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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 12

HAITI | Thursday, 26 October 2017 | Views [150]

Day 12~Giant Papaya’s, fundraising for a moto, mobile clinic, home visits, caught in a rain storm and dance lessons.


I wake up and step out of bed. Instantly, I feel my right calf is sore. Those dance lessons have me hurting lol. I walk out to the kitchen and on the table, are 4 HUGE papayas, each about the size of my head. I ask where they come from and Ali said Toro, our security guard, had carried them for 2 hours to the house for all of us. I tried to picture carrying all of those. Is it even possible? We are so grateful for the thoughtful gift. I later find out that he had place two in his backpack and carried the other two, but still! He walks 2 hours every day to work and 2 hours home, 4 hours in total of walking per day. There is talk between all of us how much easier it would be for Toro to have a moto and a mention of getting him one. But, it was just talk…at the time.

Winter and I are headed to mobile clinic today. We are ready and head outside to wait for the midwives. They have to pack up the supplies and grab the charts for the specific region we are going to. It’s time to leave and we climb in. At first, it’s just a few of us, but we stop and pick up translators and midwifes along the way. We also have 2 students with us too. Before long, there are 12 people in the jeep plus all the gear. There isn’t much room to move at all and the ride is slightly uncomfortable. We drive through town and to the outskirts of Hinche. We make a left turn onto an even more rocky, bumpy road. The road slowly turns into a walking path and at times it’s been washed away by the daily downpour of rain. This makes the ride and drive difficult for Ronel to navigate. But he is good at driving in these conditions and doesn’t even need to put it into 4-wheel drive. The ride made me reminisce of the days I would go 4 wheeling when I was a child. I miss it and didn’t realize till I was doing it again.

After about an hour, we arrive to the mobile site. Just a shack will some benches to sit on outside. That’s really all they need for what they are doing. There is a school next door and class is about to start. A few women are waiting our arrival and by the end of the day we saw about 35 women and about 4 babies. The clinic starts out with doing teaching to the patients. The basic stuff like: warning signs, when to go to the hospital, nutrition etc. Then woman’s charts are pulled. After that, Winter and I get busy doing vital signs on all of them. Most of them were tachycardic and a couple had severely high blood pressure. I’m sure some walked 2 hours to get there, so we repeat the blood pressures and if they are elevated give them the appropriate medications.

Next was doing fundal height checks and listen to fetal heart tones. Every single woman that I checked had an extremely small fundal height. If she was 27 weeks, she measured 22, if she was 18 weeks, she measured 12. I was having a difficult time believing the tape measure and I asked if it was correct. I didn’t want to believe it at all. But ,I kept checking because the midwife said it was right. These women suffer from lack of food and nutrition and so most babies have IUGR.  Behind a make shift divider, woman are getting pelvic exams and testing for STI’s. If a woman was term she was given a matron kit to take home if case she goes into labor and can’t make it to the hospital.

Towards the end of the clinic, when we had just a few women left, I gave each of them a gift. I had taken some makeup bags I had receive from Ipsy and placed 2 each of shampoo, conditioner and bars of soap. I had saved them from hotel trips and a coworker also gave me some as well. They also had a granola bar, and a few had a tank top in it. Once we have seen everyone and they have started their walk home, we start to clean up and pack up everything. It's slowly placed either in the jeep or on top in the luggage rack. We all climb in and make the trek home. We get home a lot faster than getting there, less than 45 mins. On the way, we drop people off and get back to the house just in time for lunch. Pasta salad, chicken drumstick, avocado slice and of course beans and rice. Again, another delicious meal.

After lunch Winter and I get ready to go to home visits. I grab the backpack full of supplies and our moto is waiting and its Pleasure our driver and interpreter. We hop on the bike and head out. After some calling and searching, we find the woman’s house. She has a little boy and he is very leery of me, he has never seen a white person before. I give him a car to play with, but he remained scared of me. The woman was very sweet, and we assessed her and her baby. Both are doing well so we won’t need to come back to see her again.

I give some bracelets to some of the girls waiting outside, as usual we draw a crowd. Pleasure calls the next patient and we head off to her house. Oh boy was it a trek to get to her. After we drove through town, we pulled off a side trail and a woman is waiting there for us to guide us to the patient’s house. I can’t even describe what it was like to get there. Rocky hills, up and down many times, deep mud and carved out crevices from the rain water. We needed to stop many times and wait for the woman on foot to catch up to us. At one point, another woman was waiting for us and we walk with her for a while. Then we came to a point that the moto couldn’t continue. Too much deep mud, rocks and crevices. We parked the moto at a house and started walking. Down a steep hill and into a jungle like environment. I record our walk because I want people to see what the woman walked in while she was in labor to the hospital. When I stop and think about what woman in labor or just in pregnancy do to obtain medical care, it makes me so angry how some woman in the US are so picky and ask for so much. Where here they walk hours for medical care that some in the US decline and don’t want because they have read some bogus article that is very biased. Ugh, don’t get started Jess.

Finally, we arrive to the woman’s house and we are greeted nicely. The baby is a day old and mom and baby are resting in the steaming, humid home. I don’t understand why they stay in their houses. It is always so hot and humid inside them. We introduce ourselves and get permission to look over baby and mom. She says she hasn’t been able to breastfeed, so the pediatrician has recommended formula. We educated her that although it is okay to temporarily use formula, she really needs to keep trying to breastfeed until both her and the baby pick up on it. This is her first baby, so she doesn’t have any experience. Both her and baby are doing well all around, she just has pain in her vagina from her laceration. I take a look at her vagina and it looks normal and I teach her how to properly care for herself down there.

While there, we really wanted to see and help get the baby to latch on. The baby was sleepy, so we undressed it. Then I tried all my tricks to get the baby to latch. It was difficult, and we were running out of time. We can hear a storm coming and its getting closer and closer. Pleasure is urging us to hurry. I do really, really, good breastfeeding teaching and I was finally able to get the baby to latch on. We really have to go, so we quickly grab our things and say goodbye. Back up the rocky, muddy path to the moto. We jump on and Pleasure scrambles to get us out of there. A drop here and a drop there. The rain is starting. I look to the sky to the left and it is dark and ugly. The storm is almost to us. Pleasure is in a big hurry and starts headed down a hill with a deep crevice. The front tire goes in it and he loses control of the moto. Luckily, he breaks, and we come to a stop before we tumble over. No one is hurt but it’s a scary moment. Winter and I jump off and walk down the hill. Jump back on and we go up and down some more hills and through a stream. Back to the main road and Pleasure is able to finally really get going. The Haitian people are going crazy. Quickly packing up their things there are selling, jumping on honking moto’s, scrambling left and right. Winter relates it to a real-life game of Frogger. I start recording a video and the skies open up. The rain and wind are intense. Lightening and thunder erupt from above. I start to get nervous because the roads are wet and slick, and we are flying down the road with no helmet. Pleasure safely delivers us to the house and we run for the door taking our shoes off at the entrance. I go inside and change my clothes while laughing again about getting caught in a storm.

Dinner is ready, tuna casserole. I find out most the people in the house don’t like it. It isn’t the best but I’m hungry enough to eat it. I offer some of the food I brought from home to Cindy who doesn’t like the casserole, but she declines. After dinner, we help clean up and make ice. We have some down time and we are hanging out when the decision is made to start a GoFundMe account for Toro to get a moto. Megan did a wonderful job starting it and getting it going. We all donated and by the end of the night the campaign was doing so well that we needed to come up with a plan on how it was going to get purchased. We talked to some of the house staff about it and told them to go ahead and start the buying process because the campaign was going so well. We felt it would meet its goal by morning. Thank you to everyone who donated!!

Soon its 8pm and time for our dance lessons. We clear out the front room and make space or all of us to dance. This time we decide our dance lesson will be Konpa, a Haitian type of dance that’s very easy. We learn it quickly and dance and laugh. After we mastered Konpa, we work on our salsa lesson. My right calf starts hurting again! I don’t know what I’m doing that is making it happen, but, it’s happening lol. Every girl gets a chance to dance with one the dance instructors, so we can learn the dance with a male. I am doing better because I practiced on and off all day. But once I start dancing with him, and the rhythm is faster, I lose my step and mess up. I will keep practicing to get it down! An hour goes quickly, and the lesson is over. The negotiated amount of $5 per person is paid and the instructors leave.

I’m tired and so are the others. I gather my things for tomorrow and get myself organized. I get ready for bed, blog, oils and antimalaria meds.

Goodnight, Haiti!!



Tags: caught in a rain storm and dance lessons, fundraising for a moto, giant papaya’s, home visits, mobile clinic

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