Sunday, October 10, 2010

Arrived!

From my car window on the way from the airport to my house,  I "snapped" this photo of the extensive tent cities arrayed along the highway.  True to what we have read, they absolutely have a certain permanence about them.

As we climbed out of the downtown area toward my house I was struck by the liveliness of the streets-- vendors everywhere, hawking firewood, bananas,  and the recent rich harvest of oranges. Rubble seems to be in piles on the side of the road as much as it is still layered under collapsed homes just about everywhere.  Here and there new construction and fresh paint are a sweet sight.

My street is an obstacle course of trash piles, tent dwellings that have foundations, electricity and cookstoves; parked cars of all sorts, sleeping dogs, pedestrians, and puddles.

The house is hidden behind a huge heavy sliding steel gate.  It is more comfortable and secure feeling than I ever imagined.  We have wireless access, fans, a microwave, a stocked fridge (with Presidente and Prestige beer even).  I share with three nurses, two from Vancouver and one from Florida who are here with Rose Charities to instruct nurses in neonatal resuscitation and newborn management. 

The fifth person in the house is a young pediatrician from Philadelphia who is taking a leave from her community clinic job to work in Haiti, the Navajo reservation in Arizona and in southern India.  She and I will share the task of making rounds with the residents and teaching them for an hour and a half every day.

Besides the American Academy of Pediatrics, this venture is also sponsored by Health Frontiers. But just for the record, no one is paid to do this and everyone bought their own plane ticket and we all pay room, board, and car service from our own savings.  It's something else that drives this motley group of women.

We were introduced to the head of the Haitian Pediatric Society,  an elegant gentle man with three children who right away told us about his seventeen year old daughter and the challenges of raising a teenager in the age of cell phones!  Welcome Home.

When I was asked last week to present grand rounds to the Society next Friday  I began debating which topic to choose from the many powerpoint presentations I brought.  Needless worries.  Now that I've met Dr Evillard, I know. It will be: You Gotta Love'em: how to take the adolescent history.  OR some French translation which I will have to work on.

I look forward to the socio-cultural exchange ahead.

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