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Medical mission to Haiti: We’re here! (and they were waiting for us)

Photo: Rich Hauver

During the University of Minnesota’s spring break, March 15-23, a group of U of M pharmacy and nursing students will spend time in Haiti on a medical mission trip. Follow their experiences here on Health Talk all week, or check in on their progress at www.reachh.org where posts originally appear.

On the first day of clinic of 2013 and we were able to see 56 patients. There were a few wrinkles along the way…

Our three nursing students from Denver turned into eight (with five Iowans here for a malaria study) and we set up in a different area of the school than we had in our previous 2012 trip. We carried far more medications to the clinic and we had five new members of the team. But the important things stayed the same.

Everyone was kind and welcoming to us and we saw many of the same people. Not just Pastor Christian and our translators (Linea, Stanley, Maya, Josua), but patients’ Ladinn, Bebe, Pierre, Wiler Michel, and Alfred.

Doctor Calix and Louis also said they were blessed to see us again, with Dr. Calix hoping we could start earlier tomorrow. He has been asking Laura (one the staff people) when we would arrive for several weeks and when Camille finally got on her email this evening Dr. Calix had already been asking when we would arrive. He is eager to help the people in Chabin, Haiti.

We were able to see 56 patients and fill 159 prescriptions today, which was incredible for the first day.

One four month old patient was particularly touching to us. The father needed to work during the days and wasn’t able to bring his child to the hospital in Jacmel for vaccines. Hearing about us, he carried his child up to our clinic in Chabin.

When, after the baby’s vaccinations, he had to wait for scabies medicine, he carried his baby back down to his house to the mom and walked back up to pick up the medications. He spent the day walking up and down the mountain, probably about six hours, to take care of his child. Rather than being frustrated, he was thankful for us.

As an aside, I was able to drive in Haiti today (following the tap-tap up the mountain). Not surprisingly, with the suspension abused by driving over the Haitian roads, it handled like a dinghy in rough seas. Fortunately, for all the lack of traffic rules and continual horn honking, the drivers are very courteous and the four of us in the truck were able to make it back safely.

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