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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 14

HAITI | Thursday, 26 October 2017 | Views [189]

Day 14~ Last clinical day for the Skilled Birth Attendants, Bassin-Zim waterfall, Packing to go Home and Break Time Disco

A day to sleep in and of course that doesn’t happen. I hear Ali wake up and I am not able to go back to sleep. I look at the clock and it’s about 730am. I get up and head out for coffee.  There is some banana bread Celeste made and a take a small slice to go with my coffee. I go get dressed because the students are starting to arrive, and I don’t want to be walking around in my pajama’s.

Soon, all the students are there and it’s a bitter sweet day. It’s the last day. Months of classroom and clinicals, skills learned and it’s all done. They will be going into their internships from here and then hopefully hired. Their wages are about $4000 a year. Class starts, and Sam starts recording. The group starts to sing. This is normal everyday thing to do at the beginning of class. But, this time, they were singing from the bottom of their hearts. You can feel how much this song means to them and it sounds absolutely beautiful. I have no idea what words they are singing but I can’t help but start to cry. It is such an emotional song. I see Cindy walk away and start to cry. I completely understand why. This is a big deal. She has taught and molded theses students into wonderful skilled birth attendants and they are ready to fly the coup. The plan for the students today is to finish up some loose ends and interview with Sam.  We are asked if any of us want to be interviewed or be a part of filming. I offer to do it. The first thing he wants me to do is to talk in front of the classroom. So, I do it and try not to be emotional about it. I am so happy for them and so excited for them to get out and start saving lives of women and babies.  I am then asked to do some fake teaching. I teach some shoulder dystocia, and NRP. They already know it, but we are doing it for the film. Lastly, he does a one on one interview with me. This is something I don’t feel like I do well at. I stumble on my words and sometimes I feel like I don’t answer the specific questions asked. Once that is done, I start packing. I get most of it done and just have a few things left out for the rest of day and tomorrow morning.

Lunch is rice with vegetables in in, beef in a sauce and I slice up an avocado. After lunch, we get ready to go to the waterfall. Most of us go, Sara, Perrine, Canel, Judenel, Kelby, Cindy, Dan and the four of us girls. When we arrive, we give the money to Kelby to do the negotiating to the men at the gate. This time we have NO issues at all and they let us in. A handful of boys about 7 to 14 years old, pair up with us. They plan to help walk us up to the 2 caves to make a tip. The last time I came, the boys were very nice and helpful. They escort us to the waterfall and standby for the climb to the cave. All of us get into the water. I didn’t bring a swimsuit, so I take off my t-shirt and have a sports bra on underneath. I take my shorts off and swim in my underwear. I figure it looks like a swim suit AND I’m in Haiti so who cares!!

I enjoy a nice refreshing swim and go out to where the waterfall falls. You can’t go directly under it because it is too powerful. The girls all swim out to me as well as Perrine and the boys.  Dan, Cindy and Sara stay near the beach and watch our stuff. I’m happy to be here. I spread my Dads ashes here last year. It is such a beautiful place. But it feels dark. A lot of voodoo happens here, and I can feel it. In fact, the 14-year boy that escorts me to the cave tells me ‘voodoo is my God’.

After we swim, we dry off and wrap our towels around us. Kelby tells us a little history about the place and we start the walk up the steep stairs to the caves. The first cave is relatively small. A lot of melted wax, burned rocks with black soot on it, white powder laid down and other signs of black magic are evident. I don’t like it at all. For all I know, being there will cast a spell on me. I don’t want to touch anything or go pass the white line of powder. Which I hear can be ground up human bones!!!

Once we are done seeing the small cave, we continue up the hill to the larger cave. We need to walk over a series of creeks to get to it. All the water is coming from underground and has carved out the cave over the hundreds of years. The large cave has hundreds of bee nests on the walls. You have to be aware of them, so you don’t accidently touch the walls. My escort has my hand and is good about reminding me to be careful not to touch that or the trees with thorns sticking out of them. It is natural to grab on to the wall or the tree as you are navigating your way through the streams into the cave.

Hundreds of bats are hanging above, and some are flying around. More and more start to fly the louder we become in the cave. There are ancient carvings on the walls. I’m not sure if they really are ancient or if some Haitian carved them in the wall to make the cave seem more appealing. We snap a few photos and start our decent down the hill out of the cave. We walk to the side of the hill and overlook the waterfall before it goes over the ledge. It is so stunningly beautiful. Haiti is such a gorgeous country.

The escorts help us down the hill and we pass by a garden with okra, squash and beans. Down at the bottom, I give each one of my escorts a dollar and a snack. There is controversy over whether or not to give them money. They stay home from school, so they can take a chance that someone will come and wait hours to make a little money if they do come. If you give them money, it encourages them not to go to school. I go ahead and give them money because I want to help them.

We walk back to the jeep and I tell the boys to each take off one shoe. I want to see who has the biggest hole in their shoes, so I can give them mine. Boy, it’s not an easy decision because they all need shoes desperately. But, I make my decision and give them to a boy who needs them and can fit into my small shoes. He thanks me, and we climb into the jeep and say goodbye.

The trip back is about 45 minutes. We stop and buy a dozen avocados and some bananas. There are many different varieties of bananas in Haiti. Some are very bright yellow and very sweet. Soon, we get back to the house and settle in for the evening. Dinner is our last meal in Haiti. Fries, Chicken drumstick, a yummy coleslaw that has no creamy dressing and a deep fried yummy puff thing. We also cut up one of the papayas to eat. I don’t really care for the papaya. There isn’t much food I don’t like but there is something about it that I just don’t like.

After dinner, I take a shower and start to get ready for bed. Then I hear a rumor of going out for the night. I’m not really feeling like going out since I was all settled in for the night, but I don’t want to miss out on any fun. I have given away most of my clothing and shoes to the Haitians and what I do have left is dirty. Winter gives me a shirt to wear and then I keep on the shorts I have on. We wait around for others to get ready that decide to come last minute and we are finally out of the house about 9-930pm. Celeste, Perrine, Stecy, Judenel, Arfet (I don’t know if that’s how its spelled), Winter, Canel, Kelby, Ali and me. Megan doesn’t feel like going out and Sam has work to do so they both decline.

We go to Zenith and Perrine gets out to look if its dead. She comes back and says no one is there. So, we go to the other disco called Break Time. It is very busy with only a couple places to sit. We pull a few tables up and order drinks. Prestige, rum and cokes, water, coke and other things. Our dance instructors show up and we take turns dancing with them. I am pleased with my dance lessons and feel like I have Konpa down. I should because it is relatively an easy dance to do. Kelby orders some food to eat and offers us some but there is no way I’m eating anything prepared outside of the house. No diarrhea and vomiting for me please. I’m almost of Haiti and haven’t gotten sick and I surely don’t want it now for my all day traveling home tomorrow.

Perrine and Kelby leave less than 30 minutes after getting there. Judenel drives them home and comes back to get us. We all dance and have a great time. At midnight we decide we better go home. We have to be up at 6am to get ready to go home. The waitress comes and tells us our tab is….$8. For everyone. The food and all the many, many drinks. Oh, my goodness!! Ali, me and Winter pay $3 each and tell everyone else it’s on us!!! THREE DOLLARS lol.

The ride home is fun. Judenel does a funny impersonation of Ronel. Ronel has a Tourette’s probably and Judenel makes us laugh by acting like him. Sorry Ronel, but your funny. Back at the house, we get ready for bed. Typical nightly routine. Meds and oils. But no blogging tonight. I need sleep to be ready for the long trip home tomorrow.

One last goodnight to Haiti....sniff

Tags: bassin-zim waterfall, last clinical day for the skilled birth attendant, packing to go home and break time disco

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