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Haiti-My first Medical Mission I'm helping Midwives for Haiti to educate skilled birth attendants. Haiti has the highest mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere. Here is where I will write daily journals of my adventure.

Day 11

HAITI | Saturday, 19 November 2016 | Views [271]

Day 11- A moto trip to ‘Little Clinic’ and buying Haitian souvenirs


The alarm wakes me up and I slowly get up. I go out to the dining room and pour some coffee. I make a couple of pieces of toast and eat. I get ready for the day by getting my scrubs on and packing my fanny pack and bag. I make sure to have enough gloves and alcohol wipes. I put my stethoscope in my bag as well as granola bars and nuts. I fill my water bottle with bottled water. Keldy arrives to the house and will be Donna and I’s interpreter for the day. The two midwives arrive as well as our 3 mototaxis. Donna and I each get our own moto and I am happy about that. The two midwives ride on another. I grab my bag and get on the moto with Keldy. We leave the house and drive through downtown Hinche. Lots of people looking at me, is it something that catches them off guard I am sure. There isn’t caucasian people down here. I have seen a handful but they are also on medical missions. We stop and have the air in the back tire inflated and we head out of Hinche. We ride for about 45 minutes into the countryside. The view is so beautiful. There are mountains in the distance and rolling hills of grass, bushes, trees and houses. I start to count the amount of women pregnant as it seems like almost everyone is pregnant. But by the time I think about counting, we are too far out of the city and there isn’t many people around. When I did count, It was about 1 in 10. I feel like that number is low, but it is what I counted. We arrived to a small village and rode up a step rocking trail. At the top, a small open shack is there and it is our mobile clinic site. There is one pregnant woman waiting. Through word of mouth, women know to come to the mobile clinic on certain days. Some walk for hours to get there. There is a twin size bed frame with a  mattress, bench seats and a table. A red curtain hangs over the door way for patient privacy. We unpack the supplies we brought. Prenatal vitamins, iron, assorted antibiotics and antihypertensives, nystantin, tums and tylenol to name a few. Automatic blood pressure machine, alcohol wipes, gloves, HIV, syphilis and pregnancy tests. Depo provera, hand sanitizer, needles and syringes, patient charts and thermometers. The charts are divided up in black rubbermade boxes and separated by village. So in the morning before the midwives leave for the mobile clinic, they just grab the box with the name of the village they are going to. While we are setting up, a small baby goat comes into the clinic. It doesn’t look healthy at all. It goes under the table and lays down. It stays there for the rest of the clinic. We all get a good laugh out of it.

One by one women arrive, but not very many. Maybe 10 total. A couple ladies with their babies, 3 for family planning and one elder lady who wants her blood pressure checked. It is normal. We refer her to her doctor or the hospital. She says she has been fatigued alot lately and thought maybe it was her blood pressure.

We do the usual. Vital signs on all. Listen to fetal heart beats, leopold’s, fundal height, education and give medications and prenatal vitamins. It doesn’t take very long and we are finished. We sit around and I show the midwives and Keldy some pictures on my phone. One of them was a photo of the redwood forest trees. They couldn’t believe how big they were. Donna and I show pictures of our kids. I offer everyone a granola bar and we have a snack. We sit around waiting for patients and one of the midwives lays down to snooze. About 30 minutes later, one of the mototaxis arrives back and it is time for Donna and I to go. The midwives have another mototaxi coming and will be picked up later.

We drive back to Hinche. On the way, school has been let out. I am not sure why, but different schools and different grades have different color uniforms. So many varieties of colors. Girls wear tucked in button up shirts with a knee length skirt and usually knee high socks. The boys wear tucked in button up shirts and slacks. The girls all have matching hair clips. It is quite the site to see all these children of different ages walking home from school. I bet some of them walk at least 2 hours each way. My kids complain when they have to walk two blocks. Oh how things are going to change with how I raise my kids when I get home.

We get back to the house and I change out of my hot, sweaty scrubs. One by one all the girls arrive back to the house from various place. Soon we eat lunch. Passionfruit punch, rice and a meat dish with sauce. We eat and we are told by one of the interpreters, Pleasure (his nick name which is close to his last name), that he has a friend who sells Haitian souvenirs and he will bring us to her if we are interested. On Thursdays, some local people come to the MFH house and sell art. But I want to go see what this lady has and possibly buy some things. Joanne calls back some mototaxis to the house.  Emily, Sheila, Tiffany, Shani and I all get on the motos and head to the lady’s house. About 15 minutes later we arrive. She has some skirts that she had made for Sheila as well as some other goods she had bought. We tell her we are interested in looking at her things but it is all at the market. We decide we will just go there and right when we were about to leave, the lady said to stay, that they were coming with the stuff to her house. We stand around outside her gate and slowly a crowd gathers. What are all these white people doing here? They call us ‘blan’. Or white. Naked kids are walking by with their parents or siblings, The people that are fetching water are stopping. Twice men walk by with cattle. The second time one came by, the bull was walking behind a cow. He starts to getting excited and tries to get a wee bit too close. The cow walks faster and gets away from him but not before I saw something I never will be able to erase from my memory. Us girls get a chuckle out of it!


Before long, the stuff arrives. The lady lays it all out for us to see. We shop and make deals. I buy a couple things. Soon, 2 more vendors arrive. Word spreads fast around here. I don’t know if the lady who lives there called them or what, but they walk into her yard and start to lay their things out for us to look at. I see a couple more things and purchase them after making a deal. The other girls get some things as well. We are done and head back to the house. When we get there, we realize that we forgot to buy something for One Nurse at a Time. This is the organization that we went through to come to Haiti. They ask that we purchase something to donate in their annual fundraiser auction. We know that more vendors will be coming to the house on Thursday and we all agree to remind each other not to forget to get something for the auction.

When dinner is ready we go into the kitchen. They let us know lunch is ready by ringing a bell. Its a simple dinner and it has a side of popcorn.  Yum. What a nice treat. We go across the street and each buy a beer. Then we sit around and chat for a while.  Before long, one by one everyone goes to bed. Nightly routine, malarone, essential oils, and pajamas. Shani and I are always the last ones to go to sleep. We sit on our beds on the computers or phones. Tomorrow is another day at the hospital. After my last day there, I wanted a good night sleep. So eventually I put the electronics away and close my eyes. Fan blowing on me, net covering my bed.

Every night we wake up to the MFH house cat, Idamae. She is probably the most vocal cat I have ever met. She likes to come in our room at night and meow loudly, over and over with no break in between, until we pull her into one of our beds to sleep with us. Most would say, well just shut the door so she can’t come in. Well we tried that one night and the room was so hot, stuffy and humid it made it hard to sleep. We would rather wake up to the meowing. MFH security keeps the doors open so air can get in the house and cool down it down. There isn’t air conditioning. There are 2 ‘gates’ or doors that look like prison bars and they can be locked. So air comes in but people can not. 

Tags: cows, haitian treasures, little clinic

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