We spent the first day in Haiti on this mission trip getting ready for our first day of clinic. We shopped for supplies, packaged medications to distribute to patients quickly and easily, and prepped for teaching our community education classes on hygiene and basic healthcare. By the end of the day, we were ready to go!
Our first day, clinic was at an inner city church. Lively worship was still going on when we arrived, so we enjoyed the music while we waited for them to finish. As church transformed into clinic, patients signed in, learned about basic hygiene and water sanitation, and saw one of our amazing medical providers for help with what ailed them.
We saw patients with bacterial infections, a child with a staph and fungal infection, children with scabies, and an older man who had collapsed from the heat and dehydration. Despite the heat and humidity, we saw twice as many patients as we had anticipated seeing for the day.
Our next day took us out of the city, first by bus then on a bumpy road by trucks called tap-taps that had bench seats in the truck bed. Our patients in this village came to us with reproductive issues, high blood pressure, and skin conditions.
One patient that stood out was a 79-year-old woman with abdominal pains. One of our doctors examined her and determined the underlying cause of her aches – starvation. Most of the people we saw eat rice, beans, and a grits-type hot cereal. They told us they ate one to three times a day, but many are malnourished. The woman was there with her grandson, who also had some health concerns. We talked about the importance of nutrition to both and sent the grandson to the hospital for further tests.
On our ride back to the city, our translators explained to us about the social and political climate in Haiti, which helped us better understand the local culture and added important context to our mission trip.
Our last day of clinic took us by sights that had grown familiar to us in Port-au-Prince – a group of men working on a car by the side of the road, the shell of a car long forgotten, a line of entrepreneurs selling their wares on the sidewalk, and a woman with a bulging bag balanced on her head walking along the road with ease.
We saw a patient with a severe case of deep-vein thrombosis – a blood clot in his leg – that was beyond our treatment capability so we sent him to a nearby hospital. We also saw a two-month-old girl with a large abscess that we drained and treated.
We felt so privileged to be able to provide medical care to the people of Haiti and hope that we were able to make a difference in the lives of the people we met. We look forward to returning again soon.