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Thursday, May 24, 2012

An Update from Brandon

Hello America from Lespwa,

I am glad to report that everyone is alive and kicking here in Haiti. The medical staff (Dr. Dave, Alicia, Kerri, and I-Brandon) has been working hard with our lovely translaters to bring health and wellness to the people of here. We spent our first two clinic days, Monday and Tuesday, in Port-Au-Prince. Monday was a walk in clinic day, which in Haiti--just like in America, but a thousand times as much so--means that it was ca-ray-zy. The gang arrived early on Monday morning with the relevant suitcases piled on top of our mobile clinic (a.k.a. rickety van). Tim, Matt, and Michel (the groups guide, translator, and general godsend) were in charge of getting the supplies which you (our readers) have generously donated into the church. Once inside, the medcial staff feverishly unzipped bags and made decisions about what was essential to have ready access to and what could be kept aside. Then Karen, Deborah, and Sarah (if there was anyone else assisting, I apologize: twas a crazy day) put common meds in easily dispensed baggies (tylenol, advil, tums...especially tums, the education we did on diet was sorely needed. They don't know that there is a relationship between what you eat and how you feel...this is a bit of an exaggeration, but they kinda see eating as a good thing to do, not an essential...but there is a lot of salt and a lot of msg; no veggies and not that much fruit. People were so thankful when we told them that a good diet could keep them from some of their terrible stomach pain). We have recently started putting pictographic instructions on the bags at the direction of our gracious host Leslie...a wonderful, vivacious Canadian missionary.

Before the setup was even remotely complete the pews started filling up with patients [aside: given the widespread poverty in Haiti, there is a known and generally accepted policy regarding free medical care. This policy is not exclusive to--and in fact is usually more extreme in--Haitian run clinics. Those needing medical care walk early, early, early in the morning to the Hospital/Clinic (yes, this is how the hospitals are usually run as well) and line up to see the doctor. The line will often be so crowded that one person is squashed against the next: if one were to have an arial view the line would look like a caterpillar from the very end of the game caterpillar: for those not up on their 80's video games, a very very long caterpillar. Thankfully the church where our clinic was held was large enough that the patients were able to sit comfortably apart in the pews with room to spare. Dr. Dave, Alicia, and I (Kerri was still finishing up her last final and gettig ready to head to the plan at that point) were each set up with a translater and we saw patients throughout the day. Everytime someone was finished being treated I turned around and turned back and a new patient was waiting there. And the pews just kept filling and filling all day. So it was wonderful to be able to help so many people.

The really busy workers were Denise and Lori. Sometimes a Haitian can go for years (maybe decades...maybe a lifetime) without dental care. So they were working long after all of the medical patients had been seen. That goes the same for most of our other clinic days as well (not to say that the medical staff hasn't been exceedingly busy). I wouldn't be presumptuous to speak on her behalf. But I know that she's seen some harrowing mouths over these past few days.

The non-medical people had some good talks with the kids from the church and gave them some real inspiration and leadership. This segues into my next point nicely. One of the most important things that we have been able to do for the people of this country is offer them some decent education. This is the type of education that every single person has been able to offer. We have related the importance of brushing, good diet, good hydration (Let me just say that the humidity is higher than the temperature and to put it gently would be to say its balmy, and it is not cool...and we're on the shore), abstinence, the link between cleanliness and disease and I could go on and on. That night the kids put on a little talent show for us and we sang some songs for them. Their dancing and skits were definitely a highlight of the trip. It was wonderful to know that we touched so many people.

Well I hear the lunch bell ringing (metaphorically speaking), so consider this the conclusion of Brandon's Post, Part I



  1. I hope you still have some antibiotics left and by the way it sounds i'm sure you're out of antifungal cream and most of the tums. sorry I must have forgoten to tell you about the circles on the bags. I'm glad to hear about all the education! that's key; keep up the good work!

    how have those test kits worked?? are they worth getting again?

  2. Ah sounds like so much fun! Well all except the temperature I'm sure... ;) I bet the kids performance was just as wonderful and inspiring as last time! :) hopefully you got some good videos?? ;)
    Keep giving 100% and remember why you're doing this. For the glory of our King Jesus! :)

  3. Thanks so much for sharing, Brandon! It was really nice to hear your perspective and to get to know you a little bit by reading what you wrote!

    Glad to hear that God is using each of you in a unique position to be a blessing to the Haitian people! Every one of you has unique talents and every one of you is there for a special purpose!! Keep pressing on!

    Blessings on your sleep,
    Dawn (Matt and Sarah's mom)

  4. Sarah and Matt,
    Mrs. Zwicker came over tonight to see the pictures on the blog. She was really happy to see them! Thanks to whoever posted them.