I am back in Port au Prince for 4 days to continue the work started back in July with St. Vincent’s and the nursing schools. We started the week at St. Vincent’s School for the Handicapped, where we had run a clinic in July for 2 days.
Some of the same children and staff returned, but there were also many new people we treated. It is a great place to be, the school is well run, clean, kids are happy and well cared for. It is a joy to help them and especially to see how they help one another. We are on the second floor, (with no elevator of course) and the kids in wheelchairs are helped up by the blind kids, and the blind kids are led by one another, or by the children with other physical disabilities. Truly a place where you are reminded much stronger we are when acting as a unit!
Our last task yesterday was to clear out the storage space we had from the previous trips. It was at the L’Hopital Francais, and was quite a task. Sorting through everything that was brought down here for the earthquake, deciding what to keep and jettison, took several hours. But we pared it down to only homeopathic remedies, and then only those we think we would truly use, and we are fortunate to be able to store them at St. Vincent’s.
The second day, today, we had an appointment with the head of the Nursing School in Leogane, about 25 miles from Port au Prince. She had to cancel at the last minute, but we went anyway, hoping to just see the school, check out the town, decide if we wanted to try to set something up there. And mostly, frankly, to get out of Port au Prince, it is a truly depressing place. There is little to redeem it, and the longer you are here, the harder it is. Always hot, so so so many people walking all over, such destruction still apparent on every street, and not much change.
The trip to Leogane took about 1.5 hours, it is only 25 miles, but we never went over 30mph, the roads were mostly atrocious.
There were some stretches of smooth road, but even that had been altered by the earthquake, as though the road just shifted on one side. But it is a pretty ride, all along the sea, very green, and not many people, mostly countryside. Lots of sugar cane fields, and wheelbarrows of sugar cane being sold as a snack.
We finally found the nursing school, after going to the St. Croix hospital
first, then taking a young man with us to direct us who ended up not really knowing where it was, then stopping and asking people on the street. This group then offered to come with us and lead us there, which did finally get us to the destination. From there it was easy, we met with the head of the academia, got a tour, and met many students. They are open to having us teach there for one full week in November or December, so it was a successful trip. Although I have learned that, in Haiti, nothing is sure until you are face to face with them. Things change considerably moment to moment.
We left the nursing school and stopped at a beach on the way back that our drive, Joseph, knew about. The first time I put my big toe into the sea since I have been coming here. It was incredibly warm, warmer than the cold water out of the tap in Port au Prince. But still very nice to see the color and enjoy the green, lush landscape.
Back in Port au Prince now, took a swim at the hotel which is like heaven, you are so hot, sticky and dusty that you feel someone has just lifted you up and dropped you in a tropical oasis here at the Plaza.
There is a large group of American service men and women who are staying here tonight, having been here as part of the UN peacekeeping force. Also many other people from other countries doing all types of work stay here.
Tomorrow we are off to the Notre Dame nursing school, and I am teaching an introduction to Homeopathy class to adminstration and students. We hope to set up some future classes there also.
Will write more tomorrow night…
Pictures coutesy of Lauren Fox