Thursday, 27 May 2010

A new look

Outside the clinic from the road

Our clinic has been having a bit of a makeover the past month or so and it looks great. When I first arrived in Haiti in 2008 they had just started building a brand new building for the AIDS clinic which runs from Bethesda however there were problems with funding and when I got back here this year 2 years later the building was still not finished never mind being used. But over the past month the guys have been working on it and its nearly ready to be open. We really need the space and it will be great when its open.

The new AIDS building nearly ready to be used.

I just want to tell you about a wee patient I had this week, mostly so you can pray. I have said before that I don't really like telling sad stories on here but at the end of the day that is reality of life in Haiti and there is no point in talking around it or ignoring it because it is simply how things are here.
I have a wee patient called Ashkala, she is 2 and a half and initially I thought she has Cerebral palsy she wasn't able to walk, sit up or even hold her head up then I talked to her mum. Ashkala is her mother's 5th child but she has lost all the other 4 very late on in her pregnancies, Ashkala is the only baby she carried to full term and who has surivived and she was born normal. Then last October she has a big seizure and was taken to the big hospital in town where she was kept in for a week given oxygen and other medicine. But since then she has not been able to walk, talk or do anything really. The very first time I saw her I just talked with her mum for maybe 45 minutes and during that time Ashkala had around 3 small seizures and from her mum she is always doing that continually throughout the day and night. Then her mum told me her husband is really ill and has been for a year, he is just 34 the doctors don't know what is wrong with him but he just stays in bed and is really ill. Because of that she cannot work and therefore doesn't have the money to buy the medicine that ashkala needs to control her seizures. It just is so sad and seems so hopeless. There is a doctor here from home and we saw her yesterday. He thinks there is more than likely something neurological going on and she probably won't live much longer. Especially here in Haiti where the treatment options are so limited. Yet her mum tells me only God knows how she is coping. If it wasn't for God's strength she and her husband would both be dead. And she firmly believe if it is God's will he can heal Ashkala, if it is not his will she trusts he will give her another child. Her faith is just amazing and she is truly taking her strength from God. I told her I would write to people in my church, my country to ask them to pray for her, her husband and for Ashkala. So that's what I am asking you to do, pray for her wee life, that she will not be in pain, that the seizure medicine will work. Pray for strength and courage for her mum, to trust in God and lean on him. Pray for work for her, pray for her husband. wisdom for doctors, medicine to work and that he will be healed.
Thank you.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Ti kado, prosthestics

Since I got back Ive been asked many times 'eske ou te pote'm yon ti kado' 'did you bring me a wee present'. In Haiti they like to give and recieve  'ti kado' (wee presents) and obviously I wasn't able to bring back everyone I know a wee present. However since I got back I have got 4 'ti kado's'.  The day I got back, a couple whose wee boy, Alex I treat in the clinic came to the door with a pineapple for me, then Wednesday at Milot a patient bought me a coconut, then another person give me a bracelet, then on Thursday in the clinic a wee patient who is just 16, stephanie came with 2 cans of this energy drink thing. It is so humbling to recieve presents here because I know these people have nothing and to give me anything is such a sacrifice.

Alex with his mum & dad
Like stephanie (the 16 year old), she was in Port au prince and had crush injuries to her legs, was in the third floor of her school when the earthquake hit. She lay until midnight that night when she was pulled out, went to the hospital the next day and they told her she wasn't ill enough to be there. So she left, slept in the street until she found a way to get to Cap Haitian to stay with her mum who lives here. After she arrived she went to the hopsital in town on 19th Jan, they didn't do anything. She came to Milot 4 weeks ago, having not walked for 3 months and having no treatment at all. However they would not accept her and she was sent home but referred onto outpatient physio with me. The first day I saw her she could barely walk, she has bilateral nerve palsys in her legs and is very sensitive to any touch at all. I was then leaving for nearly 3 weeks, so I gave her lots of things to do at home. She is tiny and I told her if she wants to get better she needs to eat well aswell to give her strength and energy her and her sister both replied 'we don't have any money for food.' They also came with no money to get home, they live around 45 minutes away and the tap tap costs about 20 goods which is about 30p. I had to get someone to carry her out to the road to get on the tap tap and put a chair at the side of the road until one arrived. So I sent her home with lots of exercises to do and wasn't really sure how things would be. She came today and the first thing she gave me was a 'ti kado' which was lovely. Only then did we talk about how she was, and I was so surprised she is doing so much better than I thought she would. Her pain is not at all as bad as it was and she can walk with just one person helping her. She still doesn't have alot of movement in both feet but it is definitely better than what it was.

My 'ti kado's'

While I was away in Canada the prosthetic team was out at milot. It was so cool to come back to see people walking around with their new leg, especially the kids. First of all I went over to paeds to see some of the girls witrh their new leg, it was very cool and they are all pleased with them. At the minute they are just practising trying to walk independantly the wee ones still need a little bit more confidence but they are doing great.

Fariana showing off her new leg

Shadei, Fariana and Nieka

Doing some physiotherapy

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Oh Canada

I just spent the last 2 weeks in Toronto, Canada. Firstly to go to Amy and Evan's wedding. for those of you who don't know Amy was the girl I lived with the last time I was in Haiti and she has become a very good friend. She is from a small town outside of Toronto. While she was in Haiti we had a doctor, Evan from Northern Ireland come to work in the clinic for about 4 weeks. They kept in touch after Evan went home then Amy came over for a wee visit and as they say the rest is history!!They got married last Saturday 8th May, the wedding was lovely and lots of references to Haiti and how they met there.

  My mum&dad also flew out to meet me here so I spent the last two weeks with them which was great. We did lots of sightseeing, went downtown Toronto did the bus tour, some shopping, visited a few wee towns, met up with some friends I have in Toronto and went to Niagra was unbelievable!!I am just travelling back to Haiti over the next two days. I am looking forward to getting back especially to some sunshine and has been way too cold here!!!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Post earthquake

A lot of people have been asking me how are things in Haiti now, have things settled down a bit since the earthquake. And I guess they have since 12 January but for lots of people life is still a struggle. I am glad people are asking though because so often things are forgotten about, they are top stories on the news for a few weeks then its forgotten. Haiti will need help for probably years to come, it will take a long time to rebuild Haiti.

 Here are some facts from a world vision report from Port-au-Prince.

Killed: More than 220,000
Injured: More than 300,000
Displaced: At least 1.7 million
Migrated to rural areas: More than 500,000
Registered at displacement camps, urban area: More than 600,000
Homeless and unregistered, urban areas: More than 600,000
'But the scale of this disaster means that the recovery phase is only just beginning.'

This is what world vision are working on right now
1. Shelter
2. Food
3. Water
4. Healthcare
5. Income
6. Education and a future for children

Right now there are 1.3million people in Port who are homeless and those who do have homes are living in tents, clean water is hard to come by, there is food avaiable to buy on the street but so so many people have lost their jobs and have no work there is no money to buy food. Sanitation is very poor, in Haiti pre earthquake sanitation was already poor this has just gotten worse. Meaning the risk of disease spreading is higher. Straight after the earthquake the government announced all healthcare was to be free for the next 3 months, thankfullythey have extended that for a furthur 3 months. School started back in Port officially on 5th April however many schools were not in the position to re open.
This is the reality in Port right now, true the inital devastation on the earthquake is not so evident but now the Haitian people have to try and get their lives back. Deal with living through the earthquake, with losing family & friends, their homes and everything they had and any injuries they have as a result of the earthquake. Now to try and find shelter, food, water, work and education for their children.
If you are interested in reading the world vision document here is the link.$file/RandR.pdf

As you know I have been working in Milot where all the patients were from Port, just last week they discharged another 50 patients back to Port. When I spoke to most people they wanted to go to back to Port because that is where they know and that is home for them but I can't help thinking how difficult it will be. Going from a hospital where they have been looked after for 3 months, where they have had good shelter, a bed, 3 meals a day and water when they need it to a tent in the middle of a tent city with no guarentee of where or when the next time they will eat will be.

Here are a few of my special friends who were discharged this week.....

Edwina (on the left), she lost some of her family and was staying in Milot with her Auntie. When I first met her she was very withdrawn and depressed. She was in alot of pain from crush injuries on her legs and was not doing very much walking at all with her frame. Now she is much brighter and can walk independantly.

Ena was really very sick after the earthquake, she had a skull fracture, multiple fractures on her left foot and a left wrist fracture and a pelvic fracture. She was on the US comfort ship and was really very unwell, they weren't sure if she would be ok. She was transferred to Milot a few weeks later and has really improved.

Bernadette and her Daughter. Bernadette lost one of her sons in the earthquake and her husband is still in Port. She fractured her elbow and had to get pins put in. However because of the initial lack of physio she ended up with a very very stiff left shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand after 8 weeks of not moving at all!!She has really improved.

Pierre is normally much happier than this!!He has the best smile, Ive no idea why he wasn't smiling of why I have no photo's of him smiling!! He had a broken leg and was down in Milot with his mum.

Paul is a wee pet. He fractured his tibia and fibula and has to have an external fixator on, then a cast now is walking with  just one crutch. He now wants to be an orthopaedic doctor when he grows up. He phoned me when he arrived back in Port and he is living in a tent with his mum&dad.

Please continue to pray for these people and for all those people who are living in Port. Continue to pray for Port au Prince and for Haiti, it seems to me it will take a miracle to change things....Thankfully we have a God who can do miracles and can change Haiti.


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