Sunday, October 30, 2016

October 2016 (3 weeks after the hurricane)

Hi Friends,

What an amazing week so far. We have been able to enjoy great team work at the clinic, wonderful Haitian hospitality, beautiful weather, extra bumpy rides up and down the mountain, and even the Cub game (Thanks Laura). The "W" flag is flying.

Hiking up the mountain this am, we watched a beautiful young mother with her 1yr old baby, heading to the clinic on the back of a motorcycle.   The cycle died and she started walking across the river bed with us.   When  we got to the river she handed her baby across to us, but then with baby in arms she grabbed me when my footing slipped on the road up the mountain.   We finally all made it to the top and at 3:30 this afternoon they brought the baby to me for a visit.  They had been waiting outside for 7 hours and mom was still lovely and grateful.    The baby was treated for a bad case of scabies and they headed back down the mountain.....just another reminder of how easy life can be at home where we drive to a clinic for an appointment at a certain time and hope there isn't more than a 15 minute wait.    Patience is truly a virtue here.

This Chicago LBL team is hot with World Series fever! As the ONLY one on this team representing the Cleveland Indians amongst the bunch I am reassured by (Cleveland fans) Facebook posts that I'm not outnumbered. If only this could be a 7 game series so we could watch the last game on TV! Our team is working like a well-oiled machine and I truly appreciate the comradely amongst everyone.

Only three of us in the storeroom this trip so a lot of pill counting and stocking of supplies for each of us. Shelley says she has counted "thousands of pills" and we've only been working since Tuesday!  All suitcases have been opened and materials put onto shelves--hopefully in right spots so we all can find them easily.  Joanne discovered the worlds largest cockroach this afternoon as she was folding some clothes.  We will start inventory tomorrow to make sure  LBL does not buy wrong supplies for next trip.  We all hope all of you at home know that we love and miss you as we continue doing what we feel is such important work for those receiving our care.

Well, today was "hump day", and I was happy when I woke up, anticipating another day, and even happier and more fulfilled when the day was over.  Every moment spent here gives you pause to reflect on so many things in our lives that we take for granted.  Working in the pharmacy, I am able to look up from time to time and watch the crowd of people outside the window , who are patiently waiting to be seen or pick up their medications.  Today there was a perfect example of patience demonstrated by one of our patients:   An elderly woman was seen sometime during the morning and brought her prescription to the window to be filled.  Four hours later, after watching people come and go, she finally said something to Willem about her medication.  Her script had blown out of the box and had just been found on the floor .  We all felt terrible, and apologized profusely to her.  She took it all in with a nod and a beautiful gracious smile!!! ( well, we also rewarded her with 1/2 of a homemade PB & J sandwich).

This is my first mission trip and it has been amazing. I am awed by the care and compassion that the medical staff provides to the beautiful people of this country. I'm looking forward to the last 2 days of clinic.

This too is my first medical mission; first time out of the country actually. Truthfully I did not know what to expect. Watching CNN and following the weather channel while hurricane Matthew came through, I was both nervous and excited to get here. I was completely speechless on our truck ride to the guest house. Never have I been so humbled and thankful. Clinic has been utterly amazing. The patience of the Haitian people is mind blowing. The climb up the mountain everyday is unlike anything I have EVER experienced but the Haitian people who make the trek day in and day out keep me going and striving for better. I am blessed to be here and very thankful for all my new friends!

This is my first trip to Haiti with this amazing team. I have volunteered with other organizations but never participated in an American based medical mission. I have to say the services provided here are truly amazing. The organization, time management, care and compassion observed show why this clinic has been operating as long as it has, as well as it has. The people of Haiti are one of a kind. They are beautiful inside and out. Despite whatever brings them into the clinic and no matter how long they have been waiting, they great you with a smile and leave with a sincere thank you. No one asks for more than they given, no handouts, no extras. Such a beautiful change from home where the sense of entitlement seems overpowering at times. The walk to and from clinic, delicious meals and new friends are all added bonuses to this experience. I am already looking forward to a return trip.

     Our first day of clinic was busy as usual.  We worked hard to make sure every station was properly stock in order to start seeing patients as quickly as possible .   Once everything was up and running the process of unpacking the bags began. we sis not end until we left clinic at 4 pm. At the end of the day I always enjoy the walk home  to unwind with the staff.  .  I knew the roads were in bad shape and that we had a challenge ahead of us.   The walk down the hill was long and slow but gratefully not slick.  As we approached the riverbed I could hear the movement of streams of water on the rocks.  There were Haitians bathing and enjoying the moment.   We were quickly confronted with the idea that some how we had to get over a wide stream of water not wanting to get wet.  We attempted various areas but realized that it was inevitable the our wishes were not going to be granted.   Quickly I was reminded of how kind the Haitian people can be and how  gracious Gods timing can be in a time of struggle.  A group of young Haitian men saw us struggling.   One young man dropped what he was carrying and offered to help . Without even hesitating he threw a larger rock in the stream for us to step on and offered his hand in a loving way to help us cross without being harmed or slipping.  We were thrilled!  We thanked him and went on our merry way, thanking the dear lord for brining us home safely to the top of the other side of the mountain.

I Have an interpreter that is brand new to this job. It has been a great learning experience and challenging for both of us but today we really synched. We have been so busy and well many of you know what happens when your a Family Practitioner in Haiti.....the visit is never really over until you hear "Infection Vaginal". So today when I thought just maybe, Ronaldine said wait she has an infection vaginal, I said "Your Killing Me Smalls" she wanted to know what that meant so I explained it. We both started laughing and now it's her favorite, she even made me write it down for her. It's what I love about Haiti even the littlest things are new and fun.

 This is my first mission trip.  Leaving Virginia, I was very nervous and worried about what challenges the week would bring.  When I landed in Ft.Lauderdale airport,  I was greeted by the team with hugs and a home made lunch. I called my family and said there was nothing to worry about.  This group has been so wonderful.  We begin our day in a prayer circle, then eat a beautiful breakfast overlooking the magnificent mountains of Haiti . We hike to the clinic chatting ,laughing and physically pulling each other up the mountain.  When we arrive at clinic we are all ready to work as a team and use our skills and passion to provide healthcare.   I am so blessed to be part of this team. Jen

I am so grateful to be here serving these amazing people!  I also was slipping down the slope and not knowing who was behind me felt a hand upon my back-stopping the slide propelling me forward- when balance was regained I turned to see a beautiful young mom and her baby who had prevented my decent.  I praise And thank God for all of you praying and supporting us as we try our best to stop all of these beautiful people from slipping down a slippery slope!  A simple smile, hug, vitamins and worm treatment may be all they need to  let them know we all care.  We are headed to day 4 of clinic now and pray to see the 200 people who were turned away yesterday-and pray we can get to those that travel to the clinic today.  Thank you for your continued prayers for this amazing team I am blessed to be a part of!

This is my first trip to Haiti but one of many mission trips. It has been an experience that will always be so SPECIAL to me.

I feel beyond blessed to be serving with this amazing team. Our hours of care feel busy but fulfilling as we enjoy the many smiles and hugs of our patients. For all of your love and support we say a huge and heartfelt thank you. Please continue your prayers. We have one more day of clinic and will likely see another 200 folks as we saw all those who had waited to see us yesterday and could not be seen. The days are shorter in October and the light is lost by 4-4:30p.  I have converted my translator to "CUBISM" This email has taken 24 hrs to finish. I will close it now. Blessings and hugs to each of you. 


August 2016

August 2016 (Notes written as emails by Lynette Kerrane-Darragh)
Day 1: Hello to all - We have all safely arrived as a group to Haiti.  We had a smooth transition from the airport to MTM.  We had a warm welcome and a yummy meal followed by meetings that help us prepare for our new day tomorrow at the clinic. We have extremely limited internet connection. Please do not expect personal replies.  We will be sending a daily group email as internet connections allow. Looking forward to the new day.
Best - Little By Little August 2016 Team
Day 2: Good Evening! We completed our first day in our clinic and were able to take care of 124 patients.  The patients waited patiently outside in a line for their turns to be seen.  Everyone part of the team worked diligently to be sure that we were able to help as many people as possible.  Our stock room was refilled and it has been noted how nice it has been to have the extra help in the pharmacy this year.  The providers have been teaching as they help the patients and the students have been learning through these amazing experiences. The translators have been incredibly helpful so that we can communicate to the patients what needs to be done to address their individual needs. As the clinic closed today, we all made our way home rather it be walking on the road, driving in the atv or truck, or hiking down along the goat trail.  We all safely arrived back and missed the rain that was waiting to fall. Some of us enjoyed a few rain drops on the back porch that faces the mountain and enjoyed the beauty of the clouds that hung low in the background. We all said our nightly prayer together at dinner and enjoyed a wonderfully prepared dinner.  Dinner was followed by meetings both as a group and then in individual groups with the providers. Looking forward to a new day tomorrow in the hopes of seeing even more patients as we will have an earlier start now that the clinic has been stocked and we have the first day of clinic under our belts. As a reminder, communication is limited due to the wifi capabilities but we will do our best to continue to send daily emails.
Best - Little by Little August 2016 Team 

Day 3: Good Evening! Another new day in Haiti!!!  We gathered early this morning for a yummy breakfast of porridge, fresh bananas, and watermelon.  As usual, we had a business breakfast and we were all off and running to start Day 2 of clinic.  Positions were rotated throughout the group so that everyone could understand how the clinic is run more efficiently and to provide the students different learning opportunities from both the patients and the providers.  Today, we were able to see between 150 and 200 patients.  Our ability to tally numbers were compromised by a thunderstorm that rolled in quickly near closing time and we all had to hurry out of the clinic to be able to arrive home safely. Some team members made their way down and up the goat trail during the storm and felt the beauty of the rain fall. We gathered for dinner shortly after our return and followed up with our meetings as usual.  The room was filled with compliments and enthusiasm about the team member’s contributions to the clinic today.  The students reiterated how many learning experiences they were being gifted with by experiencing patient care first hand with their providers teaching along the way. 
Another successful day in Haiti - Little by Little August 2016 Team

Day 4: Good Evening - We began our day by waking up to the sounds of roosters. Freshly brewed coffee awaited us...a shared love by many.  We had our business breakfast meeting as usual and then off we went to Day 3 of clinic.  A long line of patients waited patiently to be seen lined up along the road.  Some of these patients travel quite a long ways and yet remain patient and appreciative of their ability to have a turn to be seen in the clinic.  It truly is remarkable how resilient these patients are.  Once again, members of the team switched around duties in the clinic which provides everyone an opportunity to both understand how different parts of the clinic work as well as have the opportunity to interact with different team members in different capacities. It turned out to be a beautiful and cool afternoon to return home both on foot or by vehicle.  Some members hiked back via the goat trail which is a little steeper but a shorter distance, while others took the hike back along the road that the vehicle travels along. As some of us returned to home, there was a pause to listen the sounds of singing children in the church.   Dinner was served shortly after and our nightly meeting was held. Patient stories were shared by both the providers as well as the students. We are proud to report that we were able to see and treat over 200 patients today. Everyone worked as quickly as they could, all the while trying to provide the best possible patient care.  Knowing how this team is needed by all of the people that travel so far for help, feeds the positive energy that runs through the clinic. The compassion expressed by all team members and the level of commitment to patient care was exemplary and it was acknowledged repeatedly by different team members during the team meeting. Truly a special team to be part of and another successful day in Haiti. Best - Little by Little August Haiti 2016 team

Day 5: Good Evening - We just finished up our general meeting where we recapped the events of the day.  We are happy to report that we saw 228 patients today.  The quote of the evening has been...."We were crankin'!"
We began our day with porridge along with fresh bananas and apricots.  It felt a bit warmer than the previous days on our walk to the clinic this a.m.  As usual, we were greeted by a long line of patients who patiently were waiting for our help.  As a team, along with our translators, we said a group prayer as usual and opened the clinic for the day. Once again, team members moved around in different spots.  Everyone moved as quickly as possible throughout the day.  We broke for lunch which consisted of rice and beans and returned back to the clinic quicker than usual as rain had begun to fall. The afternoons always fly by extra fast and we found ourselves once again working past 4pm to help as many patients as we possibly could.  On the way home, it began to lightly rain, but stopped shorty after it began.  The chitter-chatter amongst the members filled the walk home as members exchanged stories of their day. The smiles on the faces and the appreciation expressed in their body language were a testament to the dedication of these members to their patients. Upon our return, we were served an "American meal" that consisted of sloppy joes with other sides.  We had the chance to purchase coffee tonight as this region is known for their great tasting coffee beans. The members of this team continue to appreciate these experiences and are continuing to bond with one another.  It truly is an amazing experience to be part of this group. Little by Little August 2016 Team

Day 6: Good Evening - Hard to believe this was our last day of clinic. We began the day as usual with our business breakfast and our commute to the clinic by foot or vehicle.  The sun shined brightly.  Focus remained on providing the best possible patient care while meeting as many patients needs as possible. Everyone continued to work collectively.  At lunch time, the group gathered and shouted out our "We are crankin!" motivational theme.  Many laughs were shared and we all returned to the clinic to finish out our afternoon assisting the needs of the patients.  You could see the joy in the team members as they saw progress from their efforts in the returning patients.  Tremendous empathy was also shared as the challenges that many of the patients face are brought to life. At the end of the day, we shared a prayer and a delicious dinner. Members sat around after dinner and exchanged stories of the day.  The beauty of these stories is that they both reinforce the learning and teaching experiences which provide for growth. Tomorrow we will all gather for a mass spoken in mostly Creole.  The rest of the day’s activities have yet to be decided. We are happy to report that we were able as a group to treat every patient that made his or her way to the clinic. In total we were able to treat 948 patients. This is truly a blessing. Little By Little August 2016 team