The past two days have been filled with such great sadness and such great joy.
Visiting general hospital was one of the hardest things I have done. This hospital, had no power in the building we were in, and the nurses looked helpless. It was here that I looked death in the face. Some of the people I encountered in the first building looked as if they had little to no fight left. It was challenging for me to watch this. As I went around and bandaged and also provided whatever French translation I could, a man called me “doctor”. 7-10 years away from an actual doctorate, my basic knowledge of wound care, and human anatomy was perceived as so much more. These people looked at me as if I had all the answers when in actuality I was scared. Watching a bed sore devour this woman to the bone wasn’t as shocking as I thought it would be, it was not the sore that got me. The fact that this woman had not given up, despite her wounds, despite her paralyzation shocked me, her courage and bravery was remarkable.
We proceeded to the infant area after the adult quarantine. I was checking for any visible sores that I could take care of, and applied several wrappings to children. What hurt me about this, is when I bandaged a young girl who had a cut on her elbow, she immediately tore off the wrapping, and her family did nothing about this. I didn’t know what to do because I had done what I could yet, the child and family did not understand the importance of keeping that wound covered. The very last child I came across was the most sad part of the trip. This little baby had retinoblastoma, it was evident because we extensively studied this in one of my first semester classes. It looked as though the cancer had spread past the pupils and was taking over most of the eye, if left untreated most certainly the infant would pass. The mother asked me in French, “Will my baby be okay?” and I froze. I didn’t have the heart to tell her what was happening. I do not know if this was the right thing to do, in not telling her but instead directing the conversation in a different direction. These thoughts go through my brain constantly when I lay in my bed at night, it eats away at me.
Experiencing the HaItian Beach the next day was a nice day to get some things off of my mind. The elderly were so happy to be at the beach and were so eager to swim and feel the water. They collected the ocean and brought back home with them, this melted my heart, every single time they look at that they will remember the joy they had experienced that day. It was a special thing to be a apart of.
At the beach I was able to play some soccer with the kids as well. They embraced Patrick and I from the start and really wanted to just have a good time, there was no judgement. Minimal judgement has been demonstrated by the Haitian people and this is something I hope to bring back to the states and make a conscious effort to improve upon in my life.
Today we were able to go to Juno’s Orphanage. Kicking the soccer ball around of course, I unfortunately stepped on a stump of some sorts and sprained my ankle. This was actually kind of a blessing because when the kids sang their songs they put me in the middle of the circle on a chair, and I was surrounded by all of them which felt pretty special. The innocence of the children really gets to me at times, they are so happy all of the time, it is quite remarkable.
Tonight was also special, and my team was the reason why. My team has been amazing all week. My birthday is the 19th and it was arranged to have a little celebration for me. I had no idea this was coming. It truly meant the world to me that they remembered and were there to share this special day with me. I am so happy I am able to spend it in Haiti with people who care about me. I love them.
This trip has taught me so much about the world, about people, and about life. I am so humbled and honored to be part of such an experience, I cannot wait to come back and continue to make a difference. The way the people treat you here is what life is all about. This place feels more like home than anything I have experienced.