We spent the last two days with complete immersion into the Haitian culture. We started Saturday morning at Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men which is a multi-lingual school funded by Foundation For Peace in pursuit of teaching English, Spanish, French, and computer classes for less than $4 to the student. The students were quite curious and eager in asking questions about the American culture and our perspective of Haiti.
Christine (left) and Ektaa (right) conducting English classes.
Later in the afternoon, we set up a clinic in the schoolyard where we saw about 80 students. What was unique about this experience was that some of the students helped in translating; they were very ecstatic to practice speaking the English they have been learning for the past few months.
Nicole gathering patient history.
We attended a Haitian church service on Sunday morning at Pastor Valentin’s church. We were greeted by a very friendly community and participated in singing and dancing at the church that was led by only children. It was great to see how involved the children were in putting this event together.
Our leader, Helen, thanking the church members for a warm welcome.
Shortly after the service, we were guided by the Foundation For Peace staff to tour the local community. We took a bit of a scenic hike through many fields to a small village where church members live. They were living in quite unfortunate circumstances where a small hut would be home to at least 8 people. Despite their living conditions, the people of the community welcomed us with open arms.
Days two and three were a whirlwind, as we embarked upon an adventure in the villages of Kwa Kok and Jaquet. Within two days we were able to see greater than 200 patients. Making diagnosis were drastically altered by the norms of the Haitian culture and prevalences of diseases in the community such as malaria, dehydration, typhoid, parasites, and nutritional deficiencies.
We were able to gather information from our patients with the help of our hardworking interpreters, who worked hard at gathering appropriate patient history. They also went above and beyond about educating us on Haitian culture.
The eve of both clinical days were spent sorting and labeling medications appropriate for our patient population. In comparison to the US when treating our patients we were often unable to use first line treatment, we were required to be creative with our medication choices.
Despite the overwhelming amount of patients seen we were able to work well as a team and meet the needs of our patients.
After seeing hundreds of patients this week, we spent our day off with some R&R at Moulin Sur Mer. It was a beautiful beach with clear, blue waters and soft waves. Later that evening, the Foundation For Peace organized a Creole class to help us better communicate with the patients we were seeing.
Relaxing and bonding at Moulin Sur Mer
The patient population we saw that day was quite different from those earlier in the week. They were more educated and some even spoke English. The kids were more playful and eager to ask questions. A lot of the care we provided was surrounded around patient education and prophylactic treatment.
Joya discussing adolescent growth
The day was filled with a great amount of teamwork as the Pastor of the church, Pastor Valentin, was present the whole day to keep things organized. Pastor Valentin’s sister, who is a NICU nurse in Haiti, was also present to help triage and assess vital signs.
Our amazing team for the day
We were fortunate to work on a team with many hard workers that came together to provide optimal patient outcomes!
Our day started off bright and early where we were greeted by the Foundation For Peace staff with breakfast. Shortly after we boarded our bus to visit Elbenizer Hospital for our first patient encounter in Haiti.
This is a local hospital that sees patients outpatient of a variety of ages, has a lab, operating room, an emergency room with 1 bed, and a few about 10-15 inpatient beds.
Our team split up to work with the Haitian doctors and nurses to efficiently treat a room full of patients.This was our first day working with Creole translators and providing care which had it’s difficulties taking a history. We also were introduced to diseases that are common among Haitian populations and learned how they present and how to treat.
After enjoying another delicious Haitian meal, our evening concluded with packing and sorting supplies for our next day’s clinic.