La Fierere: A village beyond the Homeland clinic and what feels like "going to the top and over to the other side." The report was correct: that it is a 1 mile walk in - the road OUT is more uphill and obviously a little more strenuous. But all of us did just fine. BEAUTIFUL countryside ridge with green and color in the fields. Whether by instruction or by wisdom over the years, the hillside is well covered with terrace gardening; no erosion with the rains and it seems along the path there were segments of healthy families with self-sustaining crops.
The pictures will be self-explanatory. But as the trucks get to the end of where they can go, the kids and adults gathered around awaiting the bag retrieval. Full bags typically were >30 lb and some were as much as 60. The first full suitcase was set down and a 60+ year old woman in a white dress grabbed up the bag and with 1 other person to help lugged it up onto her head. The first 50 yes go up so most of us were tired carrying either ourselves or a couple gallon bags of rice in our backpacks. The kids and this woman did just fine with full sack cloths of rice, 5 gallon bottles of water and all of our supplies. Amazing. Today I saw a woman who had left sided pain and numbness in her arm (likely a bulging disk or cervical spine problem. There is no wonder these folks suffer with back and disk problems as they carry nearly everything on their head).
We saw a total of 332 patients in about 7 hours. The clinic was more spacious than we though and the breeze and much cooler day, up on the hill, was a real treat. Everybody walked off the mountain sweating, smiling and content to have served with these people. (There is a little sickness here with a couple people. Dawn is on her 4th trips with us and for the first time, GI illness has set in. She is much better today after a liter of IV fluids from the Arizona ER team and a night of rest.)
Friday was to Haiti Free School - again up the hill; the 3rd trip Champs has made to this community. There has been a lot of rain (everywhere) and the final entrance to this village was totally blocked by a river of water. A few decided to jump through the water to cross; but the mud and water won out for most of us. The People jumped in the back of trucks and they barreled across without any problem. All in the fun. School was a in session and we saw at least 300 people total by 3:30 today.
Tomorrow we leave and it's clear there will be questions about details with the twice-monthly clinics but I am confident our board decisions about supporting self-sustaining clinics is the right thing. The logistics of the electronic record will also come together. We will finalize the education of the system in the morning.
Last clinic will be on the Homeland property. Can't wait to spend one more day with the local residents.
Enjoy the pictures and our memories for the week. Bonje' bene' Uo. (God bless you).
We are truly at an exciting juncture here. Traveled up to the HOMELAND property in 55 minutes (traffic was great) and set up our clinic in a spacious clinic space that is 200-250 feet long by 60 or so. Covered with a nice roof – two private rooms in the back and the rest is open space.. REALLY Nice. Today, as expected was a quieter day. I didn’t count sheets but expect we saw about 175 patients. Dr. Peterson is here, saw patients and by tonight he is well accustomed to the electronic medical record. Oddly enough he is interested for more reasons than one; says his own hospital is NOT utilizing an electronic record either; he is interested in sharing this.
The sweet part is again, we are having an easier night because, aside from meds that need to be re-checked and re-stocked, we have left all our medical supplies in the space.
(OK the rain is getting serious. People have made a run for it to their rooms, to
find their ROOMS FLOODED! May have to finish this later…
Our drive up to the mountain this morning was next to Pepe’ one of the translators and a HOME team member. He spoke at length about the government situation and protesting. The “Petrol tax” (tariff) stems back 14 years to Venezuela; The international bank regulates products and value that is imported and exported from countries; obviously, Haiti has less to export. And this “fee” that was basically loaned to the country, has been unpaid and mounting, with interest attached. So, the govt
was/is forced to forward this tax to citizens. The problem sounds very similar to the US. Those “with” seem not to pay their fair share, despite sending their kids to private schools and reaping the majority of income to the people. We already know about the protests that blew after the tariff hit (50% increase in petrol price.) The president scaled it back after 36 hours because people were getting
killed, road blocked and several businesses raided. They have a KWIK Trip-like “Deli Mart” that is a chain and somehow tied to government subsidy. Nearly all deli-marts still have destruction residual.
Pepe’ says October 17 commemorates a Holiday of sorts tied to a historical war hero. That day is now tagged as the next “Large protest”. Some fear that with the increasing tension, “at some point” there will be a revolution where the people just “won’t take it anymore.” The problem was 3 decades ago this country enjoyed a pristine infrastructure, 24/7 electricity and an economy where most could prosper. The problem was it was run by a dictatorship; if you didn’t follow the government rules and mandates, you “would just find yourself dead,” Pepe’s words.
The exchange rate today is 69 gourdes to $1.00. A kid was selling cold water on the street, Wendy stuck her hand out with 50 gd and he handed her a coke. THEN he started to chase the truck she only received 1 bottle of coke (20 oz) He handed her another one – clearly 50 gd (Less than $1.00) was worth 2 bottles of coke! And this 10 year old kid was one honest Haitian; OK. Still raining hard; the towels under the doors are in place; Gilbert says the rain could be an all-nighter. All the team members have dashed to their rooms; the Haitians are sitting behind me dancing and singing with Haitian music. I love it. I love this place. Good night.
This was my first mission trip with Champs of Haiti, and it was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever been apart of. Haiti was shown to us through the eyes of people who have love and compassion for caring for others and truly care about the Haitian people . I felt honored to be apart of an amazing medical team. Thank you Champs in Haiti , Nicola C
A very hot, yet fulfilling day! We rode in vans over bumpy, paved roads for 2 hours (one way) to a village called Le Chapelle. Clinic had never come to this area before and it was a bit disorganized for set-up. Once we got going, it went well. There were 4 providers inside the cement church, and 3 providers outside under a tree. We saw (guesstimate) 250 people with a variety of health issues! It really makes me feel blessed to have so many more "options" and accessibility for health care in the US! It was exhausting, but also, I feel obligated to use my "privilege" to help make the world a better place for every person I encounter. So, with a smile, a "Merci" or even providing some very basic health care, I hope to pay it forward! Patti
So this was a special gift for John Cierzan as he realized later that Elijah was taking pictures. John was asked to make a house call with Cindy.
This gentleman had had a stroke in the past and was unable to walk or speak. He was well cared for by his family. There was concern about leg swelling, although no evidence for heart failure or clot in the legs. He simply needed hands on massage and leg movement. His grandchildren jumped right in to learn how to help with this. The five year old thought tickling toes would be a good add-on therapy.
John calls it his most memorable visit. No doubt this was the case. Trust me when I say people are making a difference in this world.
Bless you John
Good evening last night and our work for this trip is complete. The beer and coke has ice in it. Love that. Wenreturned to "school" and started in again for 7 hours. 7 stations of providers and an RN assistant and although I didn't count it must have been 350 people who came through. Vava pulled 43 more teeth. Check out the photo. Omg. Still glad to be busy at my station. Elijah Tom the pic for me. Hoping others will blog when we get home. It is just too hard to get on here with the intermitent Internet. Saw a case of chicken pox today with Haitians exposed. We had Acyclovir to treat them with. Wendy kept us going. 7 hours of nonstop except for a 10 to 15 min linch break is plenty. 4 to 6 patients at a time. We totally went through 50,000 vitamins BP meds Tylenol ibuprofen naproxen and depleted a number of antibiotics. Thrilled about that. Will send some pics and then Need to go pack some bags. See you tomorrow
Headed to a school up in the mountains and as was the plan all along, we will return a second day.
Rain most of the night and a good part of the day. There were a few in the back end of the truck that succumbed to the rain and got in the cab. On the way home those few were feeling hearty enough for the whole trip.
We got into a couple unusual scenarios for us. A woman being drug in by her husband was throwing up and had profuse diarrhea. With just a few more questions we figured out we needed to put cholera in the equation of possibilities. Fortunately Teri Sanneman worked at a cholera clinic in the fall. We made a pan of bleach out of the top of the 5 gallon water jug and cordoned off an area for her to lie. After multiple episodes of getting sick and a good 2 hours we arranged for her family to escort us to the Partners in Health (Paul Farmer) 15 min down the road. The group that went also got another eye opening experience. Their policy is that when the facility reaches maximum capacity they close the doors, with the thought they will care for a smaller amount of people well. So you can imagine the scene around the hospital. Elijah joined them and unfortunately I think he hit his breaking point for awhile. He has since recovered and is sitting with us here. We left money for meds for this woman and of course pray for her tonight she would not be alive had she not gotten there. And after further speculation we are guessing against the cholera and toward some other viral illness but I'm happy to be safe than sorry with the isolation.
Lots of kids to play with again and we some sick people stayed 7 hours at the clinic before e retreated down the hill.
The gang is doing great. A few migraines and headaches but everyone is still smiling. Time for bed. Non wi
Good evening everyone. It's a little earlier tonight as I begin 830 our time. We are sitting in the lounge. Everyone with their phones and trying to get on a sketchy internet
Today was church day. I will post a couple pictures. We tried to delay Wendy as long as we could. Jesme' was going to speak at 10;00 but he insisted the main part of the service started at 9 and we should not miss it. So we set a "quit time" at 12:00 and sure enough they went up to that very time! They were prepared for guests so we had groups of kids doing hip hop and singing songs. Great performances and even the Haitian parents were taking pics. There was some translating and as usual we were asked to say a few things. Mostly we entertained ourselves watching the crowd and playing with kids. The pastors mother was in he front row with her hands up and clapping with more enthusiasm than had she won the lottery in the US. And she did not stop for 3 hours awesome.
The kids played with the little paper plates we were using to fan ourselves. (We came prepared).
The clinic included a couple of home visits. A woman who had a stroke 6 years ago and had been on the floor. Cared for by her family and she looked remarkably good. Minimal bedsores and her hair fixed. The other was a woman who delivered a baby 5 hours previously. She was in a tin covered hut that was maybe 10 feet squared. A double bed with mom sitting up looking GREAT and the baby sweet as can be. Full term and delivered by a woman who had helped 3 other women before. I brought in Patti Cierzan to teach mom on breastfeeding. We were happy to exit as the room had to be 95 degrees in there. The baby wearing a cap and wrapped up twice. Nothing like Minnesota😁
Tonight we had a poignant and introspective meeting with the Haitian staff and us, talking about what drew us here to serve and the translators speaking to why they are here with us working. This does indeed take a lot of energy and time. The passion to make a difference is strong for everyone here and we have talked at length this week of bridging the gap to continuity of care. Wendy's organization H.O.M.E purchased land up by Mirabalais and they are on the way to self sustaining agriculture and a standing clinic that will create continuity and stability for many. I know we reach closer and closer each year.
If they could stay away from hurricanes and other natural disasters that would help. Vava (who has pulled 92 teeth in the last 3 days btw) traveled by motorcycle a day after the EQ to check on his family. It should have taken him 3 hours and it took him 6. even TODAY the travel is 6 hours because the bridges are not passable. Motorcycles can get drug through the low rivers. He said it looks like a desert there no foliage trees or standing buildings aside from the cement walled homes.
Ok that is it. People are wrapping up. Time for bed pics to follow hopefully. Bob wi. K
Bob Swa everyone! we are struggling to get px loaded but a lot has been sent to Colette's gmail. It's possible she can load them.
These two days were productive but the travel was grueling at best. Yesterday was 2 hours to travel over potholes and today turned into a little longer when we got to within 15 minutes before arrival we hit a literal roadblock with demonstrations. Apparently the village of Mirabalais was tired of having no electricity and they were demanding to see the mayor! We watched the smoke from the burning tires and rubber in the road and the translators suggested the drivers back up in case they got to throwing rocks. The report was at the moment it was bananas ... after plotting a plan to go backward and find another village behind and also feeling sorry to leave the waiting crowds ahead (30 min passed) I guess the mayor showed up! The fire was extinguished and we along with dozens of Haitians on motorcycles and trucks yelled with joy and we started our engines😀
This village had not seen health care come to their village in over a year. John Cierzan and Cindy Kane got in on a home visit and ther were a number of stragglers in the back end of the truck to observe. Elijah loved it
You will see stunning pictures of the hillside and mountains behind us. About half the crew made it to the top to see the Little open chapel and prayer going on. There were plenty of kids who needed shots of Rocephin an accessed wound on a guys head that need lancing; young adult with a huge heart in need of a new heart valve and 92 year old mothers of 11 with only 5 of her children surviving (not a tooth in her mouth) but told us the secret to a long healthy life in Haiti was all about singing in her church choir
Lots of heat lots of cohesivity in the group an ice cold beer with dinner and still bagging rice with creative methods.
Time for bed. Tomorrow is. Church and another 175 families to see
Peace to all of you. Kay
Teri is the President of CHAMPs in Haiti. A nurse of 30 years, it has been my dream to make a difference in the lives of others through mission work. The Feb 2016 trip will be my 3rd to Haiti!