Sunday, February 28, 2010

Farewell to Haiti

I worked in an early run this morning, the air was a little fresher after the rain last night.

The new team with some of the old members left for Blanchard in the tap tap, we all said our good-byes. Gale was particularly sad...It was difficult to say good-bye.

I was asked to see my last patient next door, she seemed to have a seizure. It was hard to assess her condition, eventually I advised the neighbors to take her to the hospital.

Poussant finally came to take me to the airport for my flight home.

I am glad that I came back a second time. For a brief moment, I shared the griefs and joys of the people of Haiti and along the way met many wonderful people who came down to help.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The rain came

It had been a hard week but I was sad that today would be my last day at Blanchard. Rick, Maria, Benite and I would run the clinic at Blanchard closing Bon Repos Clinic for the day.

The man brought his son with the hole in the heart back to the clinic, hoping that something could be done. Again I gave his name to Gale. Maria asked me to see a patient of hers with probable otitis externa maligna. The woman had been suffering for awhile. We did the best we could with the antibiotics that we had. Rick sew up a nasty cut over the eye-brow of a little boy and I saw a man with chronic osteomyelitis or bone infection.

I said good-bye to the staff at Blanchard...

In the evening another team joined us split between medical and construction people.

In started to rain, the first rain since I came to Haiti. Thankfully it was not heavy otherwise it would present a tremendous hardship for the many people who live in their make-shift tents that would not withstand a rain-storm. The rain stopped when we were getting ready for bed. It was good to pull off the rain flyer and watched the sky and the full moon while lying in my tent my last night in Haiti.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Working like a donkey

Gale returned from US this morning to Blanchard. She immediately rolled up her sleeves and worked. Rick and Maria ran the clinic at Bon Repos while Benite and I ran the clinic at Blanchard. Edzar brought 2 tap tap loads of people from the tent village to the clinic. Each load carried about 30 to 40 people. So Benite and I saw around 80 patients by the end of the day. We were exhausted!

Edzar, our tap tap driver said," At Martisa you worked like a donkey, here you worked like a donkey!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Building a tent

This morning I saw a young lady with a Colles' fracture which she sustained during the earthquake. She went to seek medical attention but because the wait was so long that she left. She had lived with the fracture without taking any pain medications. Poussant took her and the lady who had her jaw clipped shut to a hospital but was told that they could do nothing for them. The lady with her jaw clipped shut was not a priority! She came back very despondent. I continued to place her name on Gale's list.
In half a day I saw over 30 patients. We ended clinic at 2 in the afternoon.

I took a walk towards the area where PID houses were, Simon showed me the way. The construction people were preparing the floor of a new house under construction. Across the PID houses was piece of land with several tents. A young boy was building a tent using sheets, plastics and cardboard, nailing the cardboard using a stone as a hammer.

I was glad it was a short day!

It was the last night for some of the team members so we took a group picture.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our traveling clinic in Martisa

Got up early to run to the border of Bon Repos and took a picture of the sun rise and the crack on the road created by the earthquake.

We took a long tap tap ride to Martisa up in the mountains. Kim and I were to run the clinic there. Edza and Juvenile live here and Edza saw a need for a clinic for the people here. We arrived at 10:30 am and the inner waiting room and the outer waiting room which was sheltered by a tarp were already filled with people waiting for us. The waiting room led into a large windowless dark room and off to one side was a tiny exam room with a window which had the only natural lighting for the entire place. Kim and I decided to share this tiny space to see the patients. The pharmacist and the triage nurse would use the big dark room. We emptied our bag of supplies and medicines and started to see patients.

One of our patients was a 12-year-old with a very high fever and bone pain, malaria versus typhoid fever but we had no testing kits. She felt more comfortable when her fever came down and we realized that we could not find chloroquine for malaria. We treated her for typhoid and she would get testings done in another clinic. A woman came in with a lump on her breast and we could not do much for her but advised her to go to a hospital. A young boy was brought in with a punctured wound to his foot four days ago and now the leg was very swollen and warm with big lymph nodes. It was quite infected but I also feared that he might have tetanus. We sent him off to a hospital for treatment.

By 2 o'clock, Kim told me that we were to stop seeing patients and head back to Blanchard to pick up the rest of the team. This was the first time I learned that clinic was to stop at two. There were still many patients waiting to be seen. We decided to have lunch only to find that our bag of PB and J was invaded by ants. So no lunch for us but we got some cold drinks. Onwards we plunged to see the rest of the patients till 4:30 pm. Between the two of us we saw about 80 patients.

Edza took us back through a winding mountain road, there were random destructions with rubbles filling one side of the road making the two way road into a one-way street. Some parts of the street were filled with vendors. It takes a brave driver to negotiate such narrow street. We could see the sea from this high vantage point, this whole place could be idyllic and quaint if the buildings were done right and the road were kept in good condition.

We drove through part of Port-au-Prince on our way home.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The after shocks, the baby came home and the man with the stroke had a new tarp

Yesterday there were a couple of after shocks around 5 am but I did not feel them. The people who slept in the house felt it shake and they immediately ran out. I heard the commotion but did not know what it was all about. At around 2 am I felt the earth rumble beneath my back; there were a couple of after shocks around 5 on the Richter's scale. It was rather strange feeling. Most of the people who slept in the house the night before decided to spend the night outside. Tonight there was a strong wind whipping the tent, with the flyer off, I could see the stars which were plentiful. It was a lovely and perfect night except for the after shocks.

I was called to see several patients in consultation: a man with an abscess in his middle finger and I gave him a digital block to lance the abscess, a lady with chemical burn on her neck and upper chest awhile back and now healed with massive keloid,and a man with a hydrocele probably from filariasis and chyle drainage through his urinary system...

A father brought his 6-year-old diagnosed with a hole in his heart trying to get surgical treatment, a young lady who was the only survivor of a tap tap accident five years ago had her jaw clipped shut and was only able to drink liquid came hoping to get her jaw reopened. We began a list of patients to give to Gale hoping that something could be done for them.

There was a food distribution by PID in Bon Repos yesterday and there were a few bags left over. These I gave to a wasted young woman who just completed her treatment for tuberculosis and another lady who was 18 years old but looked more like a twelve-year-old. They were happy beyond measure.

The baby, Kristy that Susie was trying to bring to the US with the blessing of her parents was finally brought back from the DR by her father, reunited with her mother. Her mother's milk had dried up but the baby was really happy.

On our way home we stopped a t a crowded village putting up a tarp shelter for a man who had a stroke and could not get into his house easily. He was Darleen's patient. While we did that, others came forward to request the same and several children asked for food because they were hungry...The misery never stopped.

In the evening we played "nose" and "ninety-nine", it was quite hilarious and fun. The downside of the evening was we learned that Samuel's surgery ran into another road-block. It was still up in the air.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The boy with double vision and the woman in labor

This morning we were to send Samuel who had the double vision to Mediciens san Frontiers Hospital to see if he could get his vision corrected. Unfortunately Poussant had trouble with his car and this did not happen. Later we learned that Ted was bale to bring him to the hospital run by Medishare and he might still get his surgery. By now his fracture had healed and if they had to do surgery they had to refracture him and correct his ocular muscle dysfunction.

The guinea fowls from next door were lining up on top of a tall wall gathering up courage to jump down to Auguste's yard. They sure make a raucous noise every morning, all the fowls finally flew off the wall except for the white one which took a long time before it finally flew down to join the whole gang.

Blanchard Clinic was busy. The woman with the calf injury came back for the last time to get her dressing changed and to say good-bye. Her wound was almost healed and she was to leave for Leogane where she lives. She was visiting her daughter in Blanchard where the earthquake happened. She hugged us and blew us kisses as she left. It was all worth it to see her so happy.

Rick and Kelly were called to help a woman in labor at one of the village make-shift camp sites. When they got there the woman was just in the beginning of her labor. The mid-wife came and she immediately took charge. We later learned that she delivered all eight of her children by herself. Nothing beats personal experience. Rick and Kelly left the camp and the mid-wife; the woman delivered her baby later in the afternoon.

We saw a young lady with blindness in one eye and her other eye was also slowly losing her vision. I wasn't entirely sure what the cause of her blindness. Her blood glucose was normal. We took down her name in the hope of referring her to an eye doctor.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A vist to Leogane

This morning I came back in the middle of my run to put the rain flyer over my tent as it started to drizzle. But then it stopped.

We spent the morning at Blanchard to sort out medications and supplies for the three clinics that we will be running on Wednesday: Blanchard, Bon Repos and Martisa. The last will be our traveling clinic which Kim and I will run. The construction people were already hard at work building shelves and tables for the clinic at Blanchard. It was difficult to think above the noise.

In the afternoon, Rick, Darleen, Kelly, Robert, Charley and I chose to go to visit Leogane with Poussant driving us. Rick, Robert, Kelly and I took turns riding in the back of the jeep which wasn't very comfortable because of the bumpy road. we drove through Cite Soliel, Carrefour and several other cities before reaching Leoghan. The road was scarred with several big cracks from the earthquake. Leogane was quite devastated with many buildings destroyed but the effect was less dramatic than Port-au-Prince because it is less densely populated here. In the country, many of the small quaint homes were standing and it was good to see some open green spaces and the mountains in the distance and the air was also cleaner. There was still the ubiquitous garbage but much less.

On the way home, Kelly wanted to visit the guest house that she lived in. It was partly destroyed and buried at least five guests whose remains were still under the rubbles. It was a rather somber moment for all of us.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Back to Blanchard Clinic

Got up to run for 70 minutes, it was rather hot and humid and running in this kind of condition was very difficult. I was glad it was over.

Rick and Charley would be running the Bon Repos Clinic as they had been doing, the left Darleen, Kelly and I going to Blanchard. It was good to be back and be welcomed by Genwa, Esther, Gretchen, Benite, Woodman, John...

The woman with the bad wound in her calf came back for a dressing change, she abandoned her cane and walked in without a limp. She did not complain of pain when her wound was being cleaned.

The lady with the stroke and lived in the tent right outside the clinic recovered quite a bit and now was able to sit up in a chair and eat. She had a very supportive and caring family, now she needed to get good nutrition.

Another team came this evening, a mixture of medical and construction people. The place was busy again.

In the late evening, Ted, the fuel person came back with his daughter, Rachalle. When I did Katrina relief in Biloxi, Mississippi, the people who came back repeatedly to do relief work were called the Boomerangs. So Ted and I were the Boomerangs at least at this point in time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Second trip to Haiti

I came back from Haiti on February 8th and the next day I went for a 16-mile run along the Charles. The crisp air was just wonderful for running. As I ran by the comfortable and peaceful homes of Belmont, never having to dodge obstacles on the sidewalks other than paying attention to the the bumps on the path, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt for having left Haiti. However I really had no choice as I had to come back to work. In the back of my mind I knew I had to go back and soon.

When I learned that American Airlines would be flying to Port-au-Prince on February 19, I made every effort to get a flight into PAP for my second visit to Haiti. Initially all the seats were sold but eventually I was lucky to find an easy flight to PAP. Gale told me that she would like me to come again and I was really looking forward to going back. Gale's daughter Tali would be on the same flight from Miami to PAP.

So I left Boston at 3:30 in the morning heading for Haiti...

Poussant was at the airport and I met Tali and Robert. Robert was in construction and was in charge of giving us clean water through a solar powered water filtering machine.

We drove to Blanchard Clinic and there was a lot of screaming and hugging as this was Tali's return after five years of absence and I surprised the clinic people with my return. Benite was really happy that I came back...

We went to Bon Repos Clinic which was on the second floor of a building. It was quite airy and the three rooms were quite large for a clinic. Rick, the retired ER doctor who had been there for close to three weeks said," Why did you come back? You silly person." It was good to be back.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Last day in Haiti and the morning by the Caribbean Sea

Feb 7, 2010
Got up around 5:15 am to get ready to go to the bus station. Poussant came early and I said good-bye to August, Jeanne, Jack and Jim. Gale was still sleeping, I think. We walked by Ted sleeping on the front path.

There was already a queue when we arrived at 6:15 am. Along the way in Delmar, we saw the many destroyed homes including a police station where over 200 police officers were killed. There were numerous tent cities sprouted all over the cities.
The bus wound its way through a market and it took about two hours to get to the border. Unfortunately there we were stuck for close to 3 hours at the border crossing. We were finally on our way to the DR which seemed to be a lot cleaner than Haiti. I spent a night in a hotel.

Feb 8, 2010
To my surprise my run this morning took me to the Caribbean Sea, it was the nicest run I had since I came down here.

Please continue to visit my website for the Paris Marathon:
I'll be back to my comfortable home but I'll take my memories of Haiti with me. There are numerous people who have very little and are confronting hardship every day of their lives. I'll also remember people such as Gale who works tirelessly and selflessly to better the lives of these people. Do visit the website of Partners in Development: and
Ted, the fuel relief person who has a website,