The first three days of our journey to Haiti, involve multiple delays, long flights, several connections, flight cancellations and rescheduled itineraries. Members of the team have arrived with lots of baggage, filled with life saving medicine and other needed supplies. The first part of our team assembles at our beautiful accommodations in Carrefour. As well as this temporary home, we are supplied with a group of translators and a driver that will take us wherever we need to go.
During the first day in Haiti, we visit the Adventist University and Hospital to help move things. On day two, our team is reunited as a complete group. We sit together and figure out what things we would like to get done before the day is over. We quickly regroup, pack supplies and get ready to head out to our first orphanage. We head to Orphelinat Refuge des Orphelins , an orphanage in Port Au Prince. This orphanages houses more than thirty orphans. A few months prior to our arrival this orphanage was ravaged by cholera. Several children died before our trip with several still in dire need of medical help. We set up a quick clinic and spend the next few hours checking out all the children. We give care to those who need it, from treating worms, scabies, respiratory disease, dehydration and malnutrition. One child at this orphanage, Nangela, is in serious condition. Since the outbreak of cholera she has been battling a rectal prolapse. Hilary, a P.A. with Team Redwood tries to help correct the situation. Using sugar to reduce swelling, she is able to push the rectum back inside her body. We wait, knowing that if this can continue for the next few days she may recover. The team spends time with the remaining children, helping bring some love to them and smiles to their faces. We have two team members that spend their time working on a clean water system for the orphanage. The team has bought rice, oil, vitamins, worm medication, formula, diapers and clothes to give to the home. When we leave, we are hoping that over the next few days Nangela will recover.
That night, our team assembles to discuss what we have done and what we would like to see for the next day. We make plans to organize a pharmacy, with all the members of the group helping separate and compile needed medications. A group of us clean out and organize a space that will house our supplies. We work quickly and in no time, we have a suitable pharmacy set up. We plan and pack for our next clinic.
On day three of our trip, we head to Delivrance pour Tous. This orphanage holds a special place in our hearts. It is run by one of our Haitian translators, Marco. His orphanage takes care of 24 children, from abandon infants to teenagers. The Orphanage's primary source of funding comes from Marco's personal earnings. Most of the children in this orphanage are in fair condition. While they are malnourished and recovering from illness, most of the children are only in need of very basic medical care. Two children from his orphanage, are in need of more urgent care. Two of his babies, Emanuel and Challo are treated for life threatening worms and Salmonella. Two of our team members work to test and put together a clean water system for this orphanage. After we treat all of the children, we play games with them and try to bring them some happiness. We have delivered a lot of supplies to this orphanage, including 200 pounds of rice, oil, protein powder, formula, a years worth of vitamins, bedding and diapers. Later this evening, we visit the Corner Orphanage. This orphanage is only a few blocks from our house. The kids at this orphanage are older children who are fairly healthy. The one main issue for these children is their housing condition and their malnutrition. After setting up a clinic and seeing these children, we realize that they are in need of attention. We hope to make it back on another day to be able to spend more time playing with the children.
On Sunday, we make a quick visit at Orphelinat Refuge des Orphelins to check on Nagnela. Her progress is good. Ater this stop, we drive to a seaside city called Cabaret. This is a trip that takes us about two hours out of Port Au Prince. This is a breathtaking journey through the country side of Haiti, where we pass several large tent cities. Once we reach the village we are welcomed with open arms. We arrive toward the end of church services and quickly set up a clinic inside the church. We see most of the local residents. We also get the privilege to see a set of week old twins. This is a celebrated rarity in Haiti and both babies seem to be doing very well. Most of the residents here are fairly healthy with just minor conditions. This village is remote and does not get to have rountine health care visits. While we were out of the city our fellow team members stayed behind trying to tackle the challenging, but necessary, water problems at the orphanages and at the University Hospital. They have tested the water and devised plans on how to correct the current issues.
Our fifth day a few of our team members head out all over town to retrieve parts they will need to put together a clean, safe water system for the Adventist Hospital and University. The medical side of the group heads out to Mr Jaguar's School where we set up a mobile medical clinic. These kids are generally healthy with mostly minor complaints. After we have seen the children and staff at the school, we open the gates to see people from the local neighborhood. There is quickly and quietly a long line that forms outside the clinic. In this neighborhood we see a lot of common ailments and are able to give out a large amount of needed reading glasses. On our way back to our house, we stop at Soloman's Orphanage. The kids here are in good health, so our stop includes a few games and treats.
On Tuesday, our sixth day, we have a relaxed team day. We make a trip up to Delmas to look at some street art and do some shopping. In the afternoon, our team heads up to Petionville to the World Vision Headquarters for a meeting. This meeting gives the team some good insight into the situation all over Haiti and the possibility to be able to work with others helping in the area. Two of our team members will be leaving tomorrow to head to another area of Haiti, it is hard to see them go. They will continue to help with water systems in other areas of Haiti.
On our seventh day in Haiti, we retrace some of our past locations. We head back to Orphelinat Refuge des Orphelins to check on Nangela and the other orphans. They seem to be doing well. We enjoy playing some games with the children, we show them a few games we play in America and they have shown us some of the games they play there. It was quite a relaxing and fun visit. Next we head back over to Delivrance pour Tous. We check on a few of the children at this orphanage, unfortunately we are not seeing a steady improvement in their health. One of the highlights of this day for our team, is that we were able to provide both orphanages with 3300 pounds of food and 75 liters of cooking oil, in addition to the food we had already delivered. These supplies of food will provide for these children for almost an entire year.
Our eight day in Haiti begins with a few sick team members. Due to the change in diet, hydration and travel, some of the members are not feeling very well. This day becomes a sick day for our team to strengthen up for the remaining trip. Our security coordinator makes more food and supply deliveries to the orphanages.
On Friday, our ninth and final full day in Haiti, our team makes another trip to the Corner Orphanage. On this trip we deliver the remaining food and supplies. We spend a majority of the time playing games with the children. They seem more outgoing and happy on this visit, we even play a game of water balloons with the kids. After this, we have learned that a one of the children from Delivrance pour Tous needs to be taken to the hospital. One of our team members brings this child to the hospital and the team pays for the visit. The child is seen and then sent home with some medication. This evening is spent as a group discussing our contributions from the past week. It is hard for everyone to know that we will soon be leaving. There is so much more we would like to do and so many more kids we would like to be able to help.
On our tenth day in Haiti, most of our team packs up to head to the airport. It will be a one or two day journey back to our home towns. We are sad to go but already planning for our next trip!