Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bonjour from Haiti...an intro!

Let me share my first 2 days with you or a brief overview anyway! I know the kids of Wildrose and St. Teresa's (Hi Hanna Riddell!) are also following along so I will try and write you something in the next few days but until then...this will have to do...

So after 2 days of flying and 3 timezone changes I made it safe and sound and was able to find all of my bags amidst the confusion of 300 or so others arriving at the same time. Considering that the Port Au Prince airport is now makeshift and there is no luggage belt I think I fared very well to come out with all 3 bags! Right now I sitting in the dark writing this as the generators shut off at 10pm and everything else is run on batteries so we are trying to save power by turning off all non-essential equipment! The country still does not have any centralized power so everything is run off generators(kinda puts into perspective that we maybe shouldn't get so upset when our power goes off for a couple of hours!) The earthquake happened on Jan 13 and the Haitians are still without power! They are also still without hot running water and as a nurse you can see where I would have concerns about not being able to wash my hands...but i guess hand sanitizers could prove to be a saving grace here! Not too mention the fact that I took my first cold shower tonight...and for those of you who know me you know how I loathe cold showers even in hot places..but a shower is better then none...especially after 2 days of dust and heat!!
I have heard that there are many different groups here helping out both with medical and AID in any form that takes but from the limited amount i have seen there doesn't seem to be a lot of movement in the area of build demolition etc... I understand that Haiti is working on a master plan of sorts but nothing seems to be happening as of yet...

The clinic...originally the clinic was a boys orphanage and has now turned into a clinic that treats walk in patients and has about 20 inpatients. They range in age from 4 weeks to about 60 all suffering from different wounds, infections,lack of homes to go too. Heartline also runs a women's center and there was a baby born there today and another lady in labor tonight. Additionally, they run an "ambulance style" truck out too the different areas 3 times a week to treat patients in the field....there is very basic services offered as the clinic is not equipped to do alot, however they still do alot!! Like the little (2 years old) girls that came in with a split head today that our Dr. and Physicians Assistant sewed up (she was not happy with us for having to hold her down but we sort of won out with a make-up balloon after! So the clinic and inpatients seems to be a hodge-podge of everything and I am loving it...now if I could only speak Haitian Creole!!
The patients in the clinic refuse to sleep inside, as do most Haitians since the quake so they sleep outside on army style cots under tarps. I have been told there are "Tent cities" popping up all over Port Au Prince and with the rainy season coming it could pose problems. I also heard tonight that of the 900 orphans awaiting adoption prior to the quake,700 have left for their new homes... There are currently 4 nurses (myself included) that will have to split the work until another arrives later in the week.. 2 drs. one that leaves on Friday and another lady called a physicians assistant (who works like a Dr.) who will stay on..the hope is to re-open the clinic (after this acute stuff is done) full time in the future!!

I won't get into too many details about the patients but to say that they are wonderful people! There are a lot of children and it seems that most of my day is spent doing my work while holding onto a baby! At times I am not even sure who the babies mother is so have to ask someone because I don't want to give the wrong baby back to the wrong mother..although i am sure they would care for it as if it were their own! I will write more later about these great children who for the most part speak English and are helping me with my Haitian Creole (a mix between french and..i'm to sure what!) The schools here have been closed since the quake so the children find ways to occupy themselves..and without TV,computers or video games they are proving to be very creative! Although movies at night are proving to be a hit!! I must say I have never seen so many different hairdo's on babies and girls (sometimes 2-3 in a day!).

So now I must go to bed but I want to say this....I am sitting out on the patio in the dark (bug spray on)...with the roosters crowing (? they do all night..in the dark??!) with the dogs trying to keep up with them, the smell of fires burning, the night clear and the stars are bright and I am feeling like this is where I need to be and I am not too sure why yet but cold showers and all a place like this would do us all some good to help bring some much needed perspective to our everyday lives...and also feel so so lucky to have a safe,wonderful home and country to go home too....the poverty in this city doesn't appear to be a match for the spirit and love that i have seen on the faces or have already (on my second day) felt from the few people I have met here... Until later..I am off to bed to be lulled to sleep by the wonderful sounds of roosters....ahhh I guess only in Haiti!


1 comment:

  1. Lise, i'm so glad to hear you made it safely! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, and can't wait to read more, you have done a great job of puting into words what the rest of us can only imagine. You were made for this kind of work! Stay safe!