Where has the time gone? It seems that I write that a lot in this blog....when I do write! To any of you who are interested to read of my adventures, I do apologize that I am such a poor journalist.
Since I arrived here in October, I have worked with 2 American surgical teams for 2 weeks each time. John Judson's team from Pennsylvania and parts around there was small but we accomplished good things and were able to develop wonderful relationships. Everyone became a "jack of all trades" as there was lots of work for few. Surgeons picked their own instrument sets and I would wrap and autoclave. Lab techs washed them post surgery. A med student learned to draw blood and wash floors in the OR. I was so very thankful when God sent my buddy Linda Frandsen from Kelowna here for the 2nd week as she has had experience on a similar team in Nicaragua. She and I have had lots of adventures together and we call it "getting each other into trouble". I always can count on Linda to initiate all sorts of things and then to help me get thru them! : )
Haitian women have HUGE fibroids...at all ages. We operated on one 24 year old who was thin and her fibroids were very obvious pre-op. "It" weighed 13 pounds and so she was one happy camper when she was discharged a few days later! We did a mastectomy on another woman who had fungating/ulcerating breast cancer....totally unheard of in countries such as Canada. Another case seen here that no one had ever seen in their practices back home due to the good effect of vaccinations was a young boy with epiglottitis. He had been in respiratory distress for about 36 hours and the family finally got him to hospital. We set up for a possible trach but the anesthetist was able to slip in a 4.5 ET tube. He was maintained on a propyfol drip for 24 hours along with steroids and antibiotics and then, after checking his airway, the tube was removed and he did well. One 17 year old girl arrived moribund post-knife wound but her resuscitation efforts weren't enough....apparently attacked by another young girl! A 24 year old fellow is doing well post 2nd/some 3rd degree burns after his girlfriend threw boiling water at him.
Linda thought she was coming to Haiti to hand out "Days for Girls" hygiene kits and to hold workshops for young girls.....and she did do that, but had to wait til the team left! We ended up handing out 250 kits all together and bought a sewing machine and started teaching 3 women and 2 girls how to use it. The machine will stay at Annie's orphanage where it is put to good use each day. It was a thrill when one 13 year old girl....Rose Carmen...came to me and asked me for a kit and then brought me the cleanly washed "liner and shield" the next day. RC has a deformed arm and so this was no easy task for her to accomplish but she was all smiles as we hung it on the line.
We've made contact with an existing sewing school in Montrouis and Marion is going to show one group how to make them and we will see if they want to be set up in a micro business or just make them for their own use. Slow but sure is how we'll approach that as we want women to succeed. We knew we had to "test the market" here first and are happy to report that all the kits have been very welcomed and I am now referred to as the "Kotex" lady when I arrive at OSAPO. Even men are approaching me for their wives! : ) There is already a Youth Education Seminar set up for every Saturday morning at OSAPO and the plan is to leave as many kits as possible with the nurses here to distribute to the girls when they come for the sessions. We decided to charge 10 gourde for each kit (25 cents) as this will give them ownership and not just be another "freebe" that everyone wants just for the sake of getting. The Haitian nurses decided this.
I have spent a bit of time at the orphanage. All the children are going to school now and doing well. Annie has her hands full with the usual "growing up" stuff and is kept busy with day to day running of the place and MANY other things. She is a blessing to Haiti.
Now I am up in the clear sweet air in the "mountains" at OSAPO. I actually have to have a sheet over me at night to sleep. They have constructed a new Maternity wing with grant money from Japan and ALL the equipment arrived here in the dark last night about 8pm. If you saw the road to get here, you would know that that was a feat in itself! Very difficult in the daylight, let alone at night!
You should have seen the next 2 hours.....long electric cord from somewhere supplying a bit of light to see. The huge truck almost hitting trees and buildings as it turned around in the small road space....YIKES!!! Then the unpacking as 20 men swarmed the truck for the opportunity to make some $$$$. Of course they just wanted to dump whatever they had where ever they found the first empty floor space and so I was at the main entrance directing traffic. They thought I was nuts but I stood my ground!!! Lots of laughs.........
But I continue to be amazed that God believes I have the patience to keep sifting thru PILES of stuff and sorting and organizing!!!! Here we go again!
And that is all for now......Miss Andre just called me that she is ready to start work on the piles.....pray for us that we find what is needed here and also to thank God for the container of materials to finally have been released from customs. It's been there for over a month......