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Free counter Dr. Pittendreigh's Mission To Haiti 2004: September 2004

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Maynard with Haitian Children Posted by Hello

Final Reflections On Haiti - September 30

(If you are reading this "blog" for the first time, the most recent entries are at the top of the page. To read from the beginning, simply scroll down and work your way up).

Haiti is a unique nation. The first impression that most people have of the country is its poverty. It is certainly true that poverty is widespread and intense -- 80% of the country lives in poverty.

My strongest first impression of Haiti, however, was the lack of sanitation. Almost everything is dirty. Trash is everywhere. We're not talking about a little bit of litter -- it's a lot and it's all over the place. We walked on one beach and the shoreline was covered with trash.

Part of the sanitation problem is the absence of an adequate sewage system and public restrooms. Men and women relieve themselves in public, making little or no effort to find any privacy. On rare occasions, churches and schools have outhouses. The hospital in Leogane has its own septic tank system and has effecient toilet system. The Hotel Montana in Port au Prince also has American style bathrooms. But these are rare exceptions.

And yet, while there is trash everywhere, there is also wonderful and colorful artwork everywhere. You see wonderful and creative art in the hotels and in the churches, but even the buses and "taptaps" are painted in creative ways.

I did not write much about the Hopital Sainte Croix in Leogane. One of our team members stayed at the hospital daily, working on electrical systems. The rest of us left the hospital each day in order to set up the mobile clinics. However, each night we stayed in the hospital compound. One of the team members gave me a good tour of the place.

The hospital is a large building, and is very prominent in the small town of Leogane. It is in a walled compound that provides a safe environment. Inside the compound are offices, a chapel or church building, living accomodations for a couple of the staff, the guesthouse, and of course the hospital itself.

The hospital is poorly lit. Compared to American hospitals, it is dark and dirty. When I looked in the pharmacy, I saw shelves that were completely bare. Patients often sleep on plastic covered mattresses without sheets. They depend on family members to be personal caregivers, helping them bath or use the restroom. And yet, the patients who come here speak glowingly of the wonderful care they received. In an impoverished nation lacking adequate health care, Sainte Croix provides what is unavailable to many Haitian communities.

Haiti is a dangerous place. Anyone who comes here should certainly know this before visiting. The State Department has travel warnings for this country. If you get in trouble, don't expect to be able to secure the help of the police. If you become ill or have an accident, there are few hospitals.

However, it is not a frightening place.

I never felt fear -- just an elevated sense of caution and awareness. But I feel that in some parts of Atlanta.

The people we encountered seem genuinely honest and good folk. They have good humor. They love their families and friends.

They are, without doubt, children of God. They are loved by their Creator and they stand in need of our love. The work done by Good Shepherd and other visiting groups gives a great deal to a people who need help.

May God continue to bless the mission efforts of our church, and the people of Haiti.

The empty shelves of the hospital pharmacy Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

We're Home! - September 29

Just a quick note to let everyone know that the Mission Team is back in the USA!

We're all safe and sound and very thankful for the amazing things we've seen and done. The delay in our return is unique to this trip. As we all know, this has been a different and intense hurricane season. I doubt that such a delay would happen to you if you were to join a future mission team.

Haiti is a great place. The people are wonderful and the land has a unique beauty. But its people are hurting in many ways and mission trips like this are a great asset to them.

Want to see some pictures??? Click
to see a few of the many photos we took.

See everyone in church this Sunday!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Homeless in Haiti - September 28

For a while, those of us who had to remain at the Hotel Montana thought we would be homeless in Haiti.

The hotel has overbooked for Tuesday night and we were going to have to check out -- with no place to stay! Since Saturday, I've been trying to get in touch with our travel agent or her office, but no luck! Someone on the hotel staff, understanding the difficulty everyone seems to be having getting out of Haiti, said we would be able to sleep on a terrace near the swimming pool. That was very reassuring! The last place I'd want to be is on the streets.

With the help of both the US Embassy and the staff at the Hotel Montana, we secured a room at the Kinam Hotel in Petionville, a part of Port au Prince.

We are very grateful that we will NOT be homeless in Haiti.

Hotel Kinam in Petionville Posted by Hello

Continuing to work in Haiti - September 28

The part of the group that returned to Leogane had the opportunity to join another group that included two doctors. The heat made the day very difficult, but they were able to see 197 patients!

It now looks like we will be leaving Haiti tomorrow, shortly after High Noon. We are looking forward to arriving in Atlanta a little after 8 PM.

Those of us who stayed in Port au Prince had a bit of a scare -- there is no room in the inn at the Hotel Montana. All hotels are booked -- mostly because of the activity of UN personnel, news media and relief workers who are coming and going to and from the flood area. For a while it looked like we might spend the night around the swimming pool (which the hotel was going to let us do). However, we finally found accomodations at the Hotel Kiman in Petionville.

Thanks for everyone's prayers!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Against All Odds And In The Face Of Overwhelming Advsersity - September 27

I want to do everything I can to encourage more people at Good Shepherd to join us in these annual trips to Haiti, and to other mission fields. However, I do not want any to join one of these trips with a misunderstanding of the hazards one might face.

Haiti is a dangerous part of the world. Currently, the State Department is advising Americans to avoid travel to Haiti. From time to time the Presbyterian Church recommends churches cancel mission trips, which happened to one of our scheduled Haiti missions not long ago.

But the whole world is dangerous, and one needs to be careful wherever we travel. And in some places, the level of awareness and caution has to be elevated.

Haiti is such a place. I believe we are safe, but there is an elevated awareness of the possibility of danger.

Two of us are still in Port au Prince, while the rest of the team went back to Leogane. I mentioned this earlier, but I didn't say why. One of our team members was very sick. Just the usual traveler's bug, and he's fine now. Well, maybe not fine -- but definitely better.

He needed some medicine, however, and I'm nearly out of my own prescription medicine. You don't need a doctor's prescription here in Haiti. The staff at the Hotel Montana arranged for a driver to take us to a pharmacy and to a grocery store.

It is my impression that the grocery store we went to was one of the finest in Haiti. It is more like a large convenience store one would find in the States. The meat department shelves were bare. But there were lots of breads, fruits, and packaged items. We bought several packaged items, imported from Mexico or America.

Coming out of the grocery store we were stopped by a police officer -- the first police officer I had seen in this nation. There are only 2,500 of them in this nation of 8 million. Most are supposed to be corrupt.

As we were leaving, he stopped us by tapping my chest with his shot gun.

"You like my gun," he asked.

My partner and I stopped but said nothing.

"How long have you been in this country?"

"How long are you staying here?"

"What are you doing here?"

"Where are you staying?"

"You have money?"

To that, I answered with a vague, "We had enough to buy some groceries."

There were several other questions -- questions about why we were there, who was with us, and what we thought of the Haitian political situation -- a topic I claimed to be ignorant about.

I found this very uncomfortable, until the policeman noticed my shirt, which had the Presbyterian cross and the words, "Presbyterian Church, USA."

He tapped the church's insignia on my chest with his shot gun and asked, "You are Presbyterian?"


"Presbyterians helped my son last year. He was sick."

I normally would have loved to have asked for more details, but I remained silent.

"You may go," he finally said -- which is what I was waiting to hear!

From there we went to the pharmacy -- a building with bars on the windows and doors. The entire shop was a very small room. The shelves had some products, but not many. Most of the drugs were kept behind the counter, just as in America. But as I said earlier, one doesn't need a prescription. No insurance coverage either.

We bought what we needed and returned to the hotel.

There is growing tension in the hotel. I have noticed people arguing with one another about the flood area. Relief workers are not getting help to Gonaives where it is needed. When they are able to reach the people, the crowds riot, fighting over the food and water. Distribution has been haulted until the UN peacekeeping forces or others can restore some sort of order.

However, I do not feel we are unsafe. One has to be careful and cautious here, as Haiti does have its dangers. However, as long as we continue to be watchful and careful, we should be as safe here as we would be in any foreign nation. The Hotel Montana has a great staff, and they have been helpful. I am also in contact with the American Embassy and they know who we are and where we are. They have provided us with some advice to avoid any possible dangers.

Still, with the work in Leogane finished, I think we will be glad to be getting home!

Grocery Store Shelves in Port au Prince Posted by Hello

Update on Haiti -- The Mudslides and Floods - September 27

Two of us are still at the Hotel Montana in Port au Prince, while the others have returned to the hospital at Leogane.

Remaining here at the hotel I have found some opportunities to serve as a sort of hotel chaplain. Many members of the press are here at the hotel. We often think of these folks as hardy, tough, dispationate individuals, but as I have talked to many of them I have found them to be deeply devasted by what they have seen in the areas north of us where there has been extensive flooding.

You probably know more than we do about the flood areas. We have heard that over 1,000 people have died and another 1,000 are missing. The reporters I have talked to speak of walking in waist-deep water and having to move through floating bodies of lifestock and people.

The Haitians are trying to bury the dead. Many are being buried in mass graves, which the Haitians find disturbing. Some are being buried in cemeteries. Many Haitians bury their dead in their own yards, which I'm told is culturally appropriate in this country.

Many of the reporters I've talked to are Christian and we had prayer together. They covet your prayers as well for themselves and the hurting people they have seen.

Wearing either a clerical collar shirt or a T-Shirt that bears the Presbyterian seal has opened many doors of conversation. This morning I met a lady from a Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. She is here through (I believe) the Red Cross.

Some of you have emailed me with the question, "how can I help? What can I send?"

I would suggest nothing be sent, but rather support qualified organizations that will be sending materials. Several of the reporters I talked with said they have seen trucks with water and food pulling out of the area of devastation because the crowds literally attack the truck, endangering the relief workers and themselves. They are trying to get support from the UN peacekeeping forces and others so they can distribute materials safely and effectively -- by now that may have been done. I simply don't know. (Remember, there is little in the way of police protection in this country. We have been told there are 2,500 police in this nation of 8 million).

Again, let me say we are in Leogane and Port au Prince, and far from the disaster areas.

One way you can help is to give to the Presbyterian Church, USA. The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program is engaged in relief efforts. Indicate on your check that your contribution is to go to Haiti #9-2000166, and our treasurer will pass your contribution on to Haitian relief.

I have been in contact with the Presbyterian Church, USA, headquarters in Louisville to ask them what we are doing as a denomination. They tell me that the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is responding to Haiti in cooperation with others with the emergency delivery of food, water and kitchen utensils. Now that the water is receding and access to Gonaïves by road is now possible, the Presbyterian Church is sending a volunteer to Gonaive to evaluate the capacity of 20 local churches to receive and manage food aid. They are also proposing the provision of medical assistance and psychosocial care.

Another way you can help is to make an extra donation to the Mission's budget of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church. This trip is turning out much longer than we expected, and your contributions will be needed!!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Sunday, part II - September 26

As it turns out, we are not leaving today.

We will be flying out on Wednesday. (We hope).

We are now checking out of the hotel and are headed back to Leogane where we will be staying at the hospital. There is another group already there, working, so quarters will be tight!

Keep us in your prayers!

We're Out of Here -- We HOPE - September 26

The latest is that in a few minutes we are leaving the Hotel Montana in hopes of getting onto flight 896 American Airlines, which leaves at 1:15 for New York.

If it isn't this flight, it may be Wednesday.

However, there is some good news.

There is a woman at the hotel who is a native of Atlanta. We asked Anita if there was a place to eat near the hotel, besides the same hotel restaurant we've been eating at.

"Dominoe's Pizza delivers," she said.

Yeah, right. There are no American restaurants here in Haiti. Unlike visiting other nations, there are no familiar McDonalds, Pizza Huts, etc.

But wait -- she was serious! Mike called and they said they would have the pizza at the hotel in 20 minutes. Let me see, 20 minutes in Haitian time, that should be an hour or so.

Twenty minutes later, the pizza was at the hotel.

Without question, it was the best pizza I've ever savored.

When the blessing was offered, it was an honest prayer: "God, we are always grateful for pizza, but rarely as grateful as we are right now!"


Dominos Delivers! Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 25, 2004

We thought this would be our last supper in Haiti, Hotel Montana, Port au Prince Posted by Hello

We're Staying Longer -- Part II - September 25

In addition to the entry I posted earlier today, here is the latest.

We are checking possible flights to places other than through Miami. Mike is checking on New York, Houston, etc. The weather news suggests that we MIGHT not get out until Monday, but we are doing all we can to come home as soon as possible!

We definitely have the hotel rooms for the night, so that is not going to be a problem.

I just talked to a very young Canadian reporter. He was in Grenada on assignment and was sent here to Haiti to cover the mudslides in the Northern parts of the country. He was very distraught. "I've never seen anything like it," he kept saying, as he talked about walking in waist-deep water and seeing corpses float by.

Whatever discomfort or inconvenience we are experiencing is nothing. The weather here is great, and as I said in the earlier entry, we are safe.

As a reminder to the Good Shepherd folks -- don't forget that tonight is the kick off for the Forty Days of Purpose! Unless you are stuck in a foreign country, you probably have no excuse to miss tonight's program :)

See you soon!

Maynard Pittendreigh

We're Staying A Little Longer Than Expected! - September 25

We were surprised to learn that Hurricane Jeanne has made a complete circle and has headed back to Florida.

Looks like we will be staying in Port au Prince for the day. There are no flights leaving Haiti for Florida.

The good news is -- we are safe. The weather here is great. We probably have no problems getting rooms at the Hotel Montana for an extra night (we are still working on that). If nothing else we will just go back to the hospital in Leogane. We have reservations for flights tomorrow, so if the jets are flying, we will leave on Sunday. It is, however, possible for us to be here until Monday. As the commercial says, "Send Snickers, we're going to be a while!"

Some things are beyond our control, but rest assured your mission team is safe and sound.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Final Clinic -- September 23

Today's clinic was set up at a Methodist Church, which also contained a school. I found the school very interesting. Children sit in benches and recite from the teacher. The rooms have walls, but no doors. Some classes were divided only by black boards.
While we were in the church, there were some folks decorating for a wedding, and that was interesting. They were making lots of decorations for the ceremony.
We saw 130 patients today -- more than any other day. The clinic was terribly hot!

Haitian patients Posted by Hello

The Outhouse -- always an adventure! Posted by Hello

Setting up Thursday's clinic at a church near Leogane Posted by Hello

We've Seen Some Amazing Things - September 23

One of our translators took us to a Voodoo Temple the other day and has often talked about Voodoo with us. "I personally do not believe in this Voodoo," he will often insist, but then he will go onto describe "the amazing things" one sees with Voodoo.

Seeing "amazing things" is a favorite phrase. He will talk about people who are set on fire but do not burn, or people who hold a red hot piece of metal but are not injured, or people who disappear and then reappear before your very eyes -- well, as he says: "amazing things."

We have seen amazing things here in Haiti.

Children with temperatures as high as 103 have been given medicine.

Adults have been treated for painful and lifethreatening ailments.

Children and adults have been given tooth brushes and have been taught how to use them.

Electrical work has been done at the hospital.

These are real, and they are amazing to see.

I invited you to ask questions and you have. I've had trouble with AOL, so I only have some of your questions. I will answer all of them when I'm back in the States. With the trouble I've had with AOL, I'm glad I set up this "web blog."

1. HOW CAN I BE INVITED TO JOIN A MISSION TEAM? I have received this question from more people than any other. You do not have to be invited. All you need to do is ask Ask NOW, and you are "on the list" for the next trip.

2. IF I GO, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? I can't remember the exact amount, but it is about $800. Ask me personally when I return, or check out the Good Shepherd web page and look up the Mission Trips page under Missions. I THINK it is about $800 per person. That includes everything but what you might buy personally.

3. WHAT ARE THE RESTROOMS REALLY LIKE?? Think camping. Actually, it is better than that. At the hospital there are Western style, or American style toilets. If you were to come and work only at the hospital, that would not be a concern. On the mobile clinics, however, there have been outhouses -- however, I personally recommend a good tree.

4. WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE? It has been very good, and there has been enough variety that most people can find something they can eat. Lots of rice, bread, meats (chicken, goat or fish), salad, bananas and other fruit. Coca-Cola is imported straight from Mexico and as the commercials would say, "tastes refreshing!" Cooks prepare the meals for us, so our group does not have to do any kitchen work. We all brought food for the group to share. If you come, small packages of crackers are recommended -- a snack in the middle of the day while on the road has been most helpful!

5. WHAT ABOUT SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS? There are four guest rooms. Men sleep in one, women in another, and a married couple have taken up a third room. The fourth has been empty for most of the week. The beds are comfortable and we all sleep soundly. There are two bathrooms and rarely is there a line.

6. WHAT ABOUT LANGUAGE DIFFICULTIES? Haitians speak Creole and or French. Some speak English. English is commonly spoken at the hospital. There are always translators with us when we leave the hospital.

7. WHAT SKILLS ARE NEEDED? Any! We think of this as a medical mission, but we talked tonight about doing a Vacation Bible School or music ministry here. The possibilities are endless. Think about your gifts, and if you want to go, we'll talk!

8. IS THE GROUP SAFE? Yes. Now -- having said that I would not want to mislead you. I think there is a degree of danger anywhere we go in this world. Haiti is more dangerous than many places in the world. You have to be careful, but we are in good hands here at the hospital. They serve us well as guides and drivers. As long as you are careful, and have a little elevated awareness and caution, you would probably not be in any grave danger here.

There is no danger to us from Hurricane Jeanne. The weather has been great for us. We know about the deaths of over 1,000 people only from the talk around the hospital and checking CNN web pages. We are also aware that the hospital here in Leogane has sent doctors and medical supplies to the region where the mudslides occurred. The area that people seem to be hearing about on CNN is far to the north of us. Think of what Atlanta would be like if Miami was hit by a hurricane -- that's about what it has been like for Leogane.

Tuesday at the Voodoo Temple Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Wednesday's Mobile Clinic - September 22

I didn't mention this in yesterday's entry, but I had an amazingly spiritual experience on our way to the mobile clinic. It moved me to deep prayer. I found myself calling on the name of the Lord with such passion.

"Oh God."

"Oh dear God."

"Oh my dear God."

Yep -- car sickness is a spiritual experience.

Actually, I don't think I have ever been motion sick before.

But yesterday, winding our way through the mountains, sitting in a crowded truck, it hit me pretty bad.

Bill J was keeping an eye on me and as I was thinking that it would be best if God just took me straigth to heaven right then and there, he and Priscilla got the driver to stop. I was moved to the front and began feeling better immediately.

Thank God -- and thanks Bill and Priscilla.

Which leads me into an introduction about today's work. With yesterday's trip being hard on my stomach (and on others as well) we asked someone at the hospital -- "We're not going to the mountains again, are we?"

"Absolutely not," was the answer.

We should have been more careful with how we asked the question.

We did not work IN the mountains -- we worked on a PLATAEU. Of course, you have to drive THROUGH the mountains to get there!

But fortunately, the trip was not as difficult for us!

The mobile clinic was set up at a house far from any village and from any paved roads. Still, many Haitians gathered at the house and we were able to see 102 patients. I asked when the last time a mobile clinic had visited this location. This was the first time. Many of these people had not seen a doctor before.

One young boy was terribly ill. He had a very high fever. Priscilla and Barb worked with him for a long time, and I'm sure he will do better with the medicines they gave him. But I also thought how fortunate for him that we were there today. How many in his village have become sick and died because they became sick when no doctors or nurses were visiting.

Tonight I had my first tour of the hospital where we are staying. John also showed me the chapel, which was painted by one of our earlier mission teams. Our mission teams do more than the medical type of work here -- painting, doing carpentry work, teaching nursing staff, etc. This year, only Bill K is staying at the hospital to do any work. He is doing electrical work while the rest of us are engaged in the mobile clinics.

Priscilla showed me the interior of the hospital. It is dark. There are few lights in the hallway. The patients sleep in crowded, hot rooms. Many patients are on beds with thin plastic mattresses. They have no sheets. The nurses stay behind their desk and offer no care for the patients. "They view their job as to keep the doctor's charts up-to-date," Priscilla told me.

"Who takes care of the patients," I asked.

"Family or friends. Everyone has to bring someone with them to care for them. Their family helps the patients to use bedpans, and then empty the pans in the hospital courtyard."

On the walls were several bronze signs. "A gift from the American People," was the basic theme. Several signs mentioned the Presbyterian or Episcopal Church giving gifts that made the hospital possible.

It is a depressingly impoverished place, and yet it is so much more than what most of Haiti has in the provision of medical care.

Our last stop on the tour was to look through the door of the pharmacy.

Row upon row of shelves -- completely empty. Not a single bottle of medicine, not a single roll of bandages, merely 8 bottles of water.

Whether or not there will be any more bronze signs, there is still a great need for more gifts to be given.

The road to Bureau on Wednesday Posted by Hello

Making our way to Bureau to set up a medical clinic Posted by Hello

These two Episcopal women joined us in Bureau Posted by Hello

Treating patients Posted by Hello

"Doctor" Johnson Posted by Hello

A very sick young man Posted by Hello

John with Patient Posted by Hello

Wednesday's Clinic at Bureau Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Turning People Away - September 21

If only we had one more nurse, one more doctor, one more medical professional of any sort!

We saw 101 people today, which is less than yesterday. But because so many of them were children and took much more time, at the end of the day we had to send some of the sick away without having anyone provide care for them.

The medical clinic we set up today was high in the mountains. It was very beautiful, but very remote. As we did yesterday, today we set up the clinic at a church. On one side is a new school being built -- I met the teacher. He has 30 students and he hopes to see progress for his village. On the other side of the church is another new building -- a medical clinic.

But for now, all these people have are these mobile clinics. When was the last time one visited this community? About a year. When we left, it will be another year before any of them will have hope to see a doctor -- the new clinic is still months away.

If you ever thought of going to Haiti -- remember the need is very great. If you ever thought of sponsoring a doctor or nurse or other medical professional, it would be a great gift to the people of Haiti.

In Matthew's Gospel (Matt 9:37-38), Jesus said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

For those of you who are members of Good Shepherd, next time you hear us planning a trip to Haiti, or anywhere, remember how great the need is for your presence!

On another note, before breakfast this morning, Jean Marie took us on a tour of a nearby Voodoo Temple. It was very interesting! It was a long walk to the temple from the hospital in Leogane. We had to walk very quickly to get to the temple and back.

Located off the road, we walked along the river bank for quite a distance until we came to several trees that had colored bands painted on them. "This is a sign that the Voodoo Temple is nearby," Jean Marie told us. We then took a different path leading away from the river, coming to a concrete building that was colorfully decorated. There were elaborate and well-done paintings of St. Peter, the Devil, the Queen of the White Woman, the Queen of the Black Woman, the Snake, and Moses. As Jean Marie told us about the different aspects of Voodoo, he spoke very respectfully of that religion. From time to time he would say, "I myself do not believe in Voodoo, but if you were to come to the Temple, you would see amazing things."

For the entire time we were there, a Voodoo priestess kept a very close eye on all of us.

We went into the temple and were shown a steel post embeded in the ground, around which were the ashes of a fire. "The Voodoo Priestess will light the fire and the post will become red hot. A man will grab the post and not be burned. It is an amazing thing to see."

Jean Marie has said this phrase so often "amazing things," that when I had time this evening I looked the phrase up in the Bible on my Palm Pilot. The New International Version has one match for that phrase.

Joshua 3:5 -- "Joshua told the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.'"

I'm sure that is true for us. Tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among us.

Pierre and his new school Posted by Hello

Tuesday at Tombe Gateau Posted by Hello

Visiting the Voodoo Temple Posted by Hello

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!

Hospital where we were based in Leogane Posted by Hello

Monday at Boussan Posted by Hello

Our group in Leogane Posted by Hello

Living accomodations in Guest House Posted by Hello
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