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Monday, September 20, 2004

My First Experience Working In Haiti - September 20

It was a long day today. We all came back to the hospital after working in the rural village of Boussan -- we were hot, tired, and dirty -- and all very hungry. Goat never tasted better to me than it did at tonight's dinner.

Well, come to think of it, when we lived in Miami the Sohan-Dass family always cooked goat for my family at Christmas. But as good as that was, they never served it to me when I was as tired and hungry as I was tonight.

Our mission this morning took our team to Boussan, where we sat up our mobile clinic for the day. Our base of operations was a tiny church building. Pigs and chickens wandered around our medical clinic, weaving between patients. The rest room facilities were behind the church (reminding me of what my son said about basic military training -- "There's no latrine - just a 'la tree'.") The weather was great! We worried about getting a little rain, but all we got was a refreshing cloud cover. (We had no idea some of you were worrying about the news reports of the bad weather. I just read about the large number of deaths here in Haiti a few moments ago -- but the weather here is fine)

This is my fist visit to Haiti, and it is a different type of mission trip than I have been on before. It is more of a medical mission -- but if you have ever thought about coming to Haiti on one of our trips but didn't because you are not a medical professional -- think again about joining us on our next trip.

Bill K. is not a medical professional. He is, however, an engineer. While the rest of us were on the field, he remained at the hospital doing electrical repairs. We are all very grateful he was here last year. He set up the airconditioning in the hospital's guest house. Thanks to Bill, when we came in from the medical clinic, we were able to enjoy some comfortable and cool rest.

I obviously have no medical background, but I was able to take part in the work in Boussan. I was part of the triage team. Mike, Bill J, John, Ashley and I did the triage. Patients were organized in a line by one of our interpreters. They would bring us a card with their name and age, and we would take note of their vital signs. It doesn't take much training to take blood pressure, pulse, respiration rate and temperature. Hey -- if I can do it, you can as well! Or there is work here at the hospital such as the electrical work that Bill is doing (or any number of other things you might be able to do).

After the triage, the patient would sit in the simple pews of the church and wait to see one of the nurses (Barb or Priscilla). Usually, they would then visit Jane in our pharmacy (set up on the porch fo a vacant shack).

We saw 132 patients today -- that's 132 children of God.

Tomorrow we are headed for another village to set up another mobile clinic -- that's after we get to visit the Voodoo temple. I can't wait! Hopefully the weather will be as glorious as it was today -- for both the temple and the clinic!


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