Hi everyone! Sorry for the delay in a blog post. Wifi is scarce, and although we are loving our experience here, we’ve been really busy, tired, and emotionally drained the last couple nights. On Thursday, we had another successful mobile clinic in a nearby town, and we were able to see around 200 patients.
Throughout the week, one of our nurse practioners and a few of our undergrads have been visiting the local nursing school, FSIL, and teaching them pathophysiology classes. This school is the only Bachelors accredited nursing school in Haiti, and they were celebrating their eighth anniversary on Thursday. Due to the close relationship they formed this week with the BC girls who taught them, they invited us to their huge party last night. We were able to stop by their party for a few hours and were so grateful that they thought to include us in the celebration. The girls who chose to spend some of their days here teaching them want to give you all an update on their experience, and will post their own thoughts tomorrow on a separate blog post.
Today was unfortunately our last day in the mobile clinic. The location was the most difficult to coordinate, as there was limited furniture and appropriate space for each clinical specialty. From the moment that we arrived, we all had to accommodate the patients awaiting care while also trying to determine how to make the best of our selected location. We were able to take a few minutes before the start of the day to gather in remembrance of the earthquake, which occurred three years ago tomorrow. We stood in a circle, hand-in-hand with our patients and translators with thoughts and prayers for all of those who lost their lives or were deeply affected by this tragedy.
Despite the emotions and chaos of the day, we really pulled together as a team and got the most out of our last day in the clinic. Although we were upset that it was our last clinical day here, we each had patients and experiences today that made us realize what a difference we have made.
One patient that stood out to many of us was actually a lady who originally was not going to go to the clinic because she “didn’t have the money,” although she was due in four days with her 6th child. Our videographer, Liz, and photographer, Lexey, were exploring a bit outside of the clinic to get some good footage, when they found Margalie looking very pregnant and in pain. The translator that was with them helped them convince Margalie to come back, telling her we would pay for her to be seen. We were able to do an exam to determine that she was 3 cm dilated, listen to the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler, and estimate the position of the baby. We gave her a birthing kit and educated her on the safest way to deliver her baby at home. We came to find out she had five other kids and was already struggling to provide for them every day. We came together as a team and gave her whatever we could: a little bit of money, granola bars, onesies, t-shirts for her older kids, etc. She told our translator, “I am so thankful to all of you for doing this for me. I didn’t have enough money to come here earlier, but it was God’s will for me to meet you today. Thank you.” A few of us then walked her home, only to discover that her “home” was an area smaller than a one-car garage, walled in by bed sheets and tin. She allowed us to see the inside of her home, which was neatly organized and well-kept, but clearly not big enough for her seven, soon to be eight, person family. This was such a reality check for us, especially walking away from her house realizing that some closets are larger than her house for an eight- person family.
Overall, it was an incredible, moving way to end our week in Leogane. Tomorrow, we set out for Port-Au-Prince early in the morning, where we will visit another orphanage. On Sunday we will be able to go to Mother Teresa’s Church for mass and to help feed children in need through the nutrition clinic there. Tomorrow is sure to be a difficult day for all because it is the third anniversary of the Earthquake. We will have much better wifi in Port-Au-Prince, so we will be able to upload more photos and stories tomorrow night or Sunday.
Lindsay & Erin