Today the medical team visited a village located near the base of the mountain, about 15-20 minutes outside of Montrouis. It was amazing to see how different life is just a short ways from town. The people were definitely more poor there. When our van pulled in, we immediately drew a crowd of people, mostly children, many of whom were completely naked. I had brought a box of clothing that was donated to the orphanage by a local girl scout troop in Maryland, hand-made by the girls in pretty bright colors and lightweight fabrics, just perfect for the heat and dingy landscape of Haiti. We opened the box and started eye-ing kids and dressing them in their new dresses, tops and shorts. They were thrilled!
Then we headed out on foot with our medical backpacks (with a large crowd already surrounding us) and stopped in to a house and just started asking if anyone was sick. Before we knew it, we had enough people that came to us to keep us busy for a couple of hours. As we have seen before, most of the illnesses are these: Dehydration, parasitic infections caused by unclean drinking water, malaria, malnutrition, and back pain from carrying heavy loads on their heads. The parasites can show themselves in many different ways – where you can physically see them floating in someone’s eye, or in the eye tumor that they have caused, or in skin lesions which accompany the upset stomach described as “feeling like worms are crawling around in your tummy”. This again shows us how vitally important clean water is and the downstream affect of all the problems that result from not having access to clean water.
From there, we traveled to another village called Bois Blanc (“White Wood”) where we held another clinic under the awning of an old, abandoned school. It was so sad to see all the children around town who were not in school, wondering what kind of life they were growing into in this poor village. We gave out some more clothes from the girl scouts as naked kids emerged from all over. Once the other kids started realizing that the naked kids were the ones who were getting the clothes, everyone started stripping down so that they were sure to get some clothes as well! From there, we packed it up and headed back to the orphanage to find the maintenance crew and call it a day. They had worked on hot rooftops and stuffy rooms all day to try to get the power on the 2nd floor of the dorm, working furiously on it and finally accomplishing their goal. While they finished up, the rest of us spent time with the kids and enjoyed singing with them and then enjoying little performances by various children and groups of kids until it was time for us to go.