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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 13

HAITI | Thursday, 26 October 2017 | Views [192]

Day 13~ Last clinical day at the hospital, buying souvenirs, orphanage


Time to get up and drink some coffee. I eat some toast and a banana and let the coffee wake me up. I have my bag packed already and it doesn’t take long for me to be ready. I go outside and walk out the gate to the awaiting locals with goods to sell. This time there are only 3 people, last week there was a lot more.

I walk around and look at what everyone has. I want to see everything before I commit to buying anything. I like to seek out unusual things. I have bought my items for One Nurse At A Time last week. The organization asks for its volunteers to buy one thing to bring back for their fundraiser/silent action. This time I’m looking for a cloth for Donna. I find it quickly and purchase it. I then want to buy some small things for the auction as well and then get some things for myself too. I buy a handful of things and then bring them back inside to pack. I set them on the bed because it’s time to go to the hospital.

Winter and I head out and arrive to the hospital. We walk to the maternity unit and it is empty. No patients. So, I set my stuff down and we walk to the postpartum area. Once there, Isabelle determines what patients the midwives want me to see. I assess both a mom and baby and help that baby to breastfeed. They are both doing well and getting ready to be discharged home. The stay after a vaginal delivery is 6 hours. Most stay a lot longer though. There is no one else for me to see so we go and check antepartum. There is a woman in there who is getting a lot of attention. I ask what is going on and Isabelle finds out the woman is 27 weeks with a bleeding placenta previa. They are giving her steroids to help with the baby’s lungs if she needs to be delivered now. I tell them if she isn’t actively bleeding, the delivery can wait, and she can be closely observed. There isn’t anything I can do at this time, so we head back to the maternity unit.

When we get back, I’m hoping that a woman that I saw walking with a dry IV bag, is in the unit in labor. Instead, she is sitting down, IV out, with her bag, waiting for her ride home. So, no one is in labor. Geez, I really want to take care of a patient and there are no students today. They are officially done, and tomorrow is their last classroom day. The students have been taking care of the patients at the hospital and since they aren’t there, I can solely care for them and I really want to do that. Since there are no patients, I start to work on making cord ties. They don’t use cord clamps, probably because it cost more than simple string. I cut segments about 5 inches long, wind them around my finger, slide it off and place it into a scratch piece of paper. In this instance, I was using saved outer paper packaging of sterile gloves. I probably make at least a hundred of them over the course of 30 minutes or so. I’m pretty bored and there are still no patients. After I am done with that, I make gauze squares. Yes, you read that right. For those of you who are in the medical profession, you know that gauze comes in different sizes, sterile, wrapped in paper packaging. For Haiti, they are large sheets about 10in wide by 12in long. One ply layer. They need to be folded in thirds both width and length. I probably did a few hundred squares over 30 minutes of more. It’s also a very boring task. Once I’ve had my fill of folding, I give the gauze and cord ties to the midwife and she takes them to sterilized in the autoclave machine they have. After they are sterilized, they are treated like a sterile item…sort of, lol.

I tried to stay as long as I could as I knew that this was going to be the last time doing clinical work in Haiti. But, at 1230 and being there 4 hours, there still are no patients and Winter and I were very bored. We call it a day early and let our interpreters know that they can go home.

We grab our bag, take out all the medical supplies in it and leave them at the hospital. We don’t need them anymore and I’m not bringing them back home. We walk out to our awaiting moto, climb on and go back to the house. I change out of my hot, sweaty scrubs and get some shorts on. Before long, lunch is ready. Okra and a few pieces of beef and of course beans and rice. I really like how they prepare okra down here. I usually add some hot sauce to my meals. I really like things spicy.

Winter and I are scheduled to go to the girl’s orphanage at 3pm. I grab all my bracelets, comb, brush and hair ties. When Megan and Ali went a couple days ago, the girls braided their hair and I wanted to have stuff available to do that if they wanted. Winter grabbed her Oreos she had bought and wanted to give them to the girls. I have never been there before so I’m not sure what to expect.

We climb onto the moto and drive through town. The orphanage is pretty large and surrounded by tall walls with barb-wire on top. We walk in and aren’t really sure where to go. There are groups of girls doing various things. We walk around, and no one comes up to us. Not sure what to do, we walk into a small building and decided we will give the Oreos out there. Winter opens the package and holds them out for the girls to take some. At first, it was slow. But the crowd quickly grew and became fierce. The ages of the girls got older and at one point an older girl comes and takes the bag away and is being very rude and mean to the little girls. In fact, some of the older girls take cookies from the little girls. Of course, this make them cry. I feel so bad for them but there isn’t much we can do about it. This is a way of life for these girls. I wish I could contact Oreo and have a huge shipment shipped to them.

After the cookies are gone, we walk out to the open area and sit down to play with the girls. There are 89 girls and only ONE adult. Some of the girls are 18 and they help but still that is a lot of responsibility for one person. I take out my brush and comb and give it to one of the girls who is playing with my hair. Winter sits down too, and a group of girls surround her and a separate group surrounds me. They are picking through my hair and it feels like they are monkeys and digging for bugs. After a few minutes of the picking and parting of my hair, I ask Winter what the girls are doing with my hair. She says she thinks they are trying to decide what they are going to do with it. Finally, I feel the tight tugging of them braiding my hair. On one side of my head ,a girl is holding my hair to the side. On the other side of my head, a girl is braiding cornrows. My eyes start to water because she is pulling so tightly. Before long, she is finished, and I have 5 rows. I had brought some hair ties for her to use on the braids. I had NO idea how much a hot commodity that would be! These girls were fighting over them. If I would’ve known how much the girls like and needed them I would have brought all the other ones I had too. Time is quickly going and our ride would be arriving soon. I started handing out the hair ties and once those were gone, I started to hand out my bracelets. I purposely seek out the youngest girls and forcefully place a bracelet in their hands. The amount of hands out reaching is intense and that is why I am grabbing their hands and forcefully placing the bracelet in them. Winter tells me our ride is here and I pour the bracelets out on the ground and let the girls fight over them. I then seek out the girl who did my hair and give her a baggie full of lemonheads. I tell her to share with the other girls. She speaks some English and I hope she understood me. But more importantly, I hope she actually shares.

We ride back to the house and it is time to surprise Toro with his moto. It has been purchased and the plan is to ride it out to his house with everyone on moto’s. We all get on the moto’s and drive out. The drive is so beautiful! There are times we have to get off the moto’s and walk through deep, thick mud or water. As we were making the trek to his house, I kept thinking ‘he walks this in the dark! I wander if he has a headlamp or something, so he can see where he is walking! I’m so grateful we are helping him with this transportation.’ We go till we can’t go any further, but we aren’t quite to his house. We can’t reach it by moto, too many ravines. We park and get off the moto. Perrine starts talking to him and tells him that we had purchased the moto for him. In typical Toro fashion, he doesn’t say much. He smiles, and you can tell he is holding back the tears. He eventually says ‘mesi’ or thank you. He then hugs every one of us including our moto drivers. He is very happy, and you can tell. What a wonderful gift to give him. I compare it to like someone showing up to my driveway with a Mercedes or BMW. It’s a huge gift and it will change his life and his family's life. Since he can’t drive it to his house, he pulls it up to a house close by and leaves it. I wonder why he didn’t ask the owner of the house permission but maybe they are close or something. I bet he will work out some kind of deal that he parks it there and in return he will provide rides into town or pick up supplies for them. We raised more money that was needed so we were able to also purchase a helmet, gas for a while and 4 month’s worth of anti-seizure meds for his daughter. What a wonderful day!!!!!!! We tell Toro goodbye and hop on the moto’s. Same thing for going home, on and off the moto to trek through very deep, sticky mud. We are all so happy and grateful today!!!!!

Dinner is ready when we get home. Haitian pizza is waiting for us. I grab a slice and talk to Sam. He is a cameraman with the Travel Channel and he is here to do a documentary on Midwives For Haiti. It’s interesting to learn about him and his life traveling. We lounge around for the evening and relax. Soon it’s time to go to bed. Tomorrow is our last full day and we are very sad about going home. All of us miss home but we are sad our trip is over.  We have the option of going to the hospital in the morning or relaxing. We decide to relax. The plan is to go to Bassin-Zim waterfall in the afternoon.

Blogging, antimalarials and oils are completed, and I turn off the light and go to sleep.

Goodnight, Haiti!!

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