Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Haiti, part three

Here is the last group of photos--our last two days in Haiti.

If You Build it (So to Speak), They Will Come
In true Haiti fashion, our last day of clinic started out uncertain and confusing and then somehow worked out reasonably successfully, after all.  At first we were told that we weren't going to even have a clinic on our last day in Thomonde, and then we were told that we would be helping the regular doctors in a permanent clinic site, and then we were told that we were going someplace else, and then when we did finally get on the road, we drove to a completely different location entirely and pulled up in front of an empty school and were told that this was our clinic site for the day.  So we did what you do in Haiti, which is to say, "Ummm... okaay..." and then you just go with it and make it work.  And it did.  

Daily ritual: get up, get dressed, have coffee, eat breakfast, wait for instructions.

Either the Haitian Medishare staff were far better at communicating the plans for Friday's clinics to their communities than they were to us, or word of mouth spreads at lightning speed, because by the time we arrived, there was already a crowd of maybe 30 women with babies waiting in the schoolyard.  Less than an hour later, the crowd had swelled to more than 200 people of all ages waiting to be seen.

The local doctor delivering a call-and-response style lesson on cholera safety
to the waiting crowds.

I know I took quite a few of these shots, but I just loved the way they turned out.

The school building turned out to be the best setup we'd had yet for organizing different pediatric and adult clinics with triage and waiting areas for each.  By this point in the week, we were short one doctor and had one less interpreter with us, but our clinic flow was efficient enough that we ended up being able to see every patient who came to us that day.

Pediatric triage waiting line.

It was totally impossible not to want to bring some of these
babies home with me.
Some of the kids cried because it's never fun to be poked and prodded--
others screamed their heads off because I think they were terrified of the
white people (those ones were the hardest to calm down, obviously.)

Lots of the kids in this location were perfectly healthy, which was sort of
boring for us but really awesome to see-- I think many mothers just wanted
to take advantage of the fact that we were there to have a general checkup.

This cute little chubster is probably the fattest baby in all
of Haiti--and her mother brought her in because she was
concerned that she was losing weight.  :)

Me in the embroidered scrub top I bought from a lady in
Thomonde-- can't wait to wear it around Atlanta clinics!

Around Thomonde
I loved the small, simple houses in brightly painted color combinations on the streets near where we were staying, so on our last morning there, just before we packed up the 4x4s for the last time, I went for a stroll with a couple of friends to get some photos.  (And the lovely early morning "stroll" we were hoping for was actually closer to a trek through an outdoor sauna, which left us all drenched with sweat.)

Partners in Health
On our way to Port-au-Prince from Thomonde, we stopped in Cange to take a quick tour of Zanmi Lasante, the Partners in Health hospital started by Paul Farmer.  It is a really very impressive place--built up on the side of a small mountain, it is more like a small town, with multiple different buildings, clinics, labs, housing, walkways, small gardens and courtyards.  Almost the entire grounds are shaded by towering trees, and in between the concrete paths and stone retaining walls, there are lush bushes and flowering plants.  Compared to the surrounding area, it even felt cooler and breezier.

Groundskeeper who showed us around

Views from the very top of the hill

Group shot at the top with two of the interpreters and three of the docs

Stone walls, stairs and walkways everywhere

Beautiful tile work and benches tucked in quiet, shaded corners

The delivery ward

Clinic dedicated to Thomas White, whose contributions made PIH possible
Residential buildings for staff and art studio space

I have been so humbled and so thankful to have the love and support that so many of you have shown me through this amazing process.  You supported me financially, emotionally, physically, prayerfully, and I am grateful for each and every one of you.  This trip was such a welcome confirmation for me that I am following a calling.  The entire time I was there, despite the tough situations or the physical discomfort, I just felt so content.  One evening it struck me that this was exactly what I wanted to be doing and exactly where I wanted to be; there's not a single thing I can think of doing that would be more awesome to me or mean more to me.  It was exciting to realize that the long process I started almost four years ago has begun to pay off in ways that inspired me to start it in the first place.  I hope that I can carry that renewed sense of purpose forward with me as I start classes again in less than a week.

I tried to post a good selection of my favorite pictures here without going overboard, but if you want to see even more, all 393 pictures from the trip can be found in this Picasa album.

Also, if you haven't gotten a chance to read David Malebranche's wonderful stories from our week in Haiti, you can find them here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...