A Travellerspoint blog

Home Safely

overcast 65 °F

3 planes and 14 hours later I am back in KC. Sitting inside an enclosed car, driving on smooth open roads free of debris, with complete order was a jolt back into the day to day reality that I know is normalcy. I will always remember my new Haitian best friends and hope to create new memories with them soon. There are still years of work to be done to bring Haiti to a safe living enviornment. I keep hope that as time proceeds the NGOs and government agencies will form one system similar to our ICS structure so that resources will move from one place to another and a more coordinated effort could take place.

Thank you for all of your support. I have really enjoyed sharing this experience with all of you whom I love. :)

Posted by senete 01:58 Archived in USA Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

The Epicenter of the Quake!

I have been reloacted for two days to the epicenter of the quake!

95 °F


I arrived safely to a small town named Leogan, where the epicenter of the quake was. In Port Au Prince the devastation is vast, it is much more densely populated but the destruction was hit or miss. There were standing structures next to a pile of ruble where a house used to lye. In Leogan there are less homes but each structure seems to have suffered either structural damage or total demise.

We set up clinic in front of a damaged church sheltered from the blaring heat by blue tarps providing the necessary shade. It was not as busy as Port Au Prince here but then again it was just myself, one other provider and a person working our “pharmacy”. There was no need for triage so I got to play doctor. I saw one teenager that I believe had malaria, a couple of people that had anxiety and depression, some digestive problems, almost every one of my patients had scabies, some severe. I had 3 patients that I believed to have congestive heart failure, I had various other patients with skin diseases , cysts, and the saddest was a 6 month old baby boy that was malnourished, with severe scabies from head to toe, his lungs sounded full of mucus, he was eating very little, and his feet had grown from thick scabies to an open infection with painful wounds. I gave him medicine for his scabies and infections but without constant care I don’t see him resolving. I referred him to the hospital, and I really hope that his mother takes him. In the states he would have been admitted to children’s hospital for a good length of time and placed on IV antibiotics, rehydration and a nutrition plan. His limbs were so small, he looked half his age…

Worms and skin rashes are unavoidable for Haitians that are homeless forced to live on the streets. Scabies and lice abound, we treat the scabies reaquisition is unavoidable with current living conditions. We have not found a sufficient long-term solution and I don’t anticipate finding one until a superior housing situation is established.

I anticipate more sickness to develop in the coming months due to the poor access to proper human waste locations. People relieve themselves whenever and wherever they are at the time. There are so many piles of ruble or trash that people simply add their waste to the piles. Without working plumbing or port potties diseases are bound to increase along with other gastric problems.

I already miss the translators from Port Au Prince, we are facebook friends however, and two of them have already written to me. They are absolutely adorable with sweet spirits that would brighten anyone’s day.

However, I miss Leigh the most, I can’t wait to come home to her! 2 more nights!

Posted by senete 01:44 Archived in Haiti Comments (0)

Earthquake, or was it??

sunny 96 °F


Last night I woke up to my bed rumbling and a low-pitched sound. At first I thought, “Oh, it’s an earthquake… It’ll stop,” and I started to go back to sleep thinking that I was in California. Then I remembered that I was in Haiti, I’d better get out of here. So I jumped up hit my head on the upper bunk bed, and then tripped on my sleep sock (as if I was in a potato sac race). The girl sleeping in the bunk above me was apparently having a nightmare, so much so that she was trembling, shaking the bed, and moaning. She sat up in her sleep and hung her foot off of the bed. On my dash out of the room I ran into her leg, which woke her up, which stopped the “earthquake.” The startled now away sleep talker then declared dramatically, “It’s ok, everything is ok, we can go back to sleep.” The others in the room had no idea what happened, they just heard a commotion and assumed that Mickey Mouse had returned for another visit… I felt a few more “tremors” but listened for her sleep talking to confirm that it was indeed my bunkmate.

The gas shortage has gotten worse; they expect to have more into the country this week, but currently where gas is sold it is sold by the quart! On a positive note, the roads are not as congested.

Reflecting on the days in clinic I realized that we have seen one to two probable miscarriages a day, in our clinic alone! Many of the pregnancies were carrying their babies when 1/12 hit, a few were first trimester, all were devastating.

Posted by senete 22:21 Archived in Haiti Comments (0)

Turkish Coffee & Mickey Mouse

Clinic Day 5

sunny 97 °F

4/17 7p

I forgot to mention two events that are worth mentioning that occurred on the 15th… The Turkish neighbors that live just south of us have hosted volunteers at their house for dinner a hand full of times, and we have reciprocated the gesture by hosting them here as well. Thursday was one of those nights that we were invited for an authentic Turkish meal. When we arrived there were many tables with cloths, candles lit, calming music providing ambiance, and a large marker board that said, “Welcome Guests,” with an American flag and a Turkish flag drawn together. One of the volunteers that has been here for a few weeks said, “Man, this on is going to be hard to follow…” Apparently each time they meet for dinner who ever is hosting has upped the annie a bit. So now Steph, our logistics coordinator, said, “What do we need a live band now? We have to keep up with the Joanses!”

The food was amazing, and the company was charming. We had a soup course, a main course, a bowl with nuts course, after dinner tea, then after dinner Turkish coffee. It was quite a spread. I asked a Turkish man next to me how they make their coffee because it was so rich and unique. He said there was quite a process, explained all that was involved and then followed it up with, coffee is extremely important in our culture. If a boy and a girl wish to marry, the boy’s family must approach the girls family and ask them to coffee. That means they want to talk business. So when the boy’s family arrives to the girl’s family’s house she is immediately under inspection. He told me that the most important measure of if she will be a good wife was her coffee making skills; I am not making this up, he was serious. He said that they evaluate the cup that it is served in, the amount of foam, the temperature, the sweetness, and then he followed it up with her manners and how she walks. I said, “That’s a lot of pressure for a cup of coffee.”

He then said that a common practice in Turkey was Coffee fortune telling. Turkish coffee is served with the grounds at the bottom of the cup, when you are done with the coffee you disregard the grounds. Instead of palm reading they read your coffee grounds. Once you have consumed the liquid you place the cup upside down onto the saucer, move the cup in a counter clock direction 3x then set it down. After the top has cooled you right the cup and evaluate the pattern of grounds that has formed. If you have one long streak you are to travel a long journey, if two streaks cross you are to find a love, if you see something that looks like a door you will work for the State Department (He actually said that, sounded random to me but he said it was a common fortune). I’d have to say that my Turkish coffee lesson was my favorite part of dinner.

The other event occurred during the night. I was resting in my sleep sac when I heard a sound like someone rummaging through my pack… It was about 1am, and I thought why would someone come over to my bed and go through my stuff? Then my brain woke up and reminded me that no one would go through my stuff; which leaves… I shined a flashlight on my pack and saw a furry mouse retreat across the room! An uncontrolled, “Ugh” utterance came from my mouth, but non of my roommates stirred. “Ok,” I told myself, “No biggie, of course theirs mice, just get some sleep.” Then about 1 hour later I was sleeping on my back and I felt like someone was tickling me, at first I thought it was Leigh, then I remembered where I was. I opened my eyes and low and behold the mouse was cruising around on my stomach!! I said, “Ugh!” and flung him about 3 feet utilizing my sleep sock as a sling shot! Thankfully that did the trick, he has not returned to provide an abdominal massage since. I told the girls about the even in the morning and when the words mouse left my mouth one of them screamed and jumped on her bed. I tried to play it cool like it didn’t bug me, when in actuality I was imaging waking up with half of my face eaten away. Instead I said that Mickey and I were playing Gin Rummy and then decided to spoon. J

That just about catches us up…

Today clinic was seamless. We had more medical personnel than usual so we finished seeing everyone around 2:30pm, so everyone opted to spend more time with our amazing Haitian translators and enjoy some beers and crepes with them. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet these amazing people. They have a hand around my heart and I really do not want to leave them. I want to pack all of them in my suite case. Thinking about how I will be separated from them on Wed just a few short days away actually made me a little misty… Considering this, I asked Marc how difficult it was to make these relationships and then loose them each week. He looked down, then said, “It’s really hard…” Then with a smile he said, “But I know that you will be back, right??” I said, “Yes, I have to! I just don’t know how yet.”

Posted by senete 00:23 Archived in Haiti Comments (2)

Ice Cream and Beer, oh and Clinic Day 4 :)

overcast 92 °F

4/16 9pm

Clinic went well, we ran a bit long. I was asked to give a short 15-20 min lecture to our interpreters on ABCs (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, choking & causes of unresponsiveness) It was fun, but pretty tough to fit into such a small time allotment. Someone took a couple of short movies, I’ll put them on Facebook when I’m back. J On the way home we decided to all meet at an ice cream shop and have ice cream and beer (for some). Spending time with our Haitian interpreters when we don’t have to work quickly is a real treat. They are loving, strong spirited, beautiful people. Taylor has a laugh and smile that would touch any human. On the way home from our snack a motorcyclist wrecked right next to us. So the crew said, Medic your up. I hoped out of the back of the truck and evaluated both guys, they were fine, I could tell by the way they went down that they just slid. No real road rash because they were wearing thick jeans. Got them up, then we were off again. Not two minutes later our front car from our caravan drove in and out of a large hole that caused a flat tire. Our handy drivers had a new tire on in approximately 10 minutes. We have some skilled drivers!

Posted by senete 02:03 Archived in Haiti Comments (0)

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