Coming from different parts of the country, our group of four gathers at gate 24 in the Miami airport for the flight to Port-au-Prince. The ninety minute flight ends with announcements in English and French, and we make our way through immigration. We are met by a representative from the guest house who is locating all of the scheduled guests, and we look through the piled bags and a sea of people to collect our luggage and supplies that we have brought for clinic. Once out of the airport, we run the friendly gauntlet of red-shirted men who all want to take our bags and drive us to our destination - we keep a firm grip on our bags, walk quickly following our escort and meet with the driver from the guest house to snug 7 of us into a small van with all our luggage....
The guest houses are interesting because there are so many projects people are working on, and they come from such diverse places. The one that hosts us is in the Delmas 19 area of Port-au-Prince, and boasts the luxury in our dorm-style room of an attached bathroom. The shower may be cold water and the bathroom shared with another attached room, but it is in the same building, and not down the hall! Our fellow guests this time are involved in projects for water purification and building schools for children in rural areas.
After we are settled in, Holly calls an orientation/planning meeting, going over the schedule for the week, answering questions, and assigning tasks. Our volunteers from San Diego, Ruja Nothaft and Rami Makkar, will be inventorying the dispensary, adding in the newly donated remedies. Two days of class and 4 days of clinic in various locations lie ahead... I am looking forward to seeing the students, hearing how they have been doing in their case work, and talking with the translator about happenings in Haiti... Tomorrow we can expect to get an early start with the roosters before 6...
Day 2 in Haiti, Monday June 25th:
Last night following our fearless leaders, I slept at 9 pm. That is really unusual for me, but since I had been warned of the early roosters, I slept. Sure enough at 5 am the roosters woke us up. We feigned sleeping till 6 am. Then got ourselves ready for the first day of class.
After a wonderful breakfast in the kitchen with yummy spicy peanut butter and bread and eggs, we were picked up by our driver to head out to the school location. We got picked up inside the house compound, because the local driver and security guards really want us safe. Then we drove to school, through a street that has seen its better days. The ridges are so big that the van had to drive very slowly; the rocking was more like a rocking boat in a stormy sea.
At the school location slowly the students started rolling in. We set up the computer and the projector, but alas, there was no electricity. Oh well class must go on...
In class Karen asked the students if anyone had used their kits that they were given in April. And amazingly in a culture where class participation is minimal, hands started going up and students shared some of the cases they used their remedies for and the success they had. You could see the encouragement in their faces that these weird little pills work. Even one student had prescribed a remedy for a malaria case and had positive results, although they had not covered the pathology in class.
It was hot and dusty, but everyone hung in there and it was wonderful to see so many mostly young students engaged in healing their people.
Day 3 in Haiti
Everyone was ready before I even got up at 6:30, a very enthusiastic group! The breakfast bell rang and we all went to kitchen for Yummy Pancakes with Peanut butter & bananas, they made sure that we get some proteins and we decided to walk to the class today. It was a pleasant 15 min. walk.
Karen's class started with dosing instructions and potencies. Karen's excellent delivery made the concepts very clear and she moved on to acute therapeutics for leucorrhea, toothache & coughs based on the number of cases they saw in April at the clinics. Students from all walks of life like medical school, nursing school, teachers, pharmacist were in the class and it was a very interactive session with lot of student participation. Students were quizzed in the end on small cases and they did a very good job. They already are practicing with family, friends & patients as they were handed down the remedy kits to use and practice what they had learnt in the previous two sessions.
Evenings are cool with a lovely breeze blowing and we enjoyed eating food on the roof top. We will end the day after entering some clinical data students collected over the past few months. We begin to see patients tomorrow and looking forward to this challenging task.
Day 4 - Another Wonderful Day in Haiti. The day began with plenty of wonder - what clinic would be like..... Tony, the facility manager at the OPL center wondered if people would actually show up, Ruja and Rami wondered if their homeopathic skills would match the needs of the people of Haiti. We wondered if the student's participation from seminar, which had surpassed our expectations, would equal their clinical skills.
Arriving at the center just after 8:30 AM, we were greeted by early arriving students eager to get to work. Within minutes the team was busy setting up the clinic - 3 stations for taking cases, the dispensary table and two waiting areas - one for adults and the other for children. Just past 9:00AM we were off and running. By then the room must have had 40 people waiting to receive care. Each station with a homeopath, 2-3 students, a translator huddled around to listen to the needs of the client.
We all worked passionately until about 1:00 PM . A short break for lunch and a return to clients with the rhythm of a practiced team left me know doubt this was extraordinary. We finished our last cases just after 3PM and concongratulated our team as we wrapped up this successful day.
How wonderful it was to work with Haitian student homeopaths as they offered homeopathic care to over 70 people. How wonderful for all of us to come together - some of us working as fast as we could, others waiting so patiently.
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