Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Haiti trip - part two

June 28 LaPrevye

Thursday we went to Laprevye in the Camp Perrin district. We had a wonderful setup at the church there. We had never been to Laprevye before. Dr. Don (now nicknamed “Double D”) had a private airy room, Dr. Mark was set up on an airy patio at the opposite corner of the church and the pharmacy was in an airy room between the two of them, allowing for patients to pass around to the back of the church and receive their prescriptions through a window opening. Greyson set up her BP/Temp station just down a step from where Mark was working. The church served as the intake and waiting area which was spacious and well-managed. We saw over 180 patients. We saw two cases of filariasis, the first we’ve seen in Haiti although the Leogane area is known as an area where it flourishes.

The pastor and his family treated us very well there, making sure we had shade when the sun shifted and providing a visual screen around the patio so that patients had privacy. At the end of the day, we were given Pumpkin Soup as a treat. It was delicious. Pumpkin Soup is a traditional Haitian soup that is served on New Year’s Day.

Kelly was feeling well enough to be with us; she had some of her colleagues doing vet clinics at the same time, but she was so busy helping us that she did not get to see much of what they did.

Today was Zach’s birthday so we all signed a Haiti map for him. Marie baked him a cake and the kids at Laprevye sang Happy Birthday to him.

It has rained gently each night, keeping the temps cooler with a light breeze. The nights have not been very hot, and the days have been mostly comfortable and breezy as long as we were out of the direct sun.

When we got back to the university it was time for Don and Lynne to pack up and get ready to depart tomorrow morning.

June 29 – Friday

Don and Lynne left at 6 a.m. for their flight to PAP. The rest of us got in the trucks to head to LaPret. Today we had a new truck and driver; he was very helpful since he knew the way. We got a good price for the rental - $45 US. It was actually very nice to have him along to drive his own truck.

A reporter from Radio Lumiere accompanied us for the day, observing what Mustard Seed Haiti is all about.

The trip to LaPret was absolutely outstanding – it was scenery that’s different than anywhere else we’ve seen and now we recognize what is evident in so much Haitian art. The valley was lush, green, thick with trees, vines, plants, and running streams that were clear and blue. The mountains were steep. The roads were little more than rocky trails. It was BEAUTIFUL! The little houses were white with thatched roofs or colorful wooden huts of many bright colors. People were busy everywhere, many of the women walking to market with tubs or bundles on their heads.

The church was a small church with Mark placed up near the altar and a back door; the pharmacy was across the altar at the other back door giving us all good light and air. All of the intake was done outside, and Greyson worked inside managing good crowd control with how she numbered the “dossiers” (charts) and how fast she moved them through to the waiting area.

Ruth, John and Paul continued working the pharmacy area; they have the system finely honed and it worked like clockwork. We saw 130 patients today.

The patients today were not very sick; the sickest ones we saw were the littlest babies. A fair amount of malnutrition was evident in the little babies. The older people mostly had aches and pains that came with age. We saw a goiter and gout. Mark didn’t perform any surgery.

At the end of the day, the pastor’s wife provided us with fresh coconuts that Rivenson handily chopped open with a machete so that we all had fresh coconut milk. It was really refreshing, and added another “first” to Ruth’s trip.

During the last five days we’ve seen more than a few umbilical hernias, but without any means of providing for surgical correction. A couple of them have been pretty big. We’ve made a list of the people who need surgery and will try to make contact with the surgical team that Kelly knows about. Marcia will be instrumental in helping to set up those logistics as well.

We got back at about 7:00 p.m. after a beautiful sunset ride home. Marie was just leaving. Many people were waiting at the front gate to see the doctor; most looked dressed up. However, we could not see them. Mark, Zach, John, Ruth and Greyson needed to eat, shower, pack up and get ready to leave early in the morning. Mark, especially, needed to go through all of the meds prior to packing.

After dinner the reporter from Radio Lumiere asked to interview us, along with Mustard Seed Haiti. It was a short, structured interview but will give Mustard Seed Haiti good exposure; it will be their second radio interview.

June 30 – Saturday

Another early morning as Mark, John, Ruth, Greyson and Zach got ready to leave at 6 a.m. … but not before a little last minute excitement, Haitian style, when Kelly, their ride to the airport, called at 5:45 to tell us her truck wouldn’t start and she was still trying to fix it. She never did get it fixed in time, but managed to borrow a neighbor’s truck and arrived just about on time. As I sit here writing this they should just about be leaving New York City on I-95. By 10:30 p.m. they’ll be home in their own beds.

Paul and I took the opportunity of a couple of free days here in Cayes to have some meetings and begin making some more connections here. After a quiet morning we went with Lynn Black to Unibank where we opened an account with his help. We all rode taxis (motorscooters) to the bank – a careening experience if ever there was one.

Following that we had a meeting with Paul Rudenberg about co-teaching an Environmental Education course online using Moodle for the fall semester. One model we talked about would use professors here as supervising practitioners for undergrads who would be doing on-site “practicum” in secondary classrooms.

We had a wonderful lunch of maiz mullen (corn and black bean stew) with kreyol sauce that was outstanding. It’s the first time we’d had it. Widger asked what we wanted for lunch and I told him “manje Ayitian” … Haitian food. It was great!

Next we sat down with Witchner to talk with him about his application to attend Free Gospel Bible Institute in Export, PA. We’ve agreed to act as his US sponsors if he can find additional people who will actually help to contribute to his support ($2200 per year). If it works out he could be staying with us during summers and vacations, which would be great fun. He has a real heart for God.

Right after Witchner left Daphka and her friend, Nami, came to fetch us to their new house across the little brook behind the university. It’s a beautiful pink building with balconies on the second floor. Lynn and Marie rent the first floor which has 4 bedrooms. They have asked Francky if he would like to come and live with them. We had ongoing serious discussions about that this afternoon. They will extend the offer to him once more and he can continue his education in Cayes if that’s what he chooses.

Marie and Lynn took us out to dinner to LaCayenne Restaurant where we had spiny lobster in kreyol sauce, with fried plantains, and fresh French fries. It was luscious. We went to get ice cream afterwards (rum raisin or vanilla). We traveled to and from the restaurant on taxis again – each one of us sitting on the back of a separate motorscooter. After dark it was quite an experience, but I found myself enjoying it and not feeling frightened, I’m not sure why….I should have been scared to death!

Kelly came by to say “Goodbye”. She leaves for Port tomorrow morning, where she’ll fly home until she returns on August 15th.

It’s a hot night. Paul is preparing a sermon for the morning because Witchner has asked him to preach. Tomorrow will be another full day as we clean out the little Haitian cottage and pack away all the meds. In the evening we’ll show a movie to the Haitian students who are around – Amoce and Witchner asked us to show “One Night with the King, the story of Esther.”

July 1 – Sunday

We attended the Sunday service at the church at AUC (called Community of Grace, which I think is a beautiful name for a church). Paul was asked to preach; he preached about faithfulness. Witchner translated the sermon bit by bit but it was obvious that he was pretty tired from the long week we’d put in; he kept blanking out. We’re all tired.

After church we began packing, and then had another meeting with MSH and with Lynn and Marie.

At 5 p.m. we showed a movie to a room full of university students and their kids. The little projector we brought along worked really well.

By 7 p.m. Jan was running a fever; at 8 p.m. she phoned Mark in the states. Running a high fever in Haiti is nothing to take for granted.

July 2 – Monday

Our flight from Au Cayes to PAP was quick, but Jan slept through it. The descent was painful for her because her ears wouldn’t equalize to the pressure; she remained uncomfortable all day.

We stood in line for 2 hours to get to the AA check-in counter. American Airlines had cancelled the 9 a.m. flight to Miami because of bad weather and the place was a teeming mass of people trying to get out some other way.

The flight home was smooth; Jan slept much of the way.

Once we got to JFK we went through customs easily and headed home. Got home at 12:15 a.m.


mcd7 said...

Oh, the memories I have of Haiti. Thanks for the photos and info. I sure do hope to go back someday...hopefully regularly. I'm so glad Ruth and Lynne got to go. Who is Zach? God bless you...Gloria

Anonymous said...

Zach is my 16yr old son on his first mission trip. mark