Turns out that internet access is pretty sparse here in Haiti, which isn’t really a bad thing. This could be the last time I check before returning in January. Anyhow, I still have my cameras and notebook to fill in the bullet-point memories and observations of the trip so far.
In short, we’ve been staying at an apartment on the mountainside overlooking Port-au-Prince. Some doctors at the public hospital have been gracious enough to let us round with them this week and see some serious, dire, and desperate states of health. At the public hospital your bed and physician consult is free. The beds are random, come with or without sheets, and are packed into an open-air hall. Health-care professionals, about three or four per hall, do their best to round the beds, examine, and move the treatment to the next step. If a procedure or test is needed, it is the patients or their family’s responsibility to go and get the x-ray, lab results, medication or cast/plaster material from a pharmacy or lab. There just isn’t the infrastructure or human resources to provide the connections.
Everything medical is bigger here. People wait until the very last minute to seek care. Due to lack of education and/or money, voodoo and spiritual reasons are explored first. We rounded through the emergency, internal medicine, and surgical wards, to see many infections with the only option left being amputation because they were able to progress too far and risk poisoning the entire body.
Aside from that, one says that Haiti is like crazy-glue, once you touch it you’ll always come back. Today being Christmas, we’ve made the rounds to family house parties, greeted far too many aunts and cousins, and had some thrilling conversations. Just a few hours ago I met someone who met Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie when they visited Cite de Soleil, the large shanty-town outside of Port au Prince. Incredible!