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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 9

HAITI | Thursday, 26 October 2017 | Views [239]

Day 9~ Road trip for everyone, kitties, rural hospital, picnic in a cockfighting ring, building a cactus fence and a night out at the Haitian disco

 

Sunday morning, a day to sleep in. But again, it doesn’t happen for me. Coffee and toast for breakfast. The goal is to leave at 10am but we all chuckle because we are on Perrine time and sometimes that can be like ‘island time’. She has a few things to do in the morning and we are ready to go around 11am.

We all climb into the jeep. The four of us, Sara, Perrine, Jodenel our driver, and his friend, Brandy, Cindy and Dan. We drive down the bumpy, rocky road for about an hour and arrive to a small, beautiful town called Maissade. We drive through it and stop at Jodenel’s sister house. She is a graduate from MFH. She has some 5-week-old kittens and Brandy wants one. They aren’t old enough yet to take but she has picked out the one she wants. We are all sitting around and chatting on the porch. It's disrespectful to stand so chairs are always offered when we arrive to a Haitian's home. I need to use the bathroom, so I was graciously offered the pee bucket.

Next stop is the local rural hospital to visit Jodenel’s sister, the midwife, and see the maternity unit. It’s a very small hospital and we are eager to see the inside of it. We follow Perrine in and the first room on the right is the labor and delivery room. They have what they need but it's very old and broken. The leg rests are made of steel and one of them has a crack in it right where the knee would rest. This could cause the skin to get pinched or cause a laceration. I know they are trying their best to have supplies for the patients they serve, and I know it’s better than nothing, but oh my goodness is it horrible to see. I ask permission to take a photo and they say it’s okay. I want a picture also of the algorithms. One woman is in labor and walks into the room. We know its time to go so we say our goodbye's.

We are done and it’s time to go to the park for the picnic. We drive down some side streets and end up at the open field with trees and many different animals. Pigs, piglets, cows, horses, donkeys, sheep and goats. The road leads to an open ring that is a cock fighting ring. Cock fighting is a common here. In fact, many people walk around carrying their chickens like a pet. We all climb out of the jeep and the various snacks we brought for the picnic are unpacked. I have a ready-made meal with salami, cheese, crackers, trail mix and chocolate wafers. I walk away from the ring as I don’t want to eat near it, it’s a place of death. They are eating bread, PB, avocado and brownies.

Megan and Ali come over to me and we chat for a moment. Dan has brought some fun toys that shoot into the air and helicopter down to the ground. By now, as always, we have a ground surrounding us. I mean we kind of stick out. Why is this group of white people here in the middle of nowhere in our park? Lol.

We play with the children for a while and they are very aggressive about asking for a dollar and food. We give them some brownies and cut a couple banana muffins in half and give them out. Now we have a few adults around too. We give them some of the baked good and one of the kids doesn’t like it and drops it to the ground. They aren’t used to the rich, sweet treat. I see a boy who has a Seattle t-shirt on and I know its destiny, its meant to be that I give him the one Hot wheels car that I have brought with me. I give him the car and we take a photo together. There are some boys hanging around and we start to pack up to leave. They keep holding their hands out asking for food. I give them some, but they still want more. I end up giving away most of the remainder of snacks I have brought for everyone. I know these boys are hungry, so I really don’t mind. I have plenty of food back at the house and I won’t even miss that food that I am giving away.

We get back into the jeep and we head out to Jodenol’s property. We will be building him a fence. We have 2 shovels and another yard tool to use between all of us. We drive around, past rice fields and beautiful homes and scenery. The property we arrive at is small. We get out of the car and make a plan. There is a lot of talk about how we will make it a straight line. I think it’s silly, but that’s okay. We start digging. They soil is so rich, almost black, with a lot of smooth stones and clay like. Most of us take turns digging and some wait in the car. Over the course of 20 mins or so, a huge crowd of locals gather around us. I’m sure they are all criticizing how we are digging and one offers help but wants to be paid and we won’t pay him.

I break one of my flip flips while I’m digging but no big deal because Perrine gives me hers and when we trade turns digging, we trade a shoe too. I ended up leaving my shoes behind for someone. I figure they can figure out a way to fix it and make it useful.

Finally, the trench has been dug and we are ready to harvest the cactus and place into the trench. Pieces are cut off a neighboring fence and carefully carried over and placed in the trench. We lightly place the soil around it and then pack it in. That’s it. The cactus is very robust and will easy settle into its new home and grow. It takes us about an hour, but we are finished, and it looks wonderful. The kids have been bugging the ones in the car for money and are frustrated and ready to leave. We pack up the gardening tools and head into the jeep. Brandy gives the kids some lifesaver’s. It’s quite a big fight to get to them, pushing and shoving kids out of the way. But she is a sweetheart and gives the whole bag away.

On the ride home, we stop and buy a few bags of water. It just a bag. To drink it you bite the corner and suck it out. I don’t need one because I packed my bottle water but also froze a bottle of water the night before and have been drinking that. The rest of the ride home is bumpy but beautiful. Hinche is in the Central Plateau and is surrounded by mountains, literally. There is one point where the view is astounding, and I ask to stop so we can take a group photo. We stop and get out of the car.  I have no shoes since I left them behind and as luck would have it, I step on a 3-inch thorn. Ali instantly helps me, and I lean on her while she pulls it out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t all come out at once and the tip is left in my foot. Geez, now my foot too? I also realize I have a blister on my hand from digging. I have all these issues with my body. My knee, which is feeling much better and the swelling has gone way down, my rash on my foot, an achy hip joint, a thorn in my foot and a blister on my hand. I mean really in the scheme of things it’s not that bad but it’s kind of funny when you think about it.

While we are stopped for the picture, a man drives buy on his moto with a coffin on the back. Crazy sight. I don’t think there was a body in it, but you never know.

We have to cross 3 or 4 rivers/streams to get home. One of them Jodenel had to place the car into 4-wheel drive. Always a fun adventure while driving in Haiti

We arrive home, and lunch is waiting for us. I am a little hungry, so I grab a small plate. A tasty beet salad, Haitian rice and a meat dish. Haitian rice has a kind of rotting smell when you stick your nose close to it, but it tastes okay. I love the Haitian food and they have been taking serious steps to ensure that no one gets sick. Washing and rinsing, using citrus juices to kill bacteria, buying from a known source. All help to ensure they are serving us safe food. I can’t help to get worried every time we eat though.

There is down time and we are sit around talking to each other and the house staff, chatting with family and friends from home or resting. The plan is to go out to the disco after dinner for the evening. Something we have been looking forward to all week. A moment to act silly and be amongst the Haitians. Dinner was empanada like pastry filled with cabbage, a little meat and some other things. I like it, but it has a lot of crust and not much filling. Once we are done eating we all try to figure out what we are wearing. Everyone but Winter didn’t bring anything to go out in. But, we are in Haiti, so it doesn’t really matter what we wear. I just put on shorts and a tank top and that works fine. I do a little makeup, just a little and keep my hair the way it’s been all day. As usual, we need to wait for Perrine to get some things done before we can leave. That girl is SO busy all the time, I’m not sure how she does it all. She is really an amazing person and I feel lucky to have met her.

Perrine is back from caring for a couple patients and it’s time to go. Megan decides to stay behind and recharge. We are sad she isn’t coming but understand. We climb into the jeep and 3 of the security/moto taxi drivers come with us. Not only are they our security but they want to go out for the night too. Perrine drives, and I ride shot gun with Ali. Zenith bar/disco is down town and when you walk into it, it’s an open-air club with trees and dance floor. It’s completely dark except for a string of lights here and there and the bar has a light. I’m thinking oh this will be interesting, no lights to see anything. We ask, and they say the city is out of power, so they are running on generator power and that’s why the lights are off. There is one light on the dance floor that they can turn on if they want to for a few moments.

Perrine goes to the bar for me and I order for a few of us: 4 beers, a rum and coke and another coke. It's less than $5! I was shocked. A beer alone back home is $5. I’ll gladly buy this round of beverages. Once we have our drinks we snap some photos but it’s hard to take them cuz the flash is so bright. It’s comical trying to get a good picture but we finally get one and we decide it’s the favorite picture of the week. The gentlemen don’t waste any time and ask us to dance. They are playing Haiti musicm konpa, and are pretty good dancers. I place my hand on his shoulder and they are so strong. These men work so hard and it can be seen in their physiques. None of them are inappropriate with me but I heard from some of the other girls they were trying to grind on them. HA, those poor girls lol.

We only stay about an hour, it’s a work night and it’s time to go. Some of us don’t want to, but when the boss says it’s time to go, it’s time to go. I have to quickly finish my rum and coke and that rum is so strong it burns my throat.

On the way home, the everyday thunderstorm comes through. Lightening and rain start happening and I jokily tell Ali to get away from me. This girl has been struck by lightening TWICE already, crazy! So, every time the lightening starts (it literally started thundering right now as I’m typing this!!) I tell Ali to get away, so I too, don’t get struck by lightning. We drop off one of the guards near his house and continue back to our house. We get in and hang around for a while. What a fun time, short but sweet. It’s time to go to bed though because we all work tomorrow. I am going to the hospital and have already packed both my bag and my fanny pack.

 

Malarone, oils but no blogging tonight. I’m tired. Good night, Haiti!

 

Tags: building a cactus fence and a night out, kitties, picnic in a cockfighting ring, road trip for everyone, rural hospital

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