After spending the night in Miami, our team of 12 arrived in Port au Prince, Haiti, on Saturday morning, 2/1/14, and were greeted warmly by Pere Vil, Gary Gaspard and his Navette Car Service team. We boarded a van for the 1 ½ hour ride to the La Gonave dock where we joined many Haitians for the ferry ride across the beautiful waters to Anse a Galets.
After getting settled in the comfortable guest rooms at St. Francis Church and School compound in Anse a Galets, we enjoyed our first of many delicious meals in the St. Francis rectory dining room. Each night after dinner, we gathered on the porch of the guest quarters for reflection, singing, bible study, and fellowship.
On Sunday, we participated in the worship service and congregational meeting skillfully lead by Pere Vil at St. Francis of Assisi Church before heading up the mountain to Bill Rice Clinic to set up for the dental and medical clinics.
From Monday through Thursday, we felt privileged to ride on the bumpy mountain road to and from the Bill Rice Clinic at Nouvelle Cite in the new partnership van with padded benches while passing many folks on motorcycles, donkeys, or foot.
Many men, women and precious children waited patiently each day to see our two dentists or the OB/GYN or Tropical Disease Medicine physicians and ultrasonagrapher. Our dentists, assistants, and translator stayed busy each day by removing over 245 painful teeth from grateful children and adults.
On Tuesday, we had the honor of welcoming Sarah Taylor, a nurse midwife, who arrived from the states for two months at the clinic to help Betrina and Soisilia, who recently returned from midwifery school, complete training and establish the maternal clinic services. Our physicians, ultrasonagrapher, and nurses worked closely with the Drs. La Point and Renesco and with Bill Rice midwives, nurses, pharmacist, lab tech, and translators sharing ideas and expertise with one another as they cared for and taught patients together. Also, they practiced by role playing difficult delivery scenario’s while they prepared the new delivery room and identified items still needed. Other team members cleaned out, relabeled, and restocked drawers and shelves in the pharmacy. Throughout the week, our mission team gained a new appreciation of all who are working to bring additional services to the Bill Rice Clinic.
We left La Gonave believing that with the leadership of a medical director and guidance and financial support of the La Gonave partnership, the staff at the Bill Rice Clinic have an exciting opportunity to provide a new level of service to their Haitian brothers and sisters.