Starfish Haiti Medical Mission and More travel blog

Three Rivers River

Laundry river

Feet in the water

Three explorers

The rest of the team and kids


Rainbows and mangos

Compound entrance

Supplies for the day

Compound community center

The interpreters

compound pharmacy

The away team

Some of the patients

The office

LOLs (little old ladies)


The kids

More kids at sunset

After a reasonably cool but pretty restless night with some bear behind the building and occasional rain showers. Up around 7:30 and down to breakfast. We carried many bags of medicine down to the compound’s pharmacy – which was practically bare – and there were about 50 people there waiting for the doctors. After that we gathered together all the meds we’d need for the day, three translators, and piled into the van.

Down the National Highway – an extremely bumpy road – to a village about three miles away. There was a large crowd waiting when we arrived – probably around 100 people, mostly women, inside a compound with four rooms, all concrete with steel doors and barred windows. Kitty, Ches, Me, and out interpreter went to one room, a second was occupied by Carey, a nurse practitioner, and another two nurses and an interpreter, and a third room was used as the pharmacy. My job was to take blood pressure when needed, and scribe the notes for Kitty as she examined the people and determined the needed medication.

They issued little numbers to people after they pay 100 goins (about $4.00) and we saw them pretty much in order. However, our first patient had a severe nose bleed that she had on and off for five days. I went and scrounged up some tampons from one of the nurses and Kitty put them up her nose. The bleeding continued (plus some spitting up of blood) and we asked that she be taken to a hospital. She left and we have no idea what happened.

Next were two little old ladies (LOLs) who had common problems. Most of the patients had high blood pressure but some had malaria or typhoid. One infection on the cheek that looked like a boil required surgery. The day is rather a blur but our youngest patient was 3 ½ months – he had trouble with feeding. The oldest patient said she was 90 and had very high blood pressure. We gave worm pills and vitamins to pretty much everybody. Everyone was eager to be seen and sometimes the room became a bit crowded, but we eventually got things straightened out and then minimal problems.

The whole day took about seven hours. We saw 31 people but the team treated 91 in total. There was remarkable teamwork with everybody doing their part to make the day go smoothly. If a difficult case the nurses would ask Kitty if they were doing the right thing – and they always were. There were lots of kids around – they weren’t being seen but were just hanging around watching what went on – through the open rear window or through the bars on the front.

As we left the clinic the kids gathered around and we passed out some stickers and dum dums. There must have been 20 kids in all. We finally loaded up the remaining supplies and headed back to the compound.

When we returned they had already started dinner so we immediately went to eat – goat, rice and beans, and some ham-pasta salad. I had lots of beans and rice and some spicy slaw, and a coke with cane sugar, Filling and all there was to eat.

After a bit we took a hike down to “Three Rivers River” that flows by the compound. It is quite a nice river – cool but slimy bottom. Amazingly complex rock strata with veins of quartz but mostly sedimentary stuff. Lots of people doing laundry or bathing. Ches, Kitty and I went first and the rest of the group followed a few minutes later. They were followed by 20+ kids. It was nice walking by the river seeing the palms and bananas. There were a couple light showers and some amazing rainbows – bright and a few double ones.

We came across a US-AID project for hurricane control – all signs in English and not a word of French. Then we walked back along the road to the compound. We almost got hit several times by motorcycles (we were walking on the smooth part of the road) and we spotted a couple nice looking lizards. Once we got back some confusion ensued about internet (none) and water (little) but it all got straightened out in the end.

Kitty and I decided to try to walk to the top of the mountain behind the compound but we got about half way there and decided that since the sun had set we would be better off going back before dark. As we walked down some of the local children came up and untied their goats and the goats raced us home.

Kitty and I went down to the community building to chat and a batch of missionaries showed up – five guys and four women from Seattle and Virginia. The five guys (and one wife) moved in with me and Adam. While they were eating dinner we hung most of their nets.

They arrived about 8:30 and settled in for the night. Lights out at 9:00 but we hope the fans will stay on again.

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