September 2011 Trip
Our team traveled to La Gonave September 13-20th to coordinate the Lo Torre Clinic. We last visited in May 2011 and left our patients with medication for 4 months. An All Saints (SC)-based team of 8 health care providers and 4 volunteers traveled to the community. Upon arrival in Anse-a Galet, we added Haitian team members Dr. Samuel and Miss Ester, physician and nurse from the Bill Rice Clinic in Nouvelle Cite. Because we have to pack almost everything up, it takes a pretty large support staff and convoy. We used the ambulance, the pick-up truck and the dump truck to make the trek up the mountain; all of the vehicles were in dismal shape. On the return trip the dump truck broke down 3 times. Thank you, Lord, for trail mix and a sense of humor!
We were greeted by the St. Barnabus-Lo Torre lay pastor and school principal, Carmil. He had the school building beautifully cleaned out and ready for us to transform into a dental clinic with 4 chairs, a pediatric clinic with 1 station and an adult clinic with 3 stations, in addition to temporary sleeping and eating quarters. After set-up on Wednesday night we saw patients all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The dental clinic saw more than 150 patients, the pediatric clinic saw 100 patients and the adult clinic saw 515 patients. We were able to employ 8 people from the community to work in our clinics, as well as 5 translators and 3 cooks. We tried some new crowd control management, at the suggestion of Carmil, which helped keep the noise and discomfort from long waiting lines in the heat down. Miss Ester wowed us when she deftly sutured a brave little 5 year-old’s forehead laceration, while Dr. Samuel observed. Go, girl!
We purchased both prescription and OTC meds through Crosslink Intl., which provides us with excellent pricing. The total cost of meds for the adult clinic was $4200. We each paid for our own transportation, travel and room and board fees which amounted to around $1000, depending on plane fare. For example Leslie’s (VA) ticket from DC was $400 versus the SC team which were $800. Costs for transporting the meds and supplies via airlines are an increasingly substantial part of our budget.
After worship on Sunday we traveled down the mountain to spend the night at St Francis, took a sunrise ferry back to the Wahoo in prep for our Tuesday morning departure. We were honored to be able to assist our hero, chauffer Artur Alexis as he traveled back to the US for his first trip to visit family in Tampa Bay. This turned out to be a heart-breaking disaster as he was stopped in Miami in Immigration due to an incorrect visa (we later found out). They would not let us stay with him or tell us what was going on and we were forced to go downstairs to baggage claim and Customs with reassurances of “Don’t worry, he’ll be along soon”. Well, he wasn’t and actually spent the night there before being returned back to Haiti the next morning. We still don’t know if he lost his money for the flight he didn’t get to make.
Our next trip is scheduled for January 31- February 6th and will include a dental and adult clinic. We are hoping to find help to provide an eye clinic, which is requested for every trip and we have not been able to provide. Partners…know anyone who’d like to get involved to meet this major need?
Our team members were: Dr. David Grabeman (SC), Dr. Tom Grabeman (OH), Laura Sprance, RN (SC), Earl DeLapp (med school hopeful), Dr. Mandy Drosieko (SC), Jennifer Kaylor (SC) interior design, Dr. Bill Fairey, (SC), Leslie Jordanger, FNP, (VA), Odile Postic, RN, (SC), Kent Lowe, (SC), entrepreneur, Holly Anderson, (SC), community clinic ad. min. asst. and Linda Holt, RN, (SC).