Haiti 2012 - Day 2
DAY 2: Well day 2 felt like a week. We went left the house at 9am on the back of a motorcycle. The driver and me in the middle and my translator on the back. We rode to the poorest part of the city by the river to attend church. The church had bare floors and a tin roof and thatched walls. They had decorated the church for our arrival by stringing toilet paper from the roof. They also had a chalkboard message welcoming us in English. The people were so appreciative that we choose their church. They had "matwons" or local midwives from the community to talk to us about the help they need. There was a little girl about Cosy's age. She was so cute and kept looking at me so one of the church members put her on my lap. She curled up in my arms and took a nap for over an hour! It was so sweet and made me crave the girls in my arms. The service was two hours and then they had a community meeting with us. They kept thanking us for being here in Haiti and in their community so we could help them. Midwives for Haiti started last month going there the first Friday of the month offering education to the matwons. They gave us a list of supplies they need. They also asked us to help them with their school. The school in town you have to pay for and have uniforms, which they can not afford. They have a school for the children and they do not have to have clothes or shoes. But they have no supplies and the teachers quit because they could not get funding for their $90s a month salary. Their were so many children in this slum. Beautiful kind people but hard to see.
We finally got back to the house and rested a bit. Then it was off to our orientation at the hospital. It was 100x worse than I could have imagined. I seriously feel so unprepared to work there tomorrow. It is almost indescribable. The postpartum unit is just lined with beds and women laying with their babies - hot and dirty. The antepartum beds are the same - just like something out of a movie. The laboring women just walk around and once in transition they get put on these awful exam tables to deliver. Everything is dirty, the supplies are a mess. There is no anesthesia, no c/s between 4p - 8am because the only doctor leaves - so women just die. Babies die every day. There is no nursery so all preterm babies die and many come in stillborn from high blood pressure, etc. We looked at the log book for births and literally everyday there are babies that don't make it. There was a woman today who lost her full term baby from high blood pressure and she was lucky enough to be getting a blood transfusion, which is not always available.
We came back to the house and had an hour Creole lesson. The young man teaching us is 18 and an orphan. He lives at the local orphanage and taught himself English studying in the orphanage library. For $5 we got our lesson and for another $5 we got a booklet he put together. The Creole sounds beautiful with its solid French foundation.
Then it was time to get a few trinkets. The people from the church came to sell us their goods and a beautiful woman from across the street sells goods from her home. She lives in a little shack with her husband, her elderly mother and her 5 children.
Next we got in the jeep and went to the orphanage. There are 67 girls and 200 boys. It is ran by a couple of Xavier monks. One old monk has been there for over 26 years. There is a girls area and a boys area. The girls have no one to care for them. The older girls just care for the young ones. The boys are cared for by the monks and just get more attention in general. It was so bizarre. It had just gotten dark and the monk was upstairs reading a book and the children were just running around everywhere - hundreds of them. We will be there a few more times. On Friday night we will show a community health movie there for the kids.