Thursday, September 25, 2008

Settling into a routine

I had planned on spending 10 days or so at HFC but after only 3 days, I got a call from Sherrie at Christian Light Ministries on Delmas 31. The orphanage in Gonaives that CLM sponsors was destroyed in all the hurricane flooding. The 27 orphans lived on the roof for 2 days without food or water, and then in a hotel room for another 3 days, eating only flour water. Once the roads were clear, Sherrie sent a truck to get the children and she put them in a building next to her school on Delmas 31. The kids needed medical exams, so I said a quick good-bye to the HFC kids and headed to the house.

For having spent 5 days in flood conditions, the Gonaives crew looked really good. Many of them had fungal infections on their feet and they all needed to be dewormed, but overall, I was pleased. It took all day to give the kids full physicals, but by the end, I cleared them all for school. Only one boy, Patrick, was too young for school so he came with me back to Dorothy’s house to live with the other infants and toddlers there.

Me and Kevin from Gonaives - he is the "director" of those kids, the one who assisted me with all my physicals and who organized the kids for photos and games.James
Evensky - my favorite (besides Kevin)
Emmanuella - the queen bee of the girls

Dorothy’s house is called Faith Hope Love Infant Rescue. Downstairs, there are 19 infants, toddlers and preschoolers with 4 or 5 nannies who work 8 hour shifts to care for them. Some of the children are recovering from malnutrition; others are fully healthy, but cannot be returned to their families due to unsafe situations or abuse or lack of resources. I’ll introduce you to some of the kids later. I share a room upstairs with Tasha and Dannae, both of whom are a few years older than me. Tasha works with the infant rescue and Dannae teaches at a nearby school. Dorothy is actually not in Haiti right now – she is recovering from knee surgery in the States but she is due back in October. The other person who lives upstairs is a 10 year old boy named Kevens. Kevs was taken in by Dorothy when he was 6 and he goes to a home school program run by a lady named Didi. He is a typical 10 year old: very loud and hyperactive and occasionally out of control. I’ve been strict with him, but he seems to really enjoy me anyways.

I’ve been walking the Ravine near CLM each Wednesday morning. We see loads of diarrhea, scabies, respiratory infections, and malnutrition. There seems to be more scabies than usual since there hasn’t been a medical person to walk the Ravine since July.

Me and a little girl with an absecc on the arm.
A feverish baby with diarrhea - she loved me and didn't want me to put her down. So I didn't.
A entire family with scabies. There were two more kids who didn't get into the photo.

Dr Ed, an American physician’s assistant, holds medical clinics every Tuesday and Thursday. He lives 2 blocks from our house, so he picks me up in the morning and we work together until early afternoon. The day starts with a few minor surgeries (circumcisions, lipoma removals, abcess draining etc) and the rest of the day in general consult. This Tuesday, Ed started a lipoma removal and then handed it off to me to finish and suture shut. I also did an abcess drainage by myself and crushed 2 ganglion masses. I love bloody work and I get a kick out of doing things that I would never be allowed to do as a nurse in the States. Dr Ed enjoys teaching, so it’s great working beside him, learning from his years of experience here in Haiti. I have noticed that people assume that since I speak Creole fluently I must also be very experienced in Haitian medicine. News flash: I AM NOT! What a relief to have someone who I can ask about dosages and diagnoses. It’s incredible how much I have learned in the 2 days that I’ve worked with him so far.

I’m not at Dorothy’s very much, but when I am, I spend my time playing with Kevens, talking with Dannae and Tasha, taking care of the medical needs of the kids, and getting a little bit of precious alone time. Its gets dark here by 6pm and we only have electricity here from about 9pm until 6am, so I tend to go to bed early and wake up early. We have three dogs, a cat and 5 kittens who keep me company and a very reliable and friendly staff. It’s a nice place to be living – I like my roommates, I like the proximity to other Americans, I like the availability of a kitchen, and I LOVE the tile floors. After months of HFC concrete floors, the tile here is heavenly.


Anonymous said...

It's so good to hear from you.

Lori said...

Hey Kez, just wanted to stop in and say hello. Looks like your are keeping busy, having fun, and loving on tons of people. Thanks for loving and caring for the Haitian people! You do such a great job and just wanted to encourage you. God is using you mightly and teaching you many things. You are an awesome nurse!! Keep it up! :)

Janet said...

It's good to hear, after reading all the bad news, of the children who are receiving help. Thanks for sharing!