| Feb 06, 2010
February 6, 2010 | Saturday
Finally got the chance to add an image onto my blog. This is a picture from our tour of Port-au-Prince our first day out here. As you can see, it's utter destruction as far as the eye can see. You can literally drive 2 hours from this location and see a very similar destruction. I think it will take the country a long time to recover from this.
Just got back from a 3-day stint in Leogane, a city that is about a 1 1/2 hours drive from Port-au-Prince, the capital. We are based out of a field hospital there working with a multinational group of doctors, nurses and paramedics. Two nights ago the German group Johanter invited us over for dinner at their camp, located within the compound. There were probably about 30 of us around several tables, representing 12 different countries and 3 different languages. It was quite the impressive sight.
During the day, we either work out of the field hospital in Leogane or conduct mobile clinics in the surrounding villages. The work at the hospital is somewhat structured, with workable equipment and designated stations and referral systems. Today I was assigned to vaccinating. I think I gave 150+ TD vaccines...
The mobile clinics are a whole different ball game. We cram our team and all of our gear into our Land Cruiser (with a snorkel on the front) and head up winding dirt roads, cross a couple streams, go through a plantation and end up in a small mountain village. As soon as we start pulling out our gear, hundreds of people converge, pressing closer and closer on your location, the noise level getting louder and louder, until we can hardly move or hear. In order to avoid this, we have had to be very assertive and almost mean, just so we might simply provide them with the medical care they need.
Our first day at one particular village was a mess. Fortunately, on our second day at that village, the Canadian military showed up to help with crowd control. This helped our clinic to go much better. I was primarily doing wound care, immunizations and treatment for fungal infections. It was a very tiring but good experience.
Tomorrow, Sunday, we have the day off. We will try and go to a Haitian Church service in the morning that starts at 6 am. Later in the day a couple of us are going to try and escape the compound walls and the filth of the city and go for a hike in a more rural natural setting and experience the freedom of the hills. Working in the filth of the city with nothing but chaos and desruction is wearing on the soul. It will be nice to escape for a bit.