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Free counter Dr. Pittendreigh's Mission To Haiti 2004: Wednesday's Mobile Clinic - September 22

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.


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