Blog post written by Dorene Palermo.
Time moves faster as each day goes by!
The routine in the clinic moved things along quickly, even though our medical team had more “serious” patients than any trip before. Unfortunately our poor dentist Joe never got a compressor that worked until noon on Friday. We joked that his having to treat his patients with totally inadequate equipment was almost like pulling teeth (OK, I’m sorry for that!). Nevertheless he did manage to extract more than 100 teeth during the week, as well as train four different people as his assistant. And we never saw Joe without a smile!
Thursday started even earlier than usual. We hit the road at 6:30am! The traffic at 6:30am was unbelievable, and once again the tap-tap ride ensured we were wide awake! Our first stop was at the HOM campus Terre Noire, where Nadege Gay’s office is located and where we delivered the children’s clothes last year. As we pulled through the gate, leaving the mad, mad world of Haitian traffic behind, we heard children singing. We hopped out of the tap taps and headed for the courtyard, to find all of the school children lined up, by class, their teacher standing at the head of the group, lustily singing songs in unison. The sight and sounds sent chills over each of us.
At the end of one song, everyone turned to the right and began to sing the Haitian National Anthem. The principal made some announcements, and then class by class the students filed into the sanctuary for the worship program held on the last Thursday of every month.
At this point those team members with a Sponsored Student at Terre Noire met with the child, gave them a small gift, and had their pictures taken. I wandered off with Nadege to pick up some Science Books to help us prepare for our mission trip to the schools next spring, and to look at the new library. In just three years, Nadege has created four new libraries, one for each school. I was very interested to learn how to donate French books to these beautiful spaces for these wonderful children. I also met the school Administrator who Nadege says does “everything”. He started at Terre Noire when he was 3! Another example of the success of the school!
At this point, those “new” team members, on their first visit to Haiti, took one tap tap to visit Jacky at the high school and see the new construction underway for grades 10-13. The classrooms are immaculate of course. Leon expects to have this new building completed next year for the rising class to begin, even though at this point they are not sure where the money will come from. HOM truly operates on faith.
Outside the building, a group of students were working in a garden where they not only learn but grow some of their own food. HOM uses the Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now) food that WPC helps provide, augmented by some other items, to feed 1,600 people each day!
The rest of us proceeded to the clinic to get set up and begin to see patients. At 7:45 am when we arrived, there were the 110 people already awaiting us. At lunch, the doctors had a short conference with Dr. Quincy, the Haitian doctor, to exchange information and questions from the experiences so far this week. Tonight, Dr. Quincy, accompanied by his two children whom we met last year, and his mother in law joined us for dinner, and the medical information sharing continued! It is so great to return to Haiti and be able to spend more time with the people we have met and to enjoy the relationships that are developing.
We have had two of our translators for all three years, and it is such fun to get back together with them and work with them. They really are friends of ours now and they are able to take over more and more tasks in the clinic, helping it all work so much better and be so much more fun! Chenil, for example, took over completely receiving patients at the front gate, doing the admissions paperwork, getting the age, weight, etc. and directing them to triage– something I had been doing last year.
By Thursday, he had also gotten Sergo, who managed the crowds outside, and the two tap tap drivers (who have to sit around all day waiting in case we need them) to become involved in helping people before triage. As they became more engaged, they were happier doing something to help, and their smiles and helpfulness continued to increase. Such a wonderful thing!
Once again we enjoyed a good dinner, and gratefully retreated from the 95+ degree heat all day into our air conditioned bedrooms, hoping that the generator will once more keep the power going all night so we can sleep in comfort.
Each day we are more tired, but still look forward to the next. God is indeed good to us.