Friday, February 22, 2008

Clinic Day 2 - Platon

February 16, 2008 Platon

The trip from Laprete to Platon was grueling and a bit over the edge. We packed up both trucks to leave for Platon and as soon as the trucks were packed the driver realized that the hydraulic line for the clutch on the white truck (the same truck with the gasline leak yesterday) was leaking badly. So, once again we unpacked a truck, figured out which bags were the most important to bring up to Platon, and then piled all of those bags into one truck along with our 5 team members and the 5 members of MSH, Prycille’s baby, and the truck driver. The ride up to Platon took over an hour with many stops along the way as we could barely make it up each stretch of road. Because the road was so steep there were many hairpin turns and switchbacks; the road itself was large sharp rocks that were very loose. In some places the rocks were large enough to rip out the oil pan. Often we had to jump out, throw rocks behind the back wheels, let the driver edge forward a few feet and turn the wheel, throw more rocks behind the wheels, and do it all over again. The worse part was that if the truck had rolled back it would have gone over the precipice. We probably went around 5 hairpin turns, maybe more. It was hair-raising. We all became bruised and battered; at one point, Dr. Don was the only one in the truck and the tailgate opened up. The duffle bags started falling off the truck one by one, except for one bag that was tied in by rope, and instead it got dragged across the rocks. It “was” a brand new bag – no more. A lot of the bags got damaged and Dr. Don could do nothing but hold on tight and watch it happen. Thankfully his violin was tied in securely.

We arrived at a really beautiful plateau at the tops of the mountains with wonderful views showing just how beautiful Haiti is. The village center of Platon appears to be the church in the center of the plateau. A few people were waiting and before long more people slowly began wandering in. They were “country people” as Amoce called them. Afterwards I realized that all of the women had skirts or dresses on, even the young women and girls. I didn’t see any woman with slacks on. The little girls were also frightened of the little dolls we tried to give them; they wanted no part of them.

The people were wonderful; the pastor was very generous and obviously cared greatly about his people. He so much wants us to go back, but it’s unlikely because it was really a grueling trip. We saw a lot of scabies, anemia, vaginitis, and other maladies that were typical for these villages. Dr. Don and Dr. Mark make a good team. We saw about 150 people before we had to end quickly, pack-up, and begin the trip back down the mountain before a storm came up. Dr. Don, Amoce, and Rivenson rode down in the truck. The rest of us found the trip up so frightening that we decided to walk all the way back down the mountain to Laprete. The tie rod on the truck also broke on the drive up, and although Francois fixed it with rope (see photo), none of us wanted to chance it on the way down. The walk down was tricky because the rocks were loose under our feet, but we were happier doing that!

When we arrived at Laprete there was a new “For Sale” vehicle waiting for us – a red LandRover. We split up the team and began our ride back to Okay (LesCayes).

Check back for photos in a few days.

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