Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Medical team in Haiti - day 1

Sienna and 3 of her buddies from the neighborhood

We all arrived safe and sound in Haiti late this afternoon. The team, consisting of folks from New Orleans, Memphis and Columbus, met at the airport gate in Miami and then traveled the final leg of the route to Port-au-Prince together. We have doctors, physician assistants, pharmacists, paramedics, deacons, sign language translators, student volunteers and a communications person. Our diverse skills will complement each other well during our work at St. Vincent's.

Sadly, we were delayed at the PAP airport because a 50 lb bag full of supplies for St. Vincent's was lost. After at least an hour of searching, we finally filed a claim with the airline and went on to the guest house. We are hopeful that it will show up but who knows.

Two cars came to pick us up from the airport. We were only able to fit 9 of the 12 of us and our luggage in the vehicles, so 2 trips had to be made. Eventually, we all made it to the guest house and began organizing suitcase after suitcase after suitcase of medicine, medical equipment and supplies, toothpaste, soap, granola bars, books, toys, and various other things for the children and clinic at St. Vincent's.

After we were all settled in, ate dinner and showered to cool off, we planned to take a quick walk up to the corner bodega to chat with the local folks. Before we could go, business called. One of the other teams at the guest house brought a 2-year-old from the orphanage where they work in search of a doctor to see him. How could we possibly refuse? So we put our walk on hold and Dr. Susan examined him privately after the caregivers announced that they thought he might be contagious. Thankfully, he was diagnosed with bronchitis and was given treatment. All in a day's work in Haiti.

Eventually, we did get to go on our walk where we enjoyed our first dose of the Haitian heat punctuated with a cold drink. As soon as we got there, the kids swarmed Sienna, one of the volunteers from Memphis. She was like a magnet, drawing the kids out of their shells to talk, joke and play hand games. She has an amazing rapport with the kids and her Creole is admirable. (Author's note: I hope to learn some new words and phrases from her this week!)

We are all looking forward to our first task tomorrow, adding the new meds to the pharmacy, both physically and on our newly created inventory. Who knows what else the day will hold. Visiting with the kids, seeing JoJo and his latest artwork—it's all good.

What we do know is that many of us have been up since 3:00am and it is time to call it a day. More to report tomorrow as the work truly begins.

No comments: