Lotore Community Trip Report:
All Saints (Pawleys Island)-St Barnabus Partnership
Healthcare trip Jan 31-Feb 7
Our US team of 12 traveled to La Gonave to provide a 3 day clinic for the community of Lotore. We do this three times a year. The team came in on 2 different flights so we hit evening rush hour in Port au Prince in full swing. It was dark for most of the ride up the coast to the Hotel Wahoo. After a ferry ride to La Gonave the next morning, we rode up the mountain in the back of the pickup truck because the ambulance had finally died (RIP). We never knew we would miss those worn out bench seats until we spent 3 hours on wooden planks. The Holy Spirit blessed us with hearty laughter and giggling amidst the dust and groans all the way up. Upon arrival we set up 3 clinics in the classrooms- dental, opthamology and adult. We set up the male and female “dorms” and after dinner and devotions fell into bed.
The next 3 mornings we were very busy with patients. Jean Thoney, the director of the Partnership’s Goat Project travelled to Lotore to work with team vet Dr. Stephanie Welch , volunteer Stoney Miller and translator Josef in treating the community’s goats, donkeys, pigs, mules and cattle. One day the animal crew drove to the market at Nan Café and provided services at the busy market. Dr. Welch was impressed with the marked superiority of the goats she saw from the Goat Project. We had some good discussions over dinner about the difficult condition of life for the working animals, particularly the donkeys. Dr. Welch advised the donkey’s owners to rest them in order for saddle sores and hooves to heal but the owner s were dubious as they rely on the animals to transport water for their family. We wondered if the US tradition of a “Blessing of the Animals” service might be a nice addition to our next worship.
Dr. Jerd Poston and volunteer Ron Gordon set up an eye clinic in one of the classrooms. It is very difficult to achieve a dark environment to facilitate a good eye exam but Ron and Jerd got creative with garbage bags and duct tape! With the help of translator Webster they saw 150 patients and were able to provide eyeglasses and moisturizing drops for all patients who needed them. Dr. Poston noted that most patients had farsightedness and presbyopia; very few cases of nearsightedness were diagnosed. The dry, dusty conditions and sun lead to a lot of eye irritation and they treated about 10 cases of mild conjunctivitis or blepharitis each day. Timberlake Baptist Church in Surfside Beach, SC provided reader glasses for the trip and assisted with funds for the medications. We were also provided with some glasses from the Lions Club Intl. Texas distribution center.
Dr. David Grabeman and dental hygienist Alice Welch operated a dental clinic with the help of translator Bob, assistants Jovaline and Gay, and crowd control by Eduard. Alice and Dr. Dave saw 110 patients and performed extractions with the use of topical and injected local anesthetic. Patients were provided with antibiotic and pain medication to take home when necessary. Alice, Dr. Dave, volunteer Harriett Miller and Annie Harris, RN also provided fluoride treatments to 75 children.
350 patients were treated in the adult clinic by Leslie Jordanger , FNP and Dr. Dorcius Isidorlange from Bill Rice Clinic. Ajan Sante Yvenia St Cyr and Ms. Micheline (Bill Rice) registered the patients and recorded vital signs. After the medical exam patients could receive lab exam from 4 local employees. Volunteer Dan Jordanger staffed the pharmacy and distributed the ordered medications to each patient. The medications had been packaged with creole instructions by Providence Presbyterian Church, Gum Spring VA. We also saw about 40 children. Dr Billy Fairey treated approximately 100 previously diagnosed hypertensive, diabetic and anemic patients with the assistance of translator Jean Louis and volunteer Cathy Fairey and Annie Harris, RN.
Our multidisciplinary clinic had 30 local employees and 12 US volunteers from Hazel Green, AL, Bumpass, VA, Pawleys Island /Murrells Inlet/Greenville SC. The joy and success of our trips is magnified by the time we spend living at the clinic for 4 nights amongst the community and teachers at St Barnabus school. Although our partnership originates with All Saints, there are always team members from other parts of the southern US who join in serving and team members who do not have any medical training who are MVPs.
We were able to spend Sunday night at the Wahoo Hotel where the accommodating staff indulged us with a poolside big screen tv and dinner to watch the Super Bowl. The hotel has undergone a beautiful renovation and we had a magical evening as we watched the sun set across the bay on our friends on La Gonave. It was something we will never forget. Beautiful Haiti- we hold our friends and our second home close in our hearts and prayers. Next trip- April 24-May 1 (pediatrics, adult and veterinary).