Sunday, January 31, 2010

Into Haiti and back

Sitting in a large airy building surrounded by doctors and nurses of all stripes from all countries-Korea, Spain, some in spiffy uniforms, others in scrubs.

Yesterday the team I have bonded with(described before I think) went two hours away to a small village inside Haiti. People on the team who have worked in Africa said it felt like one of the remotest places they had visited there. Our flatbed truck, loaded with workers(ie us guys) and supplies arrived and was swarmed with bare children, wizened (?AIDS) old ladies, diseased limbs, and snotty nosed babies.

We set up a clinic in the church and examined about 150 people for all manner of fairly mild acute illnesses. The most striking thing was the remarkable malnutrition, including the characteristic reddish hair on jet black children. My Haitian translator said it was the worst poverty he had ever seen. We handed out mediciines even though we were missing the most basic things: food, vitamins, soap and immunizations. Huge problem of ditribution here and everywhere related to this catastrophe.

We had a great time doing this, felt like we made some small difference even if it was to pass out pain medication and make a few diagnoses of pregnancy. Had we had birth control pills, I think they might have accepted; women had 6-10 children.

waiting arrival of a blackhawk helicopter to evacuate some twenty patients to other facilities so more can come up from Port Au Prince.

Highlight of the day was my conversation in the cab of the flatbed with the Pastor who accompanied us to this village where he is a sometime preacher. He belongs to a group of 1600 pastors across Haiti who want to "reconstruct Haiti" including education, health, participatory democracy and reforestation. We were able to connect him and his organization to two on our team who have worked for the Clinton Foundation and who now work for wealthy foundations including Sarlo Foundation.

Planning to go into PAP as soon as we have permission and security from our leader (Real Medicine Foundation). Word from people there say it is beyond imagination. That food, water and shelter have still not been delivered in anywhere near adequate numbers. stay tuned.

5 comments:

  1. We are grateful for this window into your extraordinary experience. Wow. Stay safe. Love, Patti

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  2. No reporter could tell us more about Haiti than you. your experience is alive and lived. I wish you to keep safe too.
    love
    g

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  3. Hi Ann, who (what entity) is coordinating the verious sites of medical triage, emergency surgery, evacuation, etc? Or is it all still ad hoc? Who authorized the Black Hawk? How do the various medical NGOs decide who does what and where? Can your group resupply at some general depot or do you have to ship in your own supplies? Keep Safe! David Ulmer

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  4. Dear ANN,

    you are held by me in the Light
    and Haiti is too

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  5. Hi Ann,
    I ran into professor Gomez yesterday and she informed me of your work in Haiti. Bless you! I volunteered in Haiti as a high school student and have been aching to go back, but at the moment, I lack the kind of expertise that could be useful. I am so glad to see another smart, competent person down there. Good luck to you!

    Becky Shapiro

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