Friday, March 23, 2012

Tuesday, Caregiver School

Tuesday I went to the caregiver school. We teach caregivers at orphanages basic skills to help them care for the children as best that they can. It's usually a two day school and at the end they get certificates and prizes and such and it makes them feel good about themselves and accomplished and it's great seeing them have self-confidence like that. But on to a more selfish note. I hate teaching. This is actually my least favorite part of the whole trip. I know that sounds terrible and selfish and everything of the sort but I really don't like it much. I don't like being in the spotlight, I don't like being the teacher and for whatever reason I feel very ill-qualified. Needless to say it causes me much anxiety. But I can say I enjoy the looks on their faces as they're learning. I taught with Jordan and Katie told us after that we made a fantastic teaching team. See Jordan is a bit wild and crazy. He's always moving, dancing and is just plain nuts sometimes. I'm very quiet and reserved. So Jordan would get them all riled up and moving and then I'd let them sit and relax and just listen! We balance each other out well. Regardless of the fact that it's not my favorite, I'm glad that I do it, I'm glad Katie makes me hahaha!
Lastly a fun little story. So I'm sitting at the table at this orphanage. I've got a headache and I'm achy. Just feeling blah. Jordan is up teaching. I turn to Katie and and ask her if she has any ibuprofen with her, I didn't bring mine. She unfortunately does not. No worries, I'll make it. So when Jordan is done I get up to teach a section of the curriculum. When I'm done Katie motions me over, and is chuckling, "Look at this," she says. In one of the bags with our toys and teaching materials are 3 lonely, loose ibuprofen. They had fallen in this bag when we were making individual packages from large bottles. Nice huh?! Someone's looking out for me :D

Monday, March 19, 2012

Clinic Day One

Monday we were off and running, ready to dig in and start working :D I went to the clinic in Calebasse. First day of clinic always has a few growing pains, trying to figure out how things flow best, where everyone fits best, and occasionally (usually) a little bit of mass hysteria. I'm pretty sure that's why they send me on the first day, I'm a fairly mellow person, easy going, and tend to be able to calm and reassure people. It's nice to be needed! But once we've got a rhythm things just roll on. As expected we saw a variety of pain complaints, generally lower back pain and joint pain, stemming from the hard labor they perform. Also lots and lots of hypertension. 200's/100's. For my medical friends, yup very high! And they walk around like that all of the time. It was a great day to start off the week though!

Working Hard
Don't tell Paul I said this but he did awesome. Seemed very comfortable and dived right in.

This being my third year I think I finally felt comfortable in my role. One thing I still have difficulty with is a somewhat feeling of inadequacy and helplessness. Yes, yes, I go Haiti to "help" and believe me, I do feel that I help. It's an overwhelmingly great feeling of accomplishment. The feeling of helplessness and inadequacy comes from the area of "follow-up." Not a very well known concept in third world countries. We do what we can, we give these people a month's worth of treatment; whether it be antibiotics, antihypertensives, analgesics, and the like. And then you pray that the medication works and that maybe, just maybe they'll be able to find some sort of follow-up or continuation of care. I've said this before but it feels as if you're putting a bandaid on a gaping chest wound, like a drop of water in a pool. But I've also been told that if you help keep someone out of pain or from having a stroke for a month then it was worth it. Regardless, I think that is a the part of this I will never get used to, and I suppose that's a good thing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Better Late Than Never

I've been home from Haiti for about 9 days and I'm just getting around to blogging about it. My apologies to the 2 people who actually read this blog. I'll be better. Two reasons I didn't blog while in Haiti; 1. The internet is not very reliable and especially slow when 15 people are on it and 2. I don't have the patience to play battle with this incredibly slow and unreliable internet. So without further ado....HAITI 2012 (pictures to follow as I don't have them at present time.)

The first two days in Haiti serve several purposes: Preparation, Relaxation, and Assimilation. We spend two days preparing for the coming week by making assignments to the various location we will be visiting. We prepare and organize the various supplies so graciously donated by people for our trip.
We relax a bit, because in the coming week there might not be much of that. We lay by and play in the pool. Yes, a pool in Haiti! The Healing Hands for Haiti compound has a pool and it definitely is an amenity. The first year I went to Haiti was after the earthquake and the pool was still under construction. I can't believe what I was missing that year!
Sunday night we went to the Montana, a hotel that overlooks Port-Au-Prince. We got there in time to see the lovely sunset and have dinner. It's nice to sit down and begin to get to know the other members of the team and catch up with others you've know before.
Assimilation takes a little more than 2 days for many things I realize, but two days is what you have until you must submerse yourself in Haiti. Those of us who have been there before try to re-aquaint ourselves with the blazing heat and humidity, the mosquitos, and the local cuisine while those who have never been before try to get used to and make sense of everything going on around them and everything they are seeing, much to their dismay by the end of the trip they still will not be able to makes sense of many of it.
Sunday night we crawl into bed under out mosquito nets getting ready for the week to come! More to come :D