Friday, June 28, 2013

Rudenchly's walking!

I knew it would happen eventually, but what great excitement to hear that this little man, after his 2 surgeries, a beautiful blue walker, and lots of encouragement, is walking on his own! I can't wait to get back to Haiti and see him run to greet me.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Seventh summer

Here we go: my seventh summer at Chop Point Camp in Woolwich, ME! I've been here for 2 weeks now, doing staff training and prep, and hosting our first group of local campers. In two days, we will receive campers from all over the US and the world and camp will begin in earnest. It's good to be here.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Did you know?

I have heard many wondrous things from my patients and my students during my 6 years in Haiti, questions that make me want to laugh wildly and firm beliefs that make me want to rip my hair out. Here are a few of them:

"Don't look straight at someone while yawning without covering your mouth. If you do, you have just swallowed that person!"

"If a woman squirts breast milk into your eyes, you will get conjunctivitis."

"If a woman has sex with three men in the same evening and gets pregnant, won't she know instinctively which one is the father?"

"When a woman becomes a widow, she also becomes blind."

"If I kiss my husband when I have conjunctivitis and our eyes touch, can he get it too?"

"If you get water on a cut, it will form an abscess."

"If someone gets lemon juice in your eyes, you will become blind."

"Don't drink cold water with hot food because when the hot water and the cold food meet, they will form vapors in your stomach and kill you."

"I feel fine when I walk on pavement, but when I walk on gravel, I get dizzy and my vision gets blurry. What's wrong with me?"

"Ever wondered why Haitian women spit constantly when they are pregnant? It's because your spit becomes poisonous when you are pregnant and if you swallow it, it will poison you."

"Don't let a frog pee in your eyes because that will make you go blind."

"If a pregnant woman who is beyond her fourth month is sleeping and you wake her up, her baby will be born with a cleft lip."

Monday, June 3, 2013

New clinic building

Klinik Jubilee's current location is being re-allocated to the school, so we will be moving across the yard to a new building. Brian and his Haitian construction crew have been working on it for about 3 weeks and here's how it looked at the end of May.
It's perhaps double the size of our current clinic, with a room for the nursing assistants, an exam room for the nurse, an office space, an extra exam room for procedures and visiting doctors, and a tiny bathroom and lab annex for handling urine specimens and rapid HIV tests. Outside, there will be an open waiting area for our patients with a roof for sun protection.
Our staff is excited about moving into the new space: excited about having better crowd control and patient flow, safer handling of lab specimens, and a building to truly call our own. I am excited to see their excitement. Oscar and Samuela have been outstanding employees and colleagues, eager to learn and eager to help. I have leaned on them, Oscar especially, for strength and encouragement many times this year and it has been rewarding to see him do the same when hard times have arrived. There is a bond that comes from experiencing death with someone and both Grace and I share that bond with Oscar. We will never be able to express our gratitude for him and Samuela in words but maybe a gift of a new clinic will give voice to some of what we feel.