April First and Â Second in Chardonier
It is takes two hours to get to Chardonier from Les Cayes not one. It is a beautiful ride along the southern coast of Haiti. The villages have a sweet old world look to them little houses on narrow streets. Some have churches near the town square with steeples, all set on Caribbean beaches. The dirty garbage and rubble filed streets of Port au Prince are a memory here. Being farther away from those street means being farther away from paying jobs and access to the big markets of Port au Prince–we see a lot more malnutrition here than closer to the cities.
We arrived to about a about 200 or so people in the street all pushing to get in side the yard of the building where the clinic was held and another 100 already inside. This being the first day we had all our bags, we had a chance to see all of what we had and organize our medications and supplies. The day went very well. Our 4 visiting and 5 Haitian docs did approximately 180 consultations. Our dentist saw about 47 people most having more than a couple teeth pulled. Dr Matt worked well past dark to finish everyone he had promised to see.
Karen, our social worker turned “Dental Hygiene Queenâ€ť worked with Junior Mardy, an old pro at this work, to apply sealants and fluoride treatments to 75 students at a near by school.
Everyone worked hard from the time we arrived until the sun went down. Then our hostÂ a family here in Chardonier generously shared their home on the beach with us. We had a lovely meal of goat, rice, green beans, beets and mac and cheese. Most of us elected to sleep under the stars on the roof of a church next door to the house. When we arrived the church was singing full force, which continued on until after most of us were ready to go to bed. Serena, who speaks kreyol, went next door to listen in. The woman speaking to the congregation was saying â€śThank you Jesus, for protecting our mothers, for protecting our fathers and our children.Â We should be thankful because so many people do not have what we have.â€ťÂ She wondered just who those people might be but marveled at how even the poorest people find something to be grateful for. Amen
The second day of clinic, getting through the crush of people trying to get in outsideÂ the clinic gate made us feel like rock stars. And made us know again how desperately people need health care in this region.
The day went well.Â We started about 9 am and the docs finished about 4 because we ran out of medications. We saw a total of 542 people.Â Super Dentist Matt Valentine continue on until after dark seeing 82 people and pulling 282 teeth. Wow.
We served over 1000 people in two days.
We had another delicious meal cooked for us by Sionfonds staff ( there are about 45 of us all together, cooks, security, Haitian doctors nurses and interpreters), then set off for Le Cayes for the night.
We are back in Port au Prince now. We have a fresh supply of medications and are heading up to KenscoffÂ this morning for a clinic at our school there.