Welcome to the Healing Haiti + Eagle Brook Mission Blog. We invite you to follow mission team members as they experience what God is doing both through them and in them while in the mission field of Haiti.

'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Haitian Clinic

This morning started with me feeling very torn between doing the water truck again (which I loved!) or trying the new experience of going to the wound clinic. I ended up going to the wound clinic. We met up with the nuns who run the clinic and 18 of us crammed into their van for another long bumpy Haiti ride. The clinic was in a downtown area where they were having their Saturday market. There were vendors and people filling the entire street. Our van inched it's way along as people parted and moved off to the side of the van. There was almost too much to see.....lots of colors, food, clothes, lumber, almost anything you can think of.....the department store of Haiti, I guess! We pulled in through the gate to find all of our patients already waiting. One nun guessed that there were over 250 patients. We started out by lining up all the medicine....full containers of prescription medicine....and creating liquid medicine by adding water to powder. The patients were seperated into open wounds and not. The nuns lead a mini service of prayer and singing, then we started taking patients. Two of us went to the wound side and two of us stayed with the nuns. I assisted a nun who would listen to the patients complaints, have a quick look at their child's skin, eyes, or backside and would turn to me to tell me what medicine to give them, often in Creole because she kept forgetting to translate. Yes, I was a pharmacist for a day! It was actually quite unreal for me to see....this type of clinic would not fly in the US. Some of the nuns were nurses, none were doctors and they were prescribing medicine and having completely untrained people filling them. The opened jars of pills were dipped into by unsterile hands of many people...even the nuns who had just touched multiple ill people. There were flies everywhere. Their version of a pill bottle is a creatively folded magazine page. The patients got verbal instructions from the nun who also had me draw the number of pills on the folded papers that they should take each day.....no numbers, most of these people were illiterate. By the end, she was just pointing to the jars, assuming that I knew the dosages and expecting me to give them to the patients with instructions in my broken Creole! (don't worry, I doublechecked with her often!) I gave out a lot of medicine for skin fungus, worms and infections. And lots of vitamins, rehydrating packets and plain old soap. Only if the nuns weren't sure of the problem, would they go see the volunteer Haitian doctor and then bring us a prescription on a scrap piece of paper. On the other side, my amazing team mates (2 of which are nurses) were helping drain pus, dress wounds, do IVs, and all that yucky stuff that I wasn't quite sure I could handle anyway. Regardless of the conditions, what these nuns do for people who would otherwise have no medical care and die of very treatable diseases is amazing. We treated all 250 plus people in 3 hours!!! Now that's where a Haitian clinic beats an American clinic, hands down!

After the clinic, a phonecall revealed that the van couldn't make it back to the clinic because the street was even more packed....which I couldn't even imagine could happen. It must have been a funny sight to see all of these nuns with a bunch of white people treking through this busy street to reach our van a couple blocks away. But I loved it! It was awesome to be so close to all the vendors and Haitians, the sights and smells that I will never forget. And I felt immensely safe and protected....not a fear at all! I'm so glad I decided to go!

Posted by Sharon Mitchell

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