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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 2

HAITI | Monday, 16 October 2017 | Views [229]

Day 2~ town and hospital tour.


I really slept horribly. Every time I move my knee would cause a lot of pain and wake me up. I really hope I haven’t injured it severely. I awaked and look at the clock, 930am. I have slept 12 hours! I get up to the bathroom and notice Ali is awake too. I come out and wake the rest of the group up. We need to get ready for the tour.

I head out and the staff are busy doing things around the house. First thing on my agenda is coffee! I go to make the coffee and realize the coffee maker is no longer around and has broken. I ask where I can get coffee from and Cindy had made some cowgirl coffee. I pour a cup and use some of my powdered creamer. The coffee is weak in my opinion but I am a self-proclaimed coffee snob. I drink it anyways because I need it and I want it as well. Not much to choose from to make breakfast. Volunteers make their own breakfast and the staff make lunch and dinner. I decide on 2 pieces of toast with Haitian peanut butter and a banana. It’s not that filling but I don’t have much other options. I did bring some instant oatmeal from home though. I will save that for another day.

We all get ready for the day and I apply some oils. I plan on putting them on 2-3 times a day. Stecy lets us know that Kelby is not feeling well and won’t be coming until 3pm. So, Perrine, the in country clinical director, a brit who has quite the mouth on her, (I love it) tells us she is going to give us a tour of Ste. Therese hospital. It’s a government run hospital and only a 5-minute moto taxi ride away from the MFH house. She first wants to all meet together and have a conversation of what our job is while we are here. We will be precepting the students both in clinic, in the classroom and in the hospital. We will not be doing any patient care at all. I am completely bummed by this as I mostly wanted to care for patients down here and save some lives personally. But there is a need for the skilled birth attendant students and they will be saving lives for years to come. So, if I can help teach them then I can help with saving lives that way. Cindy has asked us if any of us would like to teach NRP, neonatal resuscitation program, to the students. I instantly agree because I love NRP and feel I do very well at it.  Cindy has set up a table and wants to show me how to do the assessments/teaching on the students. Pretty easy and very similar to how we are taught NRP back home.

After our meeting with the staff, we are given the official house tour. A lot of information about MFH is given to us and I find it all very interesting. After the tour, we are ready to go to the hospital. Our moto taxis have been called and are waiting for us. Kelby, an interpreter that I met last year, arrives and we have gather our money and bags and are ready to go. We go 3 per moto and head out of the security gate towards town. Our first stop is at the city center. I remember this place from the tour Kelby gave us last year. He gives us some history of the city and walks us across the street to a church built in the 1500’s. Once we are finished there we head to the market.

The market is a nasty place. It smells of rotting food and putrid meat. Rice, beans, fruits, vegetables and all parts of goat, chicken, pig and cow are available to purchase for consumption. I had a strange feeling last year when I walk through there and again I did this year. It feels like we are getting spells casted on us and it feels very ‘dark spirited’. Haitian’s practice a lot of voodooism and black magic. We stop because Winter would like to buy some house shoes and sees some sandals she wants. 10 Gourdes or 2-3 dollars. Not a bad price so she gives him $3. We ask Kelby what people are saying about us because we aren’t feeling very welcomed at all. He said they aren’t saying anything but we told him we didn’t believe him. I think he just wants to be polite.

Once we are done walking through the market there is a little girl sitting there and I have premade some bracelets to give to the little girls. She gives me a big smile when I walk by so I decide I’d like to give her a bracelet. She was very happy about and said thank you to me.  Walking around is difficult because there is garbage in different states of decay EVERYWHERE. There is no garbage pick-up in Haiti so it just gets thrown down to the ground. We go back to the awaiting moto’s and climb on. We stop at a little store and Kelby says we can go inside and purchase anything we would like.

I take a walk through and find some cookies. I also see some rum I had bought last trip to Haiti and remembered it being pretty good. Haitian honey is supposed to be yummy so I buy some of that as well. It all comes to about $20. That’s only because the rum is an expensive rum. But I don’t mind because I know it is good.

We are done with our tour now and head back to the house. We are supposed to go to the take hospital tour with Perrine. Lunch is ready, peeled whole potatoes, beans and rice and a meat/okra dish. Fresh squeezed passionfruit juice is available too and its amazingly delicious! Some like to add sugar but I think it tastes fine without.  Very good! After sometime we get the moto’s again and head to the hospital. Its only 5 minutes away. We get dropped off at the entrance and walk in. Perrine starts explaining what each building is used for and shows us a new prenatal and malnutrition clinic. It seems to be a slow start but is working alright at the moment. Perrine says the housekeeper for the hospital hasn’t been paid in 6 months! Wow, I can’t even imagine what that is like. She is very loyal because I would’ve quit a long time ago.

We walk through and check out the postnatal/postop, antenatal, and triage/labor and delivery areas. There has been a remodel since I was here last and now the labor room is much bigger but still not big enough. It reminds me of an assembly line. 5 exam table are lined up in a row and about 3 feet from each other. There is no privacy between them because the curtains have been wrapped up and placed overhead. An old, rusty, unlined, garbage can sits at the floor of the exam table to catch blood, amniotic fluid and any other wastes. The patients bring their own buckets to pee and poop into. The walls are freshly painted and is looks much cleaner in there than before. There is a hallway outside that laboring patients sit or lay in until there are able to go back to labor and delivery. There is a triage area with 2 private rooms to assess patients in but they are in the hallway. 2 seem to be actively labor, 1 appears to have her water broken. We ask Perrine why they are there and not in the labor room and she isn’t sure why.

We don’t stay long and head back to the house for the rest of the day.

We arrive back and dinner is ready. Lunch and dinner are made just about the same time so the cooks can leave for the day. Its left-over beans and rice from lunch, chicken and sild with pickled beets, avocados, tomatoes and some kind of green leafy vegetable. I’m again hesitant to eat the vegetables and ask again. I’m told again no one has gotten sick at the house and that they wash the vegetables a certain way to kill bacteria. So, I take a chance and go for it. Here goes nothing…. only thing to lose is my bowels and a lot of vomiting!

After dinner, we all sit around the table chatting over some rum and cokes. The house has a system where you can buy bottle coke or sprite for .25 each. We all chat about the issues within MFH and how they can be fixed or helped.  Slowly, the ladies start to head to bed and I know we have an early morning so I start to go to bed too. I want to blog and I need to put on my oils and take my malaria med.

I’m teaching NRP, neonatal resuscitation program, tomorrow. I very excited about doing this and I can’t wait to help teach the skilled birth attendant students all about life saving skills.

I stay up till 11:00pm blogging. I’m already behind because day 1 had so much involved and a lot to write about. But I’m tired and can’t blog anymore. So, I say goodnight to Haiti, put on my oils and set my alarm for 7am.

Tags: town and hospital tour

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