Friday, August 17th
Last full day as we fly home tomorrow. I’m told Friday is typically a slow day but what was slow is, it seemed to take forever for the workday to end. More so for the people doing the real work here, the surgeons, the pre and post op crews and medical staff volunteers that made this trip.Everyone on this trip is here at their own expense. Hard working people taking a week of vacation time from there regular jobs and lives to come help the people here at St. Boniface in Fond de Bloncs Haiti. These are incredible, caring people and it’s been fantastic getting to know them.
We did get an early start and took a walk to town center as Fridays are market day and the
perviously empty wooden, and roadside quickly fill up with merchants with all kinds of goods hauled in by donkey back, human backs or large baskets balanced ever so precisely on the tops of women or children’s heads. Most of the goods are used, house hold items, clothing, auto parts, things you’d fine in a brick and mortar store in the U.S., but here in rural Fond de Bloncs and dirt road can blossom into a bustling strip mall. We did visit a recommended crafts store thats part of Haiti Project, that had some very nice hand-embroider items, but the most interesting sight to behold was the meat market. Just like the other Merchants, the people selling meats were also set up along he sides of the dusty gravel/dirt roads, offering everything you could imagine, two or four-legged complete with hooves ands heads and everything in between.
Today there ended up being 11 surgeries plus another last minute adult patient. Because there are no surgical physicians here, is why the doctors travel here from Jacksonville Florida. Word gets out in advance (broadcast on local radio) and the number of pediatric surgeries has dramatically increased, so much so that they’ve had to turn away 15 children and schedule them for next years trip. There is talk about scheduling two trips a year but the problem is there’s a shortage of pediatric surgeons in the U.S. There are only four in the city of Jacksonville, and while one is here with us in Haiti, it means one of the remaining three in Jacksonville will have to rotate being on-call. And I must say, the surgeon I’m speaking of is just a little older than me and has been on her feet all week (53 surgeries total) performing small miracles under challenging circumstances.
7:30 ish – I climbed e latter to get to the rooftop to grab a few shots of the sunset. It was a great view of the mountains around us and some beautiful trees and the sun setting behind the mountain did not disappoint.
9pm - Like previous nights, everyone waited until the last surgery was complete so we could all eat at the same time. I can’t say much for the food here, though I’m certain what we’ve served is better than what the locals would have had. Myself and most everyone else skipped the main course tonight, sort of fish stew, and instead opted for extra helpings of the red beans and rice.
- Climbed the latter one last time to see the stars. With no light pollution to drown out the
view the stars hang low enough to pluck out of the sky. It’s quiet now, with only the crows from a few time zone challenged roosters and a motorcycle taxi speeding off somewhere in the distance. Quick shower to cool off ( as there is no hot water here) then off to bed – in a small room that has seven twin beds and tonight there’s just four of us.
The ambulance/truck takes us to the airport bright and early. Not looking forward to the crazy, bumpy four hour ride through this rural part of Haiti, we’re up a mountain and have to cross a few more to get to our destinatI am looking forward to getting home where it’s safe to drink the water.