Our team loves our commute to work. We walked again to clinic, about a 25 minute walk, mostly on the beach. The clinic in Momben was a scene I have come to love. The church was simple yet adorned with flowers on the altar. We assembled the wooden pews into 4 different stations for the doctors (Matt and Tom, Lily and Heather, Dr. Brinvert, and Emily and me). Our team loves our commute to work. We walked again to clinic, about a 25 minute walk, mostly on the beach. The clinic in Momben was a scene I have come to love. The church was simple yet adorned with flowers on the altar. We assembled the wooden pews into 4 different stations for the doctors (Matt and Tom, Lily and Heather, Dr. Brinvert, and Emily and me).
Amy and Kaylin did the heights and weights, Daniel manned our station to give worm medicine and multivitamins and the vaccine station was run by Youselene and Marie Claude. Cholo ran the pharmacy as we really needed Thermitus as a translator as well as Edrece and Jean-Brunelle.
We saw about 120 patients, mostly children and some adults. It was a good day.
Our team works beautifully together, everyone pitching in. Fortunately, although we saw many sick children, there were only a few that were really sick. A child I had treated a few days previously for malaria had returned, and was doing better. I am still very fearful for him. At age 1, he has protein-calorie malnutrition (kwashiorkor). His arms are like sticks, his legs swollen from the low protein, and he is listless. We will see him again tomorrow as he enrolls into the Medical Mamba program. Dr. Brinvert says that he has seen babies like this make beautiful turnarounds.
I also saw a few people with visual concerns. Often in this situation I feel like I have nothing to offer. However, this time I was able to tell them that an eye team was coming in March. I have had contact with VOSH in the past and they do a great job.
Matt saw a woman in her mid-20s who was almost 9 months pregnant with another young child at home. Her main problem was grief.
Her husband had died 4 months earlier; by her report it was pretty clear that he had died of cholera. Haiti is a place of big smiles and bright “bonjours,” yet we are reminded of the reality of its harshness when we hear stories like these. His death was preventable. Now a young woman is left widowed with two children for whom providing food and shelter was already very difficult. We can hope that extended family will surround her. As an aside, she had a traumatic cataract; informing her of the upcoming services of VOSH made it feel like something positive was offered within such sad circumstances.
After the clinic, we returned via the beach route, quickly changed into bathing suits, and took a lovely swim.
Matt and I have been to Haiti several times, occasionally together, usually apart. This time, not only are we together, but we are joined by two of our children, Amy and Daniel. Not surprisingly they have been wonderful additions to the team, pitching in at the clinics, willing to take on any task that is helpful. More important, it is obvious that they have fallen in love with the Haitian people as well. Amy is constantly surrounded by children, her smile glowing. Normally on trips like these we are known as “Dr. Ann and Dr. Matt.” However, the young boys refer to Matt and me as “Papa Dan” and “Mama Dan.” They follow him everywhere, and his weight lifting routine has involved lifting laughing Haitian children way above his head.
Dr. Ann Markes