Labor Repose

Labor Repose
LaborPayne during her 6th homebirth (9th baby) at age 44

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Morning in the Compound

Another warm and beautiful morning in paradise. It truly is beautiful here. Port au Prince is ringed by mountains on three sides which you can see in a distance from any direction. The foliage is lush and abundant. The people are beautiful too. Handsome and strong, the Hatian people have the best posture! It comes from the large loads they carry one their heads. They are fine boned and short statured but lanky.
It is busy in the compound as everyone prepares for their day out in the city. A small army of interpreters sit under shade trees waiting to be assigned to various groups. Drives gas up their vans and tap-taps from the compound gas tank. Physicians and nurses visit the on-site pharmacy to stock up on needed medications for the day. I consulted with family doc this morning. That illness that was 'going around' that I saw in every baby yesterday was Typhoid Fever. The good doc gave me some great treatment ideas and I was glad we were on the right track yesterday, when we didn't even know what disease we were treating. Very high fevers and diarrhea are the hallmark signs. I did some reading up on the disease process. Most times it will run its course, but for children who are already compromised, the dehydration can send them on a downward spiral. The little girl I saw yesterday was very bad off. She needed IV hydration or she might succumb to the disease before it ran its course. I also saw a 14 year old who was the size of an 8 year old. Chronic malnutrition is to blame. With any hope if he gets better nutrition he can recoup some of that growth during puberty.
Today we are being sent to a different tent city. We will have a different driver, but hopefully the same interpreters. I am quite smitten with KiKi. the is a beautiful and bright young man with a quick sense of humor. He is also quiet and wise and reminds me of my 21 year old. William would have loved meeting KiKi, I'm sure of it. I can hardly wait for the adventures the day holds. I'm trying to post pictues of some of the sites. The city is in disarray, but the school compound is our little paradise. I'm meeting and working with wonderful individuals. A group of school girls cross the campus. I forget that the school is still in operation. All the classes take place in the chapel, in the far corner of the campus. The relief organization has taken over every other area of the campus. There is so much work to be done. Every evening, Mequette (the Haitian school nurse and assignment organizer) begs for volunteers to work the night shift at the locals hospitals. Mequette spends all day on the phones, communicating with hospitals and clinics all over the city and outlying areas. She is the one who assigns where everyone goes and with whom. Art (an American phys ed teacher who has taught at the school for two years) it the camp organizer. He and Mequette bring amazing organization to a place that has new people arriving daily. I have met people who will be here as little as a week, and who have been here for months. There are about 60-80 relief workers at any given time, not counting the military who reside on the other side of the soccer fields. Sadly, I am only one of two African-Americans I have seen here. But of course, I am grateful for whoever comes. Matt, my team leader, is meeting with our driver for today. It's time to grab my suitcase of supplies and hit the road. I do not know what to expect in the new location. It probably won't be as nice as the church yesterday. We also lost YeVonne, our most experience relief worker. She was assigned to another group, and we got a homecare nurse who just arrived yesterday. I guess that makes me the veteran. I'll be showing her the ropes. Thank you for your continued prayers. I'm having the time of my life.

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