. They are one of the few NGO's actually doing real work and taking no money. Missing my family but looking forward to the day when I can volunteer side by side with my daughters. - Kerry.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hot Wednesday night in Petionville

Just got back from the restaruant/ bar in Petionville. It was a crazy ride straight up the mountainside, but had a beautiful ending point. This place had live Jazz music. The singer was fantastic. We all enjoyed drinks and snacks. Almost forgot where we were for awhile. We were a lively group of 15. Time to crash and get ready for another day.- Kerry

Day 3- Covering buns in Haiti...

We covered some buns in Haiti today! We were a mobile underwear unit. The kids and mothers had a big smile when we gave them new undies. Thank you to all of our donors in the states!  We hosted another clinic today in the same tent city we visited yesterday. As we arrived, 30 people were already waiting to be seen. We estimate seeing about 220 people in 5 hours. Organization gets better everyday. We will be pros by the end of the week! Many of us have learned to speak and write some Creole words. One thing that has made me happy is to see that no one is starving. Many people are thin, but we have yet to see anyone wasting away. My most memorable patient was two, with an incredible bilateral eye infection. Had not opened his eyes in a week. When I pried his eyes open puss balls poured out! Needless to say he received many forms of antibiotics!  We ended the afternoon with some retail therapy shopping at Rebuild Globally for flip flops made out of car tires. Everything this group uses is re-purposed. If you are ever looking for a really great gift that supports and amazing group, go to; http://www.rebuildglobally.org/ Our group is going to a restaurant/ bar later tonight for some fun. We are lucky to have this time to decompress and be ready to treat the next tent city tomorrow. - Kerry.******************************* Kerry pretty much covered things, so I will only add a little bit.  Today was really rewarding for me as I was able to see immediate results from the therapies we provided.  I left with a sense of accomplishment.  The tire flip flop factory was wonderful; I am hoping we go back so I can spend some money!  Looking forward to a Prestige tonight... -Elise*************************** Today I was able to try my hand as a pharmacist! We treated a lot of the same complaints as yesterday; vaginal infections, worms in children, headaches and body-aches. However, we did have a few "interesting" treatments we tackled. Today's #1 was the removal of two extra digits (polydactyly). They did not have any bone structure, just skin and vessels. We snipped one from each hand of the 1.5 month old, who tolerated it without crying while drinking formula. The baby's mom passed away after the child's birth. Grandma was very pleased with our surgeons! Although we couldn't cure all, we were able to send everyone home with something tangible and hopefully some heartfelt compassion! It is amazing to feel what silence provokes because of the language barrier here. When I take 3 seconds to say "good luck," or "good bye" after handing them medication, there is a mutual understanding and connectedness that is felt, and it is awesome!  ~Kayla************************************** Today I examined people with Cindy, one of our nurse practitioners. Because I hope to sooner than later attend graduate school to be an N.P., it was a great shadow experience. I was reminded of how much I already know, and also connected a few more dots in terms of what questions to ask and how different diagnosis can initially present with similar symptoms.  I'm more comfortable now with our mission than I was the first day or two. As said above, we have our routine and organization down a little better. The group we have here is getting along so well. I believe this really contributes to our effort and outcome at our clinics.- Jenna______________________________________________ I have to "Thank" Evie for making us laugh twice in twelve hours, first the animated dance to I'm SEXY and I know it! This performance took place last night, as few of us sat in gazebo decompressing from the day. At that point, Evie shared her dance story and we insisted that she show us the dance. The second story was about the placenta and the microwave, due to hippa laws, if you want to know the story you must ask her. - Thanks Evie!! We can always use a good laugh. - Fatima______________________________ More Evie stories! At the end of the day a very very pregnant pushy lady snuck into clinic and wanted to know if she was pregnant. Due to language barrier, Evie thought she could use some lady soap as parting gift. Moments later, the lady returned the soap in a cup for of urine. This is when Evie thought an interpreter would be helpful. After clarification, the interpreter explain that the pregnant thought Evie was giving her a pregnancy test! Good times, still laughing!  Cindy From USA________________________________________________ Well today was great, our team is getting the hang of this and we saw over 200 people. The crowd got crazy a few times but our amazing interpreters kept everyone calm. We were more prepared and truly helped many sick people. Did a lot of safe sex education and was swarmed by kids when I pulled out the bubbles I wont do that again! haha but they all got crayons and pencils. Much love for Haiti and all the people I have met!! Canadian Cindy Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 2- Tent City clinic day

Today we went to a tent camp in Port-au-Prince, approximately 35,000 people. Today we saw approximately 200 men, women, and children in 5 hours. I was assigned to pharmacy today. After patients were screened at triage, they were either sent to be examined and/or to receive medications. Medications were given for symptom relief of chronic illnesses and also for acute conditions requiring antibiotics. There were many babies brought in, some of whom received de-worming medications. We will be returning to the same tent camp tomorrow. - Jenna_____________________________________________ Until today, our group of nurses hadn't seen much extreme poverty here. As Jenna stated, we visited a tent camp in downtown Port-Au-Prince. I had no idea what to expect prior to our departure as "tent camp" seems quite vague. The living conditions in this community are devastating; their homes are made of scrap metal and look as though they could fall over at any moment. I worked in the pharmacy area with Jenna and our day seemed quite chaotic! We had to reconstitute antibiotics for patients--something I clearly take for granted in my every day job at Children's. The line of people seemed endless, and navigating all of the medications on their list was overwhelming, to say the least. While we had what seemed like a large supply of medications and syringes, our supplies didn't last. It was a difficult day for me, mostly because it's easy to get pessimistic about what little we are able to do with our limited supplies and resources. I need to keep reminding myself that, if nothing else, we gave these patients the opportunity to share their problems with us, we listened intently, and most importantly, we did our best. - Elise_______________________ I was given the job of triage, I worked at the front of the line while each patient told me and my interpreter what there symptoms and problems were. I then wrote it down and passed them off into the next room where medications were handed out or where they were assessed further. The amount of people coming up to us seemed endless and they spent hours waiting to be seen. Many young moms with vaginal infections, babies with worms, infected wounds, headaches and body pain. They hungry, dehydrated but still smiled.We did our best to provide medications and treat what we could but you almost feel defeated because most of the problems treated are only a temporary fix. The poverty and the camps here are unbelievable. The populations of people that still remain in these tent camps is endless. It is truly frustrating, you want to do so much but are so limited in your resources. It did feel good to know that we provided a small amount of relief for many people and that they were happy to see us. The children loved to get there picture taken and to them, this was the only way of life they know. I am angry that the corruption in here has kept the people of Haiti prisoners of poverty. -Cindy_______________________________________ This was first experience with such poverty.....this was a roller-coaster of emotions for me. The people were so gracious they appreciated the smallest kindness....I have to remember small successes and not be discouraged if we cant completely fix a problem. Cindy (USA)_________________________________________________ The poverty is devastating to see. It is amazing to think all that is taken for granted every single day when one has their most simplistic needs met. The people we have seen both yesterday and today have been very gracious for our help. They know the true meaning of humility and are thus able to express gratitude. I have came here to help and teach, however, I believe I will surely leave with a much greater lesson. ~Kayla_________________________________________________ We saw 200 hundred patients today, as I attempted to assess and treat these individuals, I could not help but feel slightly defeated at times. There is so much the Haitians need and so little we can give them. I have keep reminding myself, every little bit DOES help. - Fatima ____________________________________________ I am privileged to be a part of this team. They are organized and motivated. I felt that today was a good day. I enjoyed being in a role i never had an opportunity to be in. (Which is triage) This team has made me feel part of the group and we have shared many sadness together and laughter and i have only known them a short time. we will also remember our bird moth experience. Can't wait for what tomorrow holds. -Evie____________________________________________ Well, I think I am the last to comment on our day. Canadian Cindy and Evie have both be a great addition to our group. To talk about a tent city and then to walk in a tent city are two very different things. It is amazing to see how people have survived in these conditions and even more amazing that they are not sicker! Johanna and I also did exams. We saw lots of rashes, kids with worms, vaginal infections, eye infections, coughs, colds, just to mention a few. 200 plus patients in 5 hours is not too bad! We are running out of meds. It will be hard to get through the week. We need overnight FedX! Everyone is super tired tonight. We are currently hanging outside listening to LMFAO. Evie is entertaining us with a great dance! This is a wonderful group of hard working people. I know we will make a difference in some peoples lives this week. - Kerry.