Haiti again! travel blog

On the road to Bwa Buton

the office


Moto riders

The far beach


Making charcoal


March 10th

Up after a reasonable night and to breakfast of oatmeal, mango, and banana – plus orange Tang! Amazing how good such bland stuff can taste so good! Then final packing and ready for the day.

We lugged bags up to the truck at the top of the hill and seven of us piled on. I got to stand up in the bed of the truck for the forty minute trip. It was more than a little bumpy and sometime my feet left the bed of the truck. In one muddy spot the truck fishtailed through a wide patch of mud. The scenery was beautiful all the way – and we ended up at Bwa Bouton – a school in a hurricane damaged building covered mostly with tarps. The “new” school was still being built – the majority of it was destroyed in the hurricane so it will be a year or more before it’s finished.

We went into the school and they gave us three classrooms to hold the clinics in. We were lucky in we had the one on the end so there was a little breeze – the other three practitioners has only two sides – and little breeze. In any event we set up the “pharmacy” on two benches in the middle of the room and sat on kid’s chairs to see patients.

We started off before the second crew arrived and saw the normal run of patient – upset stomach, sleeplessness, and headache. Not too many hypertensions which was unusual. In any event, after a while the school let out and we started seeing kids eight to fourteen years old – without their parents permission. Although Haiti is a different world where it really is a village raising the children, we decided that we couldn’t give anything more than vitamins and anti-worm pills. Doing that we saw probably 50 kids in a couple hours. They all complained of exactly the same symptoms, and they all got vitamins.

After we were there for about six hours we were all exhausted with the heat (low 90s) and constant up and down of giving the medications. We quickly packed up the meds that were left and loaded the truck for the trip back to the guesthouse. I was on the floor of the truck this time and bounced along the road back.

We got back and decided we needed to inventory the medications we had left. And we had a lot – over 13,000 Tylenol, 10,000 Tums, and many other medications. We inventoried them for our or other teams so we could get the needed meds for our next trip.

In the middle of this we decided to head to the beach for one last swim at the “far” beach (about a mile). About ten of the team set off with about 20 children and most of the interpreters. The kids do get on your nerves after a while – wanting to hold your hand, asking for things on your body (watch, necklace, sunglasses), asking your name… Although it sounds cute and is to start but it gets old quick as it is almost impossible to relax.

We got there and went out for a swim without the kids, then a walk up and down the beach. We saw lots of sponges and shells as well as hermit crabs (less than ½ inch shells), several species of lizard, and a sand pile where they were cooking charcoal – very interesting. Then back to the guest house taking a short cut through a family compound that had a nice selection of conch shells – all painted pink!

Back at the guesthouse we worked on finishing the inventory and trying to empty the luggage bags so we could take them back to the states to repack next trip. Dinner interrupter the packing – fried chicken and plantains, French fries, and beans and rice – along with Tang – and a very spicy slaw that was great. Only problem was that we ran out of water and there were only 12 bottles of water for the 16 crew and five interpreters until the morning. Some of the crew volunteered to survive the evening only drinking beer – such self sacrifice!

We finished the inventory and the power kept going in and out for an hour or so, then people got involved in cards and dominoes. We were still trying to figure where to store stuff as the night wore away.

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