Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Deep in the countryside, high up in the mountains

Today I traveled to the Bastien Dispensary, a small community clinic run by Hospital Albert Schweitzer, high up in the mountains. I left immediately with one of the Rehabilitation Technicians to visit patients in their homes. This is where you see the real Haiti. It is both fascinating and heartbreaking to see the poverty there. Many children watched as we visited the patients, children who often were old enough to be in school but were not. (Later in the day we did see children along the road in school uniforms, an encouraging sign that some are in school.) One patient had many family members gathered around and was doing well. One man was totally alone on the dirt floor of his small home. He told us that he did not have money for medication or food. The Tech called his family in Deschapelle to ask them to come and help him; this phone call from the mountains is an amazing improvement of the last few years. We saw 6 patients who ran the gamut from pain in one shoulder to leg weakness that caused her to collapse when she attempted standing. All of the patients and/or their families said thank you as we left. I hope that, at the least, we may have provided some human contact and a ray of hope. For the children who giggled as they accepted a piece of candy from the 'blan' stranger, I hope they see that these strangers can be their friend. For most of the kids I think I was, at least, a little entertainment for the day.

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