Yesterday, being the third day of this trip and after seeing sick person after sick person, and numerous babies with high fever my emotions took over me. I had to take a couple moments to myself today. I had to leave the building, I just burst out in tears because of the conditions these people have to endure.
In this picture is Madelyn and Kilis… the 2 kids that stole my heart!!!
There was one woman in particular that really got to me. This albino woman had a procedure done by my brother. She had skin cancer removed. This woman had five children and was going to walk home, over a mile with her children. We opted to give her a ride home. To my surprise, her husband was there and was so concerned about her. He was so appreciative for the medical care that we provided. We will go back to check on her tomorrow.
On the way back to the clinic, we found a woman squatting on the side of the road crying in severe pain, practically naked. I was not sure what was going on, I thought maybe she was having a baby. We took her back to the clinic and had a Dr. evaluate her to find out she had a severe case of shingles.
After seeing approximately 400 people and 10hr of clinic today, we were ready to come back to the orphanage. It is very difficult to upload pictures from here because the internet is so slow. We have just finished packing all of our bags for tomorrow’s clinic. It is almost 11pm and we will have to be up by 5am to get ready, make breakfast and make lunches for the team and translators. We will have to leave by 8am. We will be sure to keep you updated. We have realized that everyday is very different. Just think….$0.82 will provide one months suply of vitamins for a child. The healthy smile you get in return is so PRICELESS. Please continue to support us!
Below you will ready a little bit, about the testimonial of some of team members… I hope, reading from someone else other than me, will give you a better idea of this experience… and we be luck enough to have you, or someone that you know to join 1 of our next trips….
See you all tomorrow!
“Where do I even begin? I cannot believe we have been here for four days. From the moment we landed in Port Au Prince, there have been so many moments that were both nostalgic and humbling. The first time I saw a kid flying a kite made from a piece of plastic and strings I automatically thought of my own childhood. I remember making my own kites back in my village in Vietnam. I also saw the “tent cities” that looked like an ocean of blue tarps. These were not the fancy camping tents we are used to in the states. I am talking about sticks and bed sheets or tarps, which weren’t much different from the ones I used to build when I was a kid. The big difference was that I still had a house with a roof to go back to when the rain and wind knocked my “toy house” down. This is their home. Oh how good we have it back in the states. Moments like this have helped me remember where I came from and not take what I have for granted.
Secondly, I have come to love Haiti. This country is beautiful despite the devastation. The people are strong and so resilient. Despite the burn on my neck from spending the day in 100 plus degree weather, in the scorching sun, on a sloppy hill taking blood pressure, I am so glad I got to experience what the women, little babies, and young children had to endure to be able to see one of the doctors. For most of these people, this will be the first time they are receiving any kind of healthcare. It is so frustrating when we run out of certain meds or don’t have the equipment to treat a condition, but I try to remember the times when the truly amazing doctors that we have on the team think outside of the box to take care of patients. For example, we had a woman today that came in with a large mass on her chest. It was diagnosed to be squamous cell carcinoma. Doctors Marcelo and Shawn wanted to remove the cancer. A makeshift surgery bed was made from cinderblocks and a mattress. We were able to remove the mass, and I fortunately had the opportunity to witness this military-like operation. It was the most amazing sight ever. We came to help the people of Haiti and there’s nothing stopping us.
Ice is heaven. A warm, wonderful, leisurely shower seems like a far away memory. A swimming pool, unthinkable. A DVD, stereo, TV, and a beautiful, clean car, with gasoline available at every street corner, all a distant memory. This world, is one so far removed from the world we live in….we truly live in a land of too much.
We hear so much about how miserable our economy is, but just spend a few days in Haiti, where they say unemployment is 70%,…but that seems to me to be grossly underestimated. Unclothed babies, little babies, little malnourished babies sitting on rocks and dirt and playing with bugs. Babies don’t have pacifiers, or toys, and mothers don’t carry tons of diapers and creams and special clothes for public bathrooms, and they don’t have a change of clothes. Kids play with straw, and rocks, and seem to have very little stimulation. Mothers have no breast milk, babies are lethargic, and yet, and yet, they smile. There is not much for recreation, but the people find pleasure in nature and God. The people have very little in the way of worldly things but they have strength, and desire to live, and a strong desire to survive. They have fortitude. They amaze me, and they make me feel sad for the way they must liive.
This is a place that needs to have occupation. It needs to have jobs for the people to do. It needs places to play and have fun. It needs more than survival. I am so very, very I was able to participate with this amazing and wonderful group of people. The doctors are wonderful, almost 400 patients seen today, done as in synchrony, with people who came together as a team for the first time. Haitian interpreters who spend there time helping their people, and bring the medical team to the communities they know need help. They are unsung heroes.
This group has all the heart in the world as do the Haitians themselves,
Vanessa M. Dazio, OTD, OTR/L, NBCCH
Wow! Yesterday was a long physical day. Long and hot, in make shift tents, made from small tree branches. The walls were palm fronds braided together wrapped around us. The top covered with old sheets and/or blankets tied together. We drove for a mile or two up a hill into a community. These people had to wait out in the sun all day for treatment. We then went into town to an established clinic to help them. They did not know we were coming so they did not have patients for us. There were about 20 -30 people that walked from the community up in the mountains that we had been working at previously in the morning. They walked two miles just to be seen. The clinic had regulations as far as the medicine, so we just set up clinic under a tree. Of course, once the Haitian saw Doctors were there was a crowd. We had to see only the people who came from the morning clinic.
Now today…..By far the most emotional day here. So many kids with fevers over a 100′, babies so malnourished (all kids need vitamins), so many more elderly people (over 80) etc. A surgery was done in one of the rooms on a mattress covered by a sheet (skin cancer). Stitches were done on a girl on her thigh from a kitchen knife wound from her sister, vaginal exams, etc. And the list goes on. I don’t think I can describe the medical needs from one day to the next and how it can get worse. Our clinic conditions were so much better today. We were in this beautiful structure, once a house. The owners moved, we were out of the sun and had plenty of room to do triage, see the patients, and then help them in the pharmacy. We were so excited this morning. We all had great, positive attitudes and then after the first couple hours the reality of Haiti kicked in. It does not matter where you live or what kind of house you live in, there is so much medical need here! After 10 hours and about 15-20 minutes for lunch, I think we were all exhausted. We have a busy day tomorrow.
These people are so appreciative we are here. It makes me Thank God every moment for how much I am blessed and thank him for my family and friends and most importantly for their health!
The 45 orphans sleeping (hopefully) below us in their crowded rooms, at least they are safe, they have food and shelter. There is one boy who is destined to be a defensive end, he is “thick” as they say. He was found tied to a tree in an area where, we hope, his family wanted him found and cared for. He has the sweetest smile and seems happy.
We are upstairs in the orphanage and are living in a way that is “fine for now”, but secretly we all are ready for the comforts of home. About these orphans, these children, they will steal your heart–I don’t care who you are.
Yesterday I was standing by my nightstand that is against the half wall and I heard my name, “Katty, Katty, HI!” and I looked down to see one of the boys who has seemed to like to be around me. I am ashamed to say that I cannot remember his name, but I will know it before I leave!
If you come to Haiti to see beautiful mountains when you look up, and the blue ocean in the distance, you won’t be disappointed. If you expect to see nice shops and restaurants you will be disappointed. If you look at the country in terms of cleanliness, sanitation, and ease of living you will be disappointed. If you look at the living conditions and realize how absolutely blessed you are, you won’t be disappointed!
Our translators are in their mid-twenties, they are working with the orphanage and their communities to make Haiti better. Yesterday we had clinic in a house owned by a friend of one of their friends who has moved back to the States. It was a fantastic clinic with lots of room, separate areas for Triage, doctors’ exams, pharmacy, and yes, a treatment room! Dr Marcelo removed a nickel sized skin cancer from an albino skinned woman who has five children and lives in an area off the beaten path in conditions unspeakable. He also stitched a kitchen knife wound on the thigh of a girl stabbed by her sister in a heated fight. He drained a week-old puncture wound by a tree on the hand/thumb of a man that, if he was anywhere else would have required anesthesia. Dr Aimee did two vaginal exams and pregnancy tests. We used the room to calm an anxious patient who had succumbed to the stress in her life and was hyperventilating. Dr Michael treated two probable case of malaria, fevers 105 degrees! Dr Shawn and the others tirelessly treated the skin rashes, stomach aches, and back pain. We saw close to 400 patients in a beautiful empty house because a group of young people want better for their community and because the sponsors of People for Haiti want to help too.
At the clinic there were young men who helped organize and facilitate flow during the clinic. I asked Herbie what the group that helped us was formed for and he stated it was for community improvements. They are working to find/build a place to utilize 200-225 books they received from France for people to go and read and relax, they have asked the concrete makers to help with supplies, and they focus on cleanliness in the streets. So, helping their own and still reaching out to the community on the mountain yesterday……..not sure I’ve met any people in their 20’s like this……..or 40’s?!
You can listen to the world criticize Haiti for what they see on the outside, or you can come here and “see” for yourself—I guarantee that if you open your eyes you will see a beauty that is surely in the eyes of the beholder.