Google+ WTN Haiti Partnership: Morning after first day in Haiti

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Morning after first day in Haiti

It is now 6 AM and I am at the computer, not something I usually do at this time of day. But last night the internet was down so this morning is my chance to send news home. I am sitting in a darkened guest house, everyone else is still asleep. I am usually an early riser anyway, but in Haiti the monkey birds have been awake for hours and are calling to each other in the background. Monkey birds, aptly named for their strange screeching calls, are much louder than the roosters, who also crow all night. I grew up believing roosters only crow at sunrise! Ear plugs and benadryl are the only way I can sleep when I am here. I am usually keyed up with excitement anyway.
We arrived safely on Monday evening, all 15 team members minus 4 of our bags. Of course, one of the bags had the paschal candle we brought to Pere Sadoni from Memphis. The struggle to find a bag that would accomodate a 36 inch candle is a story in itself. But thanks to Preston Johnson we found a sturdy canvas garment bag that would serve.
Yesterday morning (Tuesday) Pere Sadoni took me to the airport to get our bags. The lady at the airport told me,in her lilting Kreyol accented english, "We are very sorry, but your bags will come tomorrow". I went away telling Pere Sadoni about the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy is told, "GO AWAY, AND COME BACK TOMORROW". Of course he has never seen this movie, but we laughed about it. As we were walking down the LONG covered walkway away from the airport, someone came running after us to tell us they found our bags after all! So we found all 4 bags that were missing, including the bag with the candle. I told Pere Sadoni, "Well, we got to see the Wizard after all."
We returned to St Vincent's where the rest of our team had set up clinic and were seeing the children. We saw 50 students yesterday and did wellness assessments, while Dr Jemison and Amy Chanin, physician assistant, saw about a dozen sick children. Mostly minor stuff, like sore throats and a cough or two. One child who complained of "poor appetite" was found by Dr Jemison to have a significant heart murmur and other signs of heart disease. A conversation with the mother told us that the child has seen a doctor about this and needs "further testing" which the mother cannot afford. Many unanswered questions, like whether the child could see a cardiologist if funds were provided, what exactly is the heart defect (which could be determined with an echocardiogram or ultrasound of the heart), what kind of followup could the child have in Haiti, etc. I will ask Pere Sadoni today more about if/how some of the children could see a cardiologist and how to make that happen, or if it is even possible.
I wish I had time to write more but breakfast is served and coffee is waiting. Wonderful, delicious Haitian coffee. I don't even drink coffee in the states, but in Haiti it is a treat and an accent to begin the day.
Many thanks to all of you who prayed for our safe travels here. We left Memphis 2 hours late, and with only a 50 minute connection in Miami I just knew we would be spending the night in Miami. I told God, "If you want us in Haiti today, you're going to have to make it happen, because there is NO WAY we are going to make that connection in Miami." Well, here we are. Bon se bon (God is good)

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