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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 | Thursday, 26 October 2017 | Views [145]

Day 11~ Hospital, salsa lessons, lightning storm, Direct Relief boxes, family style dinner.


Another typical morning and I wake up to my girls getting up. I get up and head out to coffee. I really don’t want to talk to anyone until half of my coffee is down. I don’t feel like eating breakfast again, but I have snacks already packed in my bag for when I get hungry. We are anticipating a busy day at the hospital. I’m ready and willing to jump in there and bust my butt so woman can have safe care. From what I’ve seen, most of the care is good but there is a lot of room for improvement.

I’m ready around 8am and head outside. We are all going to the hospital and Cindy is headed into town for some groceries at the street market. So, she drives us and drops us off. We head into the hospital and set our things down in the midwife room. There’s talk about going to the ICU and checking in on our patient but Isabelle, my interpreter, asks for me to come into the maternity ward with her. There are 2 patients in there. One of them just delivered and the other was ‘finger tight’ a couple hours ago.  I stay and get a sense of what is happening in the unit.

It doesn’t take long before the woman that’s ‘finger tight’ starts acting more vocal. I look over and she is pushing. She isn’t being very loud, just making some noises. The midwife asks for me to check her, 9.5cm. We listen to the baby’s heart rate and it is doing the typical dips during a contraction. This is common and okay as long as it doesn’t stay down and doesn’t go down too far. The midwife starts an IV on her and sets up for the delivery. Soon, the baby is crowning, and she puts on her gloves and delivers the baby. She places the baby on the Mom's belly and I dry and stimulate it. It doesn’t need much and starts crying and breathing well. After a few minutes, I take the baby over and complete an assessment, weight and measurements, and administer the medications erythromycin and vitamin K. I place a diaper on the baby and tight the cord off twice with sterilized simple string. I dress the baby and bring him to an awaiting relative outside. No one is allowed in the maternity unit with the patients in labor and they all have to wait outside. The room is too small to accommodate more people, but I don’t know if that is the reason why that rule is in place.

The midwife assesses the lady’s vagina and she has a second-degree laceration. She asks me if I want to repair it. I think it’s because another woman has just walked in and needs to be assessed. I tell her I’m not able to repair it because I don’t know how to and it’s not in my scope of practice. It takes the midwife over an hour to repair it. It wasn’t even really that bad. I’m pretty sure back home it would’ve been done in 15 minutes by our providers. I feel bad for her. But, it finally is done. She changes her clothes and places on clean underwear and a cloth for a pad. The midwife helps her up, grabs her IV bag and she is walked to postpartum.

There is nothing happening in the maternity unit, so we head off to find something to do.  There isn’t much happening. Slowly, the rest of the girls make their way back to the maternity unit after they have done some assessments on patients. I tell them that the one lady in labor has delivered. Nothing else is happening and we decide to call it a day. We tell the interpreters and we grab our things. The motos are waiting outside for us and we hop on one. A short trip home and when the gate is opened we see the house staff dancing with 2 Haitian men. We thought at first they were just having fun but then I jokingly said, ‘are these your dance instructors?’ and they said YES! Ha-ha, these men were here to offer a trial dance lesson. They were learning a Haitian dance called Konpa, this is the Kreyol spelling and Compas is the French spelling. It looks like fun and their session is just about finished. The instructors are great dancers and I find out that one of the was at the Disco the night we went. I actually had taken a video of him dancing with a lady because they were so good. I show him the video and we laugh.

Now it’s our turn for a free lesson. They ask what kind of dance we would like to learn and start to list a handful of dances. We all decide salsa and I’m quite happy about that. Niles and I have always wanted to take salsa lessons, but we don’t have the time and its spendy.  They start out by teaching us the basic step with our feet. It’s easy for most and I can do it as long as we are doing it slow. The moment we speed up or I’m dancing with a partner, I mess up. We all laugh at how hard of a time I’m having. One of the instructors takes me aside and does a one on one with me. It helps quite a lot. My right calf muscle is really sore from making the movement. I’m not sure why but it is lol. The next move is pretty easy to go into but coming out of it is hard for all. After about 30-45 mins of the lesson we are done.  House staff and the instructors are going to negotiate an amount for the lessons to continue. At first, they wanted $8 per person but when we added that up between all the people getting the lesson, its A LOT of money in Haiti. It’s about $32 an hour per instructor. We left the negotiating to them but told them we would be interested in another lesson.

Lunch is ready! Haitian rice, chicken drumstick and salad. There’s always a sauce served with it and the sauce is yummy over the rice. Fresh squeezed passionfruit juice to go with it. After lunch, we decide to do the procrastinated Medical Relief Midwife boxes. There have been 32 large boxes donated and we need to go through them and inventory them. One by one, we haul the big boxes into the main big room of the house. We open them and start to take things out. After the first 2 boxes, we realize that there are just 2 different types of boxes. They contain just about everything you may need for a delivery and for emergencies, high blood pressure, hemorrhage etc. A list is made of the items in the box, boxes are labeled and then cared back to the storage area.

Perrine, Ali, Megan and I decided to go for a walk. It’s a nice afternoon and I want to get out of the house. We walk the route we have taken before. The boys from across the street walk with us a small way. The sky is half grey and half blue with clouds. When we get to the top of the hill a group of boys throw a small bird at us. Perrine scoops it up and for over 5 minutes the boy begs for it back. But she is not going to give it to him. She scolds him for treating animals that way and even threatens to go tell his mother. Eventually, he gives up and leaves us alone. Many times, when we are walking we are asked by children ‘Gimme a dollar.’ But there isn’t much asking involved, it’s more of a demand. We always tell them no. At the very top of the hill, I stop to take a picture of the rain falling in the distance. Megan mentions we are going to get poured on. Not less than two minutes later, the strangest thing happened. A fast-moving wall of rain comes our way. Then suddenly, all the animals and Haitians start running. We laugh at it but in hindsight it should’ve been a warning sign to us. If they are running, us white people probably need to be running too. The rain starts coming down hard and we take cover under a tree. A few kids join us under there. Haitians are closing their doors to their homes, taking outside chairs in and running everywhere. The rain and wind pick up, faster and faster. I start to record a video and we get very cold from the wind and rain. I cuddle up with the girls to try to stay warm. We finally decide to make a run for home. We aren’t staying dry at all under the tree so might as well head for home. Crack!! Lightning and thunder are above us. A rain storm like this happens just about every afternoon. Ali has told us she has been struck by lightning before, TWICE and we joke about how it could happen again. There are rivers of water forming everywhere and I joke and say a flash flood is coming over the hill. Just then a bolt of lightening cracks with such force and extreme noise I swear it was right next to us. If I were to put a distance on it, I would say 50 yards away. We all scream and scatter. Now I know why the Haitians and animals were running. My left arm is instantly numb. I’m not sure why, anxiety, electrical field? We all stay away from Ali, we are too afraid to be next to her. Megan is truly scared, Perrine is laughing at us, Ali is hunched over walking, so she isn’t the tallest one and I’m freaked out a little bit myself. What a scary experience. We hurry home and make it back absolutely soaked. I take my shoes off at the door and go into my room to change my clothes. Winter is in the room and I tell her what happened. She said she was worried about us because the storm was so bad. But we are glad we are home and safe.

I change my clothes and head out to the kitchen. Dinner is just about ready. Cindy has worked long and hard most of the day to prepare us a wonderful meal. Focaccia bread and spaghetti. Perrine has made an orange cake for dessert. The table is set and we all help get everything on the table. I make an olive oil, rosemary dip for the bread and others place the food on the table. Most of us take a warm piece of bread and take a bite while Megan dishes us all up. Oh my God the taste buds go crazy. This bread is phenomenal. We all oooo and ahhh over the bread and some have 2nds and 3rds of it. We have like 12 or 14 people sitting at the table. All the house staff including the security are included. It’s a wonderful meal and we are thank Cindy profusely! While still at the table, the cake is cut and served. It is also nummy!

The girls and I help to clean up the dishes and put the food away. It’s an easy task since there is 4 of us. Once it is completed, we rest for a while and then slowly head to our room to retire for the night. Oils, blogging and antimalarial meds have been taken and then I call it a night Good night Haiti!


Tags: direct relief boxes, family style dinner, hospital, lightning storm, salsa lessons

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