Friday, March 5, 2010

So Much Makes It Hard To Stay Caught Up

We came in this morning to find out that there was another shooting this morning. A Franciscan Priest from Costa Rica had been going to the bank this morning when he was shot and robbed on his way out. He was here with a group of other priests and nuns doing relief work. That's just so sad to see someone like that targeted in such violence. People around here continue to grow in their restlessness and desperation. It's not that the supplies aren't getting here, it's just that they are unequitably being distributed. The government has been accused of taking numerous donations and selling them the people to make a profit. That is appauling!

By mid-afternoon, it was about time for our day and a half break. The Russian girls Victoria and Lilya, Mel, and myself went along with Kira and her family up the shore to their beach house. It's beautiful along the coast here. On one side you have huge mountains. On the other is the clear blue ocean and coral reefs. It rained throughout the night once we got there, but we ended up knowing it would be full of relaxation.

I woke up this morning to freshly brewed coffee. AT&T has been so amazing about their phone service allowing call to and from Haiti to be free- that also includes Internet service. Mel has AT&T service, which meant I got to drink hot coffee on the beach and read all the local news back in Duluth. It was nice to feel so connected to home and relaxed all at once.

Mel decided to head up the mountain with us. We had a local guide lead our adventure that was steep. On our way up, we passed a church where Sunday services were going on and we could hear their singing. The singing followed us the entire way up the mountain. We went about 2,000 feet up about a 60-degree angle. When we got to the first cave, we were greated by a snowy white owl. Up further, we reached another cave. This one had a trail of bat bones leading up to it and the inside was covered in bat poop. It stank pretty bad. I had to wonder what kinds of ceremonies went on in this place and how it must look at night inside the cave when candles are lit and the shadows and reflections bounce off the musty walls.

On our way back down the mountain, we passed a few goats and took a few spills on the loose gravel. We passed back by the Church and by this time, everyone was standing outside in one great big circle waving their hands and singing. At the end of the service, everyone started to shake each other's hands and hug one another. Several of the Haitians came over to us and gave us hugs saying 'Merci, Merci'. The children were enthralled at seeing people with different colored skin than theirs and stayed close by looking up in awe.

By the time we arrived back at the house, we were sopping wet from our workout and the heat. We quickly changed and then jumped into the refreshing Caribbean sea. Several of our friends floated out a bit from shore on a giant floating saucer while I busied myself with a mask and snorkel. I swam out to the reef and did some snorkeling, saw lots of fish and beautiful corals, and then ventured over to a small shipwreck resulting from the last hurricane. That kinda scared me because baraccuda apparently live inside the ship. I don't want to mess with those little guys. In my little underwater adventure I found several dead sea urchins that I put in my little treasure pouch and a beautiful bright orange starfish. For 2 hours I stayed in the water. I was competely waterlogged. Meanwhile, music played, the Haitian sun beat down, and I got fried.

By the time we were done searching for shells, a beautiful lunch spread was served. We had spaghetti, baked lobster and crab with a garlic butter sauce, fresh bread, and hot dogs. It was all quite good and I was sad we were starting to wrap up our time here. Our time at the beach passed as quickly as it arrived and we suddenly found it time to come home. That night, I was so dehydrated I had to give myself an IV with some fluids. I was pretty proud of myself that I got it and did it on the first try. With fluids infusing I played a few hands of rummy, and then settled off to sleep to prepare myself for the start of another week.

I walked into the hospital today and was attending to another medical worker who had thrown their back out. I must have been standing there for a couple minutes before looking up and realizing Josh was back from his Dominican Republic adventure. Around the hospital today, things were business as usual. We discovered we desperately need diapers- for both adults and kids. We had to put a 6 month old in a diaper the size of the entire baby. It was like a hammock! Something neat today that happened was that Outside Magazine came by the clinic to do a photoshoot with some of our patients. They set up a white backdrop, a light kit, and the folks shooting photos were exceptionally friendly and compassionate with the patients. It was great to see a man come from the tent, ragged, disheveled, missing a limb, and just come to life with the lights and the camera. The photo shoot really made for some fun for the patients. It was something new, exciting, and interesting going on. I got some really good shots of my little Joshua and I together as well.

As I was walking through the tents today, greeting everyone for the day, I had one of the patient's aunts come over and give me a bracelet that they had bought for me. It was so sweet because these people hardly have anything to give. They're just trying to do what they can to take care of themselves. Another similar situation happened today in the infamous Tent number 7. The folks in this tent are mischevious, charming, and a lot of fun. They've also become like a family to one another.Well, today was Victoria's birthday (an aspiring nurse on the team)and somehow that tent knew it was her birthday. They brought her into the tent, sang her happy birthday, and then pulled out a bunch of little trinkets to share . They gave her cookies, crackers, a little beanie baby, and other little trinkets that most would consider complete junk back home. Tat day, we were dropped back off at the compound where Kira had made fresh brownies and ice cream. Yum! That was good.


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