Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Haiti Part 3

Thursday and Friday had us back at the clinic. We found a groove and worked, hopefully, to the glory of God. =) Pictures speak louder than words...

All of our patients worked really hard. Most of them have never received physical therapy before coming to our clinic so they love coming. They get to re-learn how to use their muscles to walk, sit, or even squeeze a foam ball. I'm sure anyone who has been to PT before will tell you that it is a TON of work but SO rewarding. The smiles on our patients faces at the end of the day makes me know that they're enjoying their therapy - or at least a little attention and TLC. =)

Although we had only worked two days since our last day off (thanks to Flag Day) we were still all exhausted and happy for a weekend. Really this just meant we got to stay in the workshop and help the orthotist and prosthetist fill, strip, and modify their casts/leg molds.

Don't worry, though, we still found lots of time for fun! On Saturday I went on a walk to my missionary friends' house. They only live about a mile away from Dr. June's house where I was staying. My friend and I walked up the hill, past the clinic, and around the corner. We came to a fork in the road and we didn't know which way to go. I asked (in my very poor Creole) an older man who was sitting in the shade if he knew where they lived. With lots of gesturing we decided which way we should go and we continued on our way. Not long after that fork, we came to another small intersection. I recognized the RMI guest house (where I had stayed for one night on my previous trip to Haiti). I knew exactly where I was but just didn't know where to go. My friend called her friend who knew the area but he didn't answer. We were very downtrodden. It was hot and we were semi-lost. The only thing we could do was turn back. After walking just a few short paces and redialing her friend's number a half-dozen times, he finally picked up. He knew exactly where we needed to go. PTL! We headed down the correct path and came to the missionary housing area. We asked a few MKs who were outside playing which house was theirs and we finally found it! I was very thankful to have found their house and for the chance to sit in the shade and talk a while. Friends and familiar faces are always a welcome respite when traveling in a foreign country. God always knows what we need and sends wonderful people to encourage us!

After our walk we got back to the house and worked in the shop some more. I must not have looked busy (I'm not a good orthotist, apparently) so Cerafin invited me to bring food to some hospital patients. In Haiti, hospitals generally do not provide food (or personal hygiene care). Some hospitals don't even offer medicines - family members must go buy it and bring it back for the hospital to administer it. Anyway, there are a few patients who are in the hospital and don't have family with them. They have been long-standing rehab patients who have grown to know Dr. June. Thus, she sends breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the hospital for two patients, daily. Cerafin is usually the food delivery boy and I was happy to be invited along. Though I had been in Haiti nearly a week by then, this was the first time I had gone upstairs to the hospital. The setting met my expectations (though I must confess they weren't very high) but I definitely had no way to prepare myself for the smell. It wasn't unbearable but it definitely made you cringe a bit upon entry. We chatted a while...actually I sat there and looked around while Cerafin chatted. He doesn't speak English so it's not like he could translate for me. We witnessed a very sad event (which was also confusing for me since I wasn't exactly sure what was going on at first...considering I speak and understand very little Creole). But Cerafin stuck with me so all was good.

Sunday greeted us nice and early. We awoke to the beautiful sounds of the church choir practicing. It was a nice background to get ready and eat breakfast to. The church service was beautiful. There's so much energy and you can really see their joy come alive. It didn't matter that there were several hundred people cramped into a stifling hot room, they came to worship the King...and worship they did! It made me smile as I bobbed to the the beat and worshiped God in my different/American way. I may feel awkward raising my hands and crying out loud but I certainly appreciate their desire to do so...and that they shirk all fear of awkward-ness. Maybe one day I'll get over that.

After church we went on a hike. We made our way along the river and saw many people swimming, bathing, washing clothes, and washing cars. It was actually funny to see it all occurring in the same area. We also climbed some mango trees to get a few mangoes and found a very large and funny fruit/gourd thing that the Haitians call a calbas.

Cerafin helped me cut and empty out my fruit/gourd thing (like a pumpkin). I wanted to dry it out and try to make bowls. Apparently it wasn't ripe yet because it dried all wonky. Oh well, I'll have to try again another time!

Cerafin is such a ham. He loves to goof off...especially at the expense of my poor little calbas bowl.
To Be Continued...

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