Grace, my nurse co-worker and our clinic director, had to go to the States urgently because a family member was ill. She was gone for nearly a month, so I was responsible for my own work and hers. It was exhausting, but one of things I appreciated about it was the opportunity to spend quality time with our clinic staff.
Valmy is a graduate of Martha's first nursing assistant class. He speaks English fluently and helps run the English school that Chris founded. Valmy is in his late 20s but he is a senior in high school so we employ him on the weekends to do our elderly program with Samuela, another NA. They visit about 15 older residents of Jubilee every weekend, doing BP checks, giving out meds and TLC. Valmy also comes to clinic before school on Monday mornings and gives out cards to 50 general consultation patients. This is a challenging job because people get very aggressive in the battle to receive a card, but Valmy stands his ground and somehow keeps the peace without letting himself get pushed around. He is Chris' best friend and has also become a good friend to me and Grace.
Vesline is our nurse. Like many Haitian nurses, she has a bit of a superiority complex but the longer she has been with us, the more I have seen her smile and try to relate to the patients on their level. I know that it is a stretch for her to work in as rough and traditionally dangerous a neighborhood as Jubilee, but she does it with poise and dignity. Vesline's favorite aspect of the job is prenatal care, to the point where an American nurse midwife is going to sponsor her to a 10 month midwife training program in Hinche. We will be sad to lose Vesline but we're excited about her future.
Samuela (below on the left) was Martha's best student from last year's nursing assistant class. She lives in Jubilee and has a heart to love and serve others. We hired Samuela to work the weekend elderly program and told her that if she wanted, she could come to regular clinic days but we couldn't afford to pay her for them. In the past 9 months, Samuela has only missed 1 clinic day! She has been there faithfully, working as an unpaid volunteer without ever once complaining. What a gem!
And finally there's Oscar. Another graduate from Martha's class, Oscar lives a few blocks from clinic and has become our go-to guy for everything. He works all our regular clinic days and also volunteers his time on the weekends to do dressing changes and emergency care by himself. After watching me suture a dozen times, he asked for a lesson and now, he takes pride in being able to sew people up if accidents happen outside of clinic hours. I am blown away on a daily basis by Oscar's cheerfulness, his compassion for our patients, and his willingness to go the extra mile. He plans to go to medical school next year and I don't know what we will do without him.