February 15, 2008 Laprete
We slept in a little because our trip yesterday was long and tiring. By 9 a.m. we were on our way. We packed all of our bags into two trucks. We have a lot of bags because we're going to do the clinic in Laprete, then stay overnight in the church, and the next morning go further up the mountain to Platon. We had med bags for two sets of clinics and all of our clothing, food, and bedding. Prycille brought her 4 month old adorable baby girl, Alicia, and a young woman to babysit Alicia, as well as a playpen and the necessary items for the baby. We were packed to the gills.
Our first stop was for gasoline. The white truck got gas first, then Francois’s truck pulled up to the pumps next. As the white truck pulled away we noticed a stream of liquid running from under the truck. Long story short…the gas line had a big leak. So now we’re sitting in a gas station 20 minutes into our first day at Okay, with two loaded trucks and only one truck that works in the blazing sun. After about 20 minutes more, during which time the broken line was being diagnosed, we decided to unload the white truck, decide which bags were critical and load those onto Francois’ truck with the critical members of the team. That truck would go up to Laprete and set up for the clinics until the next truck could come.
The plan worked alright, but the white truck didn’t make it up to Laprete until later in the afternoon. Despite missing several items, including meds, that were left behind we managed to have a good clinic day. We saw 125 people which is not a huge amount given two doctors. We were able to see the woman with the large goiter and give her some thyroid meds which should hopefully help. We also saw two cases of mumps; the first we’ve ever seen here. Interestingly they weren’t registered for the clinic, but we saw the two boys running around outside the church with the typical cloth tied around their chin and head.
The people at Laprete are very nice and the clinics always seem well organized. Although we were concerned about how the clinic would end, given that we were staying overnight there was absolutely no problem. After the clinic was done we had a quick dinner of spaghetti cooked by Marcia. At 7:30 we had a meeting with the village leaders, probably about 15 men and 2 women. They came from many different small villages and represented a peasants’ association, as well as MOPGEC which is a group of different churches in the area. One man was obviously a leader since he did most of the talking. We found out that the Laprete area is about 8 kilometers square. This was an initial meeting just to learn about them. We have more to talk about and think about for the future.
Following the meeting, which ended about 9:30, we moved some benches around the church and set up our air mattresses and mosquito nets. The Haitian team slept right on the floor or on benches without mosquito nets, which is typical. It was a pretty chilly night; we could tell we were in the mountains. It was also very quiet; the houses are spread very far apart around the mountain.