What a wonderful day it was today! We saw over 100 patients. The queue was already out the door by the time we opened at 8:15am there was a wide range of ages, including one woman who was 106 years old! In a country where the average life expectancy is about 55-60 years of age, she is truly a miracle.
Utilizing lessons learned from yesterday, we set up a more efficient system to get as many patients processed through as possible today and were successful.
Mary Ann worked with the Haitian nurse, Guerdy, checking them in and taking detailed histories. Every time I looked over their table, I could see the love and compassion in her eyes as she spoke to the families.
Allen, as our resident photographer, helped document the faces that go with the files. In between his “photo shoots” he stayed busy running between stations to check and see if any workers needed water or a snack.
Wayne listened to thousands of heartbeats as he took the blood pressure of most patients in the station next to mine. Listening to him practice his French and seeing the quick glimpses of a smile on their faces was so uplifting.
My station was the last stop between the check-in station and the doctor. By the time the patients came to me for weight, height and vision checks, they had been waiting for quite a bit. However, the patients were so full of grace. Never did they complain or get frustrated.
Bending down to make eye contact for about 90% of the patients became my routine, not because they were shorter than I (that’s kind of hard to do), but because their eyes were always cast downward. I’m not sure it was despair but it certainly seemed like it.
At least half were illiterate and couldn’t even identify the letters on the eye chart. I am proud to say that as the students from our Ecoele Epiphanie Englise Episcopal d’Haiti filtered through, every one of them knew the alphabet could read the letters!
Dr. Mike and his nephew David worked their diagnostic magic in the an area behind a white bedsheet screen for over 200 patients in the first two days.
In all, this was a wonderfully gratifying experience and every one of this trip’s missioners will say the same. To witness what St. Bart’s parishioners do to support the people of Lorenette and how it truly makes a difference in their lives makes me proud to be a part of our church.
All are welcome, no exceptions.