Today began with another chance to catch a little extra sleep before being awakened by the beautiful singing and worshiping of the Haitian people. We also realized we were fortunate enough to stuff our bellies with delicious pancakes this morning (thanks Pat!) before heading down to church. We were all once again amazed by their tremendous faith in God despite their everyday trials and tribulations. Immediately after the service, several people followed us to the mission porch for general medical attention, such as for fungal infections, dehydration and fevers, and worm infestations. During this, we all realized that the mission porch was too crowded and unorganized to properly care for the patients in a timely manner, so we put our OCD skills into effect and began cleaning house!
We divided into teams to tackle the task at hand. One team cleared off the porch and properly stocked it with all the necessary medical supplies while two other teams went to the storage building to gather supplies to pack for medical clinics outside the mission. Some of the supplies in need of severe replenishment included antifungal creams (like what you would use for Athlete’s Foot), calamine lotion, and de-worming medication, such as Albendazole, which can be purchased at your local pharmacy (hint hint)! For children who walk barefoot, like those here in Haiti, the de-worming medication is especially important. When these children become infested with worms, the food they eat is completely insignificant to their well-being because essential nutrients and vitamins cannot be absorbed. Because of this they become very malnourished.
For example, the previous night a young girl was brought to the mission with complaints of diarrhea, not eating well and a distended belly. We suspected worms, so we gave her a dose of the de-worming medication. This afternoon, as we were organizing the medical supplies, the girl’s parents brought her back with proof of the effectiveness. Wrapped in a blanket was a large tapeworm (check out the photos on Flickr) that the girl had passed this morning. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case…all of the children here need to be treated for these worms in order for them to survive.
To wrap up the evening we went to the cross and all shared a bit of our stories and how important it is for us as nurses and people to care for those who are less fortunate than us, regardless of where they are, what they need, the language they speak, or the color of their skin.
To see pictures from today, go to the following link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/60783408@N02/
Megan Neal, Morgan Oetken, Mike Flesher