Did I mention that I'll never do anything like this again unless I have a Blackberry or laptop? Sorry it's so long between posts but things are very busy and every night, everyone is trying to contact family. I've traded some favor to be named later with Doc Colleen for the use of your laptop. You may have seen her on CNN last week; she and a nurse named Gabrielle took care of a 5-year-old boy pulled from the rubble last Tues or Wed. I watched her story on TV at O'Hare airport waiting for my plane, then a few hours later I met both of them at IMC headquarters. By the way, the little boy is doing well; he came to have dinner tonight with Colleen and Gabrielle. What a cutie.
Stephanie, John says he loves you and misses you. He talks about you all the time and is worried about you. He has been working in the medical ward every day and will be bringing home some incredible stories. And he's journaling, too, so he captures the details.
As for me, the clinic in Bolosse is going very well. We usually open around 10 and run till 3:30, but we closed early today so that we could scout for other sites for mobile clinics. We visited the lower portion of Bolosse for the first time; it's close to the shore, but a pitiful site. Metal sheds; many collapsed buildings; unspeakable latrines. In the midst of this, laughing children want to hold my hand and touch my fair skin; a group of men plays cards; and across the street is a collapsed home where several family members died.
From there we traveled to an area called Grand Ravine which made lower Bolosse look like a picnic grove. We had to walk in because the road just narrows, then ends. The houses are perched on the steep hillsides and we had to climb to get anywhere. A local leader told us that the people of Grand Ravine have NEVER had medical care, even before the earthquake. We couldn't find a secure, undamaged structure to hold our clinic (although, frankly, we couldn't explore the entire area, it's too large). Dr. Brian and I will set up our clinic on a ledge... literally a ledge, outside of someone's home. We hope to find a tarp big enough to hang and provide shade, and any medical supplies we need, we'll have to backpack in and out every day. Hard work, but I'm ready to start. First back to Bolosse for one more clinic day there, and we will tell them that for a few days we'll be working in Grand Ravine, eventually I think to work every other day at each site.
On the way back from Grand Ravine, we stopped one last time in Bolosse to visit the wife of Samuel, one of the translators who has been helping in the clinic. She was injured in the initial earthquake and has been living on a mat on their porch since then... 2 weeks! She most likely has a pelvic fracture, but here there is not much to do about that. We took her some crutches, and with a little encouragement I had her crutch walking across the porch, non-weight bearing. I've done patient teaching in pretty strange places, but this takes the cake. I want her to try to walk twice a day... "Un matins, et soir." I'm picking up just a little Creole. I tried to teach them some Polish, but they just laughed.
Enough for now. We are safe, and happy to be doing this work.
To our friends and families: John and I love you all and thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
To Cathy: Can you please try to post the activity of the other SEIU nurses at St. Damien's? I tried to get a ride over but it's impossible.
To Tara: Thanks for facilitating communications. Tell KDKA that my phone will be out of town for a few days (the dr. who it belongs to is in Jacmel for a few days) and I will call you when I have access to a phone.
To Fred and the boys: Hope the house is still standing! Miss and love you all!
Pray for Haiti.