Starfish Haiti Medical Mission and More travel blog

The motos

Crossing the river

Carrying water

View from the ride

Many patients

The village

My view on the ride

Laundry (ours)

The compound

Three Rivers

Kitty catches the moon

Up today at about 6:30 with the new folks moving about getting ready for their devotional behind the room. Slept pretty well and the malaria medication has kicked in and I had several very vivid dreams. Can’t remember much except Samurai swords that looked like machetes. Anyway, down to the center fpr a quick pancake breakfast – quite good and very filling.

Packed up and down to the office where there were about ten motorcycles waiting for us. We grabbed the medical supplies we’d need and everyone was assigned a moto – with driver. Then off we went – down the National Highway and then we had to dismount to cross Three Rivers River. We waded across the very slippery river and met up on the other side. We remounted and drove up… Rocky road and rutted. Beautiful scenery but the road kept getting narrower and narrower and eventually turned into a path. We passed a couple villages and many donkeys, horses, goats, and sheep. Very few motor vehicles. It was quite a rugged trip that took about an hour.

We arrived at Biarry at around 11:30 and there were crows waiting. There were few rooms so we set up the pharmacy and Adams office in the waiting room. Kitty and Jolinesse, a local health care worker set up in a small whitewashed room with Ches, Widsheldin (the interpreter) and me. I was the scribe writing down all the stuff and prescriptions and Ches was the nurse taking everyone’s vitals.

There was a stream of people coming in – young kids first then adults. Most were minor issues of pain, hypertension, and anemia. Some more serious stuff as well such as malaria and typhoid. Everyone was treated for worms. Most folks seemed very happy to see us but many we had to refer to Jolivert for more serious things – including a possible broken leg. We saw some kids but Adam saw most – ones as young as one month. Our oldest today was 90.

There were two doors in the room – and no doors. Kids were constantly looking through one of the doors and were giggling quite a bit. Several times chickens wandered in looking for scraps. Most folks were well dressed and many had on layers of clothing – even though it was in the upper 80s. The village was in the process of building a substantial center using cement – one paint can full at a time. The only water source was about ½ mile away and people would carry water on their heads back to the village.

By about 4:00 we finished the clinic – the three providers saw 98 patients in all – Kitty saw about 32. We headed down to the motos and mounted up and off we went – bumping and swerving away, We passed many more donkeys, sheep, goats, and horses. Most folks waved as we zoomed by and some held up their hands for a high five. The drivers actually coasted most of the way as it was mostly downhill. We passed by several villages and one very large blue church.

Back at the compound with few mishaps dinner was ready – and mostly eaten! They were out of rice all together and since they were having beef stew my dinner was bananas and a marmalade pie and a coca cola (with real sugar!)

Kitty and I had left our laundry to be done and it was all finished and hanging on some bushes outside of the compound. I had left about $30 in the pocket and Blod, the manager, told me they had turned it in. Everything was quite clean so I’m all set for the rest of the trip! I gave the laundry lady a nice tip!

Then Christof – the clinic manager – brought his portable router to the compound and we got on the internet for the first time since we had arrived. The connection was rotten and it took for every to load anything. I posted stuff to my journal and sent a couple emails. Heard that Sweet Briar was closing as well as a snow storm coming to Virginia. It became quite frustrating so most of us just said let it go.

It still wasn’t dark so we decided to hike up the mountain behind the compound. The whole team went along with about ten local kids. At the top we took a bunch of pictures and Kitty caught the full moon as it came over the mountains behind us. Quite a spectacular view of the Three Rivers River and the valley around. We headed down as the sun set with several of the kids accompanying us.

Most folks went into their quarters but Kitty and I went to the center to do a blog and talk about the day (and have a beer). We walked back to the quarters in the full moonlight with music – drums and tapping and singing off in the distance. It was so bright we could easily see our shadows and colors. Amazingly light.

Finally we said goodnight and I went back to my quarters. The missionaries were all there talking so I sat on the bed and finished this journal. Looking forward to a longer moto drive tomorrow to Odige. The lights just went out…

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