Saturday, September 25, 2010

Market day

Market day

Friday and Tuesday are market days in Haiti. Our travel to and from
Dulcine was slowed by market on Friday, but it was well worth it to
enjoy the sights,sounds, and yes even smells!

Shelter from the storm

Some children outside our clinic in Dulcine taking shelter from the

Me and my translator posse

Typical rural house in Haiti

The latreen

A patient with a dislocated left shoulder

Appreciate the asymmetry of his shoulders. We googled how to reduce a
dislocated shoulder on my iPhone and found a utube demonstrating the
process. Hooray for technology!

How great thou art

A clip of a very covert video I tried to take of the Haitians singing
"how great thou art" in Creole as we opened our day on thursday I'm
prayer. Just listen, it's lovely, but don't look too hard as I was
accidentally holding my iPhone upside down so noone would get offended
that I was taking video.


A closer view of our "waiting room."


After having clinic at Trinity Presbyterian church Monday through
Wednesday, we travelled outside Goniaves into a more rural community,
Dulcine, for clinic Thursday and Friday. This was the scene upon our
arrival at 7am... Folks had been waiting since the wee hours of the
morning. The patients/villagers are in the forground and the school/
church we used as a clinic is past the people... It is a thatched hut
with a tin roof. This part of Haiti is very dry and dessert like, much
like Africa or the American southwest.

A very scared Haitian child

Can you tell I was totally getting sick?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Red beans and rice with fried plantains. The Cardura brothers
couldn't have done better.

Comi relief

These sisters came in mid- day and provided some much needed levity as
I had seen some heavy stuff earlier (two kids with structural heart
disease who need surgery but there's no pediatric heart surgeon here
as well as a mother of seven so depressed that she's neglecting her 4
month old). The one in shades is 8 "Christina" and the one with the
doll is 11 "precious". They giggled and frolicked the entire time they
were here. Despite their living a 20minute walk away and the fact that
they and their mom were in line at 4am to be seen today, they looked
so pretty in their Sunday best!

Slinky, slinky it's such a wonderful toy...

For a girl and a boy.

Tears after cerumen disimpaction

But very happy to be playing with a "puppet" which is the creole woes
for doll. Donated by VItas hospice folks! Thanks!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Except there are no banana trees in west v

My own back yard

It's awesome how small this world really is. I get so worked up about
"cross-cultural" polination that i am always struck and frankly
humbled when I am reminded of our collective humanity. Sitting
outside Trinity Presbyterian Church this afternoon here in Gonaives
was one such time.

After a great first day in clinic (we saw 160-ish patients, saw
some interesting diseases like filariasis, and made some new friends)
and as dinner was simmering, our team and our native hosts lounged in
the yard and watched the sunset. A storm was rolling in and there was
a rainbow off in the distance. We revelled in the breeze, marvelled at
the rainbow, laughed about and analyzed our day as a kitten curled up
beneath Bill's feet and children played and laughed in the distance.
The sounds and smells strangely reminded me of my childhood in West
Virginia on a summer evening and I felt at home.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Other sites on the road

Other sites along the road in Gonaives

On the road to Gonaives

Then there was this pleasure once we arrived in Goniaves... all the
roads on the main street had been torn up to "assess" the plumbing.
Really? And we can't find shelter for a million nationals still.

Oh well. We backed it up and went down some side streets to get to our
compound (essaie's church and property). Did you knowthat this city
(Gonaives) is the birth pls e of Haitian independance? Toussant
l'overture led the Haitians to freedom from the French and their
declaration of independance was signed here. The French charged this
country 14 million for its freedom (too expensive.... Even for
something French) setting into motion a cycle of debt and poverty.

The road to Gonaives

The three hour drive north from Port au Prince along the coast and
along the base of the mountains to Gonaives was NOT an easy one. The
folks that met as at the airport were un peu cranky , it is blistering
hot, the road is bumpy and curvy, and there was just that unexpected
developing country drama that unfolds in the roadways... Like cows
that won't move, goats that get confused and charge your two ton
pickup truck, and this ... A huge bus coming the other way that broke
down. It took 20 minutes to navigate through a ditch and part of a
rice patty to circumvent this fella.


Usually when I travel internationally I am kinda annoyed and
embarrassed by other Americans. However, this morning on the much-
delayed flight to Port au Prince with well over two hundred
passengers, the vast majority of whom were whiteys, I was actually
touched. It seems as if not everyone has forgotten about Haiti, as the
American media would have us think. The lady sitting to my left on the
plane is a medicine resident from NYC with Samaritans Purse and the
lady to my right is a house wife coming down to visit an orphanage
with a group from Noth Carolina. Keep serving, friends!

Stuck in Miami ...

Stuck un Miami for 24 hours...

With a free nights stay at the windham and food vouchers. A+ for
presentation and taste at local eatery. "Roughin it" missionary style,

Sent from my iPhone

Well, here I go again

This was the scene Friday night at mi casa! Over two hundred pounds of
toys, medicines, and hygiene supplies to take to Haiti thanks to the
good people at Vitas Hospice an Christ the King church!

Packing was easy as I feel like I just did this yesterday (although it
has been seven months since my last trip to Haiti--wow), but somehow I
still managed to pull an all-nighter Friday. Chatting and texting with
friends and family, sorting (ok and playing with) toys, and just
general jillannieousness kept me up all night. Oof! I'm too old for

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Haiti Day ?

We flew from Haiti to Puerto Rico for fuel and food and then on to
Atlanta where we landed about 9pm Tuesday. I couldn't help tearing up
a bit seeing the US flag. Ninety-five percent of the aid on ground in
Haiti currently (according to what I saw with my own eyes, this is not
an official stat) is from the United States and/or faith based

Haiti Day ?

One last glimpse back at this sweet but suffering country. I am
forever changed by this experience. I hope you have been moved,
informed, inspired, or at least amused by my feeble attempt to
document this trip in real-ish time by blogging.

Haiti Day ?

Delta is my new favorite airline. After 21 hours at the Port au Prince
airport, a charter flight from Delta came in with thousands of pounds
of supplies and volunteers. The good people of Delta agreed to let us
ride back with them! Also on the flight were 52 navy personnel who
had been on the USS Comfort for one month doing surgeries and
providing care to the Haitians.

Haiti day ?

Erin and Julia (pedi nurse and crisis counselor, respectively) were
rediculously chipper ( perhaps delerious) in the morning. More peanut
butter and " iced coffee" anyone?

Haiti day 8: Going home

Our fearless leader, Dan, approached every plane that came in through
the night and begged them to take us back to the states. There were
only 6 or so, and most of them were from Europe.

Haiti Day 8: Going home

Our options were limited. We couldn't go back to QCS as our campsite
was already taken and public transportation in Port au Prince is
still pretty much non existant. We considered hiring a driver to bus
us to the Dominican Republic, but we couldn't find one big enough and
the state department discourages night travel across the border due to
bus highjackings and robberies. So, we camped out at the airport.
The guards let us go through security so we could sleep on the benches
on the Tarmac and have access to the porta potties as there is no
plumbing still in the airport. This is where our survival skills came
in handy-ish as we had to survive on our dehydrated food and rationed

Haiti Day 8: going Home

Here is the line in front of us.

Haiti Day 8: going home

Our egress from Haiti was extraordinarily difficult. We arrived at the
airport at around 5 pm on Monday on the hopes of hopping on a military
flight back to the states. Unfortunately, we were about 150 deep in
line behind other expats. This is my team.

Haiti Day 8: going home

Toussant L'Overture International Airport from the paddy wagon.

Haiti Day 8: going home

Zoom in and you will see a satellite dish next to this tent. Glad to
see this person/family has their priorities in order.

Haiti Day 8: going home

Team members Adam and Erin in our mesh paddy wagon on the way to the
airport. We piled all our stuff in and then rode on top of it through
Port au Prince one last time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Haiti day 7: Though the mountains may shake

"Though the mountains may shake and the hills be removed, my steadfast
love for you shall not be shaken, and my covenenant of peace shall not
be removed," says the Lord who has compassion on you.

Haiti day 7: Though the mountains may shake

Haiti Day 7: though the mountains may shake

Even though we saw over 500 patients this week, there were folks we
couldn't get to. It was hArd to turn folks awAy. Thankfully, there
are still some workers And inixs here and more on the wAy.

Haiti Day 7: Though the mountains may shake

One of favorite groupies of the week!

Haiti Day 7: Though the mountains may shake

Saying goodbye to new friends is never easy. This is me with Gianni,
my awesome interpreter who worked with me l week. I could stay here
forever. It is so hard to leave as there is so much to be done!

Haiti Day 7: though the mountains may shake

The way we roll

Haiti day 7

Solidarity... Seen in graffiti all over Port au Prince