Thursday, September 29, 2011

 People get tired of hearing about Haiti, they want to move on to the next big story. "Why don't you go help in Japan?" was the big question last spring, and now "are things really still bad in Haiti? You never hear anything about it anymore" is the reply more often then not when folks realize we are leaving soon on the next mission.

American Airlines has completely shut us down when we asked for a break with our luggage this trip.  We have 8 suitcases packed full of medical supplies that we will bring either way, but it pisses me off that they can't just comp them. SERIOUSLY--- what does AA have to lose giving us a break??? It would be a drop in the bucket for them, but a half dump of the bucket for us. We don't bring anything with us on the flight home except our carry on, doesn't that equal out? The argument that "it goes against policy" or "everyone has an agenda and we can't help everyone" just makes me more determined to not pay them a thing. The thought of them getting our $ so we can bring medications and surgical equipment to provide medical care to people that have no options makes me spit.

Here's a blurb I wrote for "the daily dose" (a daily work email with news from Essential health) shortly after we got back last time.........

"We have a lot of big stories- flashy, exciting things that have happened while we have been serving as medical humanitarians in Haiti.  People love the excitement, the shock, the adrenaline of our near-death or new-life stories. but the real story about Haiti simple- and it's the same story that we can tell about day-to-day life here in the states. We take care of the vulnerable- the poor, the weak, the sick, the malnurished- malnurishment of body, of spirit, of soul. We look not just at the disease process, but at the whole person and give wholistic care to the best of our abiltiy.
Our last mission we spent most of our time in the farming community of Lacoma in NW Haiti. People used donkeys and feet to get from place to place, there was no electricity, water was at a minimum in this arrid climate. "Think it's going to rain?" we would ask the people in the community- they would smile at us and shake their heads. "NO". We slept in our tents with a herd of chickens our way-too-close neighbors.   Yes, there were exciting cases: emergencies and births... but the real story is one that is not so sensational. These people need long term care- to manage their hypertension, malnutrition, diabetes, PTSD, GERD, prenatal care. Elder care is nonexistent and our hearts went out to the many eldery patients that had such pain in their knees and backs- old farmers, tough as nails, survivors. At night we would hear the people gather- a conch shell signalled it was time- and they drummed and drummed in some time-honored ritual that we were not a part of. Or were we? Our mission is to continue the work we promised to do when we graduated from CSS as nurses- our philosophy taught to us by the Benedictine sisters. We still vow to uphold our oath as best we can."

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