Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Teaching Again

Tuesday evening, March 2, 2010
Yesterday I began teaching again in the Rehabilitation Technician Training Program. There are 6 Haitian students, including one who is an RN who I have worked with here for many years. As during last summer, the purpose of this program run jointly by Hospital Albert Schweitzer, Health Volunteers Overseas, and Friends of HAS is to train basic rehabilitation technicians to work in the community. There couldn’t be a better time for this with Haiti overflowing with injured disabled individuals in need of rehabilitation.

The teaching goes very slowly, as it is all done through a translator who tries very hard, but struggles with his English. The small room at the hospital is open on 2 sides with full screens, but still hot and dusty. It is noisy and uncomfortable, but it is progress in terms of availability of rehabilitation!

My understanding is that in Haiti, most education, at least before college, is primarily by rote. Students are given material to memorize and there is always a correct answer. In the Technician program, many of the students are being asked for the first time to put together ideas, work with their hands to learn, and to come to conclusions. Learning to do this is incredibly difficult and this afternoon was especially slow. Beth helped me with the lab today and we slowly, slowly coached the students through a simple list of questions to assess 3 ‘fake’ wounds that we had drawn on my legs.

The kids remain the best and the saddest part of working here. They run through the hospital , often naked except for their bandages, yelling “BLAN, BLAN” when they see us and begging for a balloon. They are also the saddest as many of them have injuries that will never completely resolve. Fortunately, right now, they don’t know that and they live in the moment.

Web access has become almost impossible so I do not know when this will be posted. I have to admit that I am getting very tired as I have worked nonstop in the hospital and/or teaching since arriving here last Tuesday. Beth and I have decided to ask for one day off from seeing patients this weekend.

Hope I can send this to you before I return home! Judy

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