Hey guys! So, it's kinda late here in Haiti, and I should be going to bed, but I just know that it has been WAY too long since I wrote...so I'm gonna do it. I may regret it tomorrow in the morning...but oh well. Life goes on.
So, a lot has happened in the last month. A lot. So much, that I don't really know what to say, but I guess I'll start by explaining my role change. When I first came to Haiti in February I was working as a nurse, and then my "role" when I started on staff was as the medical team leader...working in the clinic, keeping medical teams busy and (semi)organized. I was brought on staff here to do that role for the interim, which was until June. So now here we are, June has come and gone, and yet I am still here! I'm no longer in the medical team position, but as that job wrapped up for me, I was offered to stay on staff, but instead working with the guesthouse and non-medical teams that come through the mission. So now my role is more administrative I guess, prepping schedules for ministry teams, and basically doing most of the background work to help teams do their thing here in Haiti. It's kind of funny to find myself here in this role. I've been asking God a lot about why I'm here at this time, to do what I'm doing. It's been a little hard to "hang up" my nursing for a time. But, there's definitely good in it all. On one of my first days in my new role I went to the Haitian grocery store, totally not a big deal I know, but I think I had a stupid grin on my face the entire time. I just love being in the culture (most of the time). I love doing everyday life things here, mind you, they can be a whole lot more complicated (no chicken today, ground beef looks a little funny, we emptied out the entire bread section, don't know how to write out numbers in french to write a check...), but still so fun. On the way home from the store that day I was asking God how He was using this new job with all its experiences to shape me...and I think it's gonna be good. I got my medical time in, doing the nursing thing, feeling out working in a clinic/hospital setting in a foreign developing country, and now here I am, more just getting into the culture, interacting with Haitian people, learning to work and communicate better in this culture, but I'm also getting to see more of the organizational side of things. All the work that goes into making a place like this run - it's crazy! And I still probably don't even know half of it! I know Jesus has me here this year for a reason, and I'm just really feeling like I don't want to miss what it's about. I know it's all for a reason, and I just want to absorb what I need to learn, get all the lessons He's teaching me, see everything and feel everything I'm meant to in this place at this time. I guess I'm just expectant looking at this coming year. It's also starting to sink in though that a year is a long time...a year. Whoa.
Anyway, so that's kinda where I'm at now. I think this is my third week into this job, and the summer is going to be CRAZY! I think we have like 5 teams coming in this week, bring it on! I guess another fun part about my job is that I get to see other people fall in love with a country that I've fallen in love with. And it's so good! This past week we had kind of an adventurous group come, and I loved every bit of it! We went tromping through mud during a thunderstorm in Source Matelas to see a friend's garden, then we got to drink coconut milk and eat fresh coconut from the tree...there's nothing like it. I almost lost my sandal in a foot of mud, and almost died laughing at the same time. It's just so fun! My job rocks! Then, on Thursday we went up into the mountains to visit a pastor at a church, but before we stopped there we went to find this waterfall that some people had told me about, and it was incredible! I didn't have my camera with me...but next time I go, I'll get pics. It was crazy! We got to stand under the waterfall, climb down the rocks, climb through tree roots, sorry I could go on...but I won't. It was just fantastic! At the same place though there was some funky voodoo ceremony going on, but I was just loving the beauty of creation. So ya, I guess you could say that I'm doing ok with my transition into the new role.
One more thing that has happened this week that I'll share quickly. I mentioned earlier that it was kind of hard to "hang up" my nursing while I've taken on this position, but I don't think that will really be the case. This past Thursday night we had an accident happen just 1 mile down the road. I was on my way home from the mountains with the teams, and I got a phone call asking me where I was and that I we (there were some medical students and a nurse with me on our trip) were needed at the clinic right away when we got back. As we pulled up in our big cattle truck, the trucks with injured people started coming in behind us. I think we had about 14 patients that we treated at our clinic. With the first guy I saw, the first thing I said was, "where is Grant" (Grant is the paramedic that lived here at the mission last year and was here for the earthquake. He is a fantastic paramedic, a great friend, and I miss him...and missed him even more in that moment!). This patient had both feet pretty much off, which I had to hold to transfer him onto a back board, and his right arm was broken in two places. Not nice. I don't know how much I should be saying, but basically, it was a messy night. But somehow again, I did my job as a nurse. I'm always amazed that I'm my mother's daughter, and yet I do what I do. Jesus is with me every time, I know it. The team, once again, did amazing! I'm always amazed by what we accomplish here with the staff we have...an anesthesiologist acting as our ER doc, a cardiologist, an OR nurse, 6 med students, an EMT, 2 fairly new nurses, a prosthetist, a physiotherapist...it's just crazy! But we did it and made it through the night and managed to get all the patients transferred to other facilities. We did find out though that the one man (the one I mentioned earlier that I saw first with the feet off) had passed away.
And here is my frustration in Haiti. We are now 5 months post earthquake and everyone is starting to pull out of Haiti. Partners in Health and IMC used to be at the General Hospital. They have both pulled out and now it is back to the Haitian hospital it was before the earthquake. Also, the University of Miami hospital has moved from it's field hospital where it could hold a couple hundred patients to a small building with a max of 40 patients, so they had no room for more. It was just crazy though. Problems that we hadn't experienced with the other two accidents just popped up. Dr. Cheryl and Sarah did absolutely amazing at finding hospitals to accept the patients, but it was ridiculous. And this is why I want to be a nurse in these places. They need and deserve the same quality of care as us in North America...but its so far from that. If I can help in anyway, I'm here! Whether its in the little wounds that need to be cleaned, or the massive traumas that seem to occur daily here, I want to help. And I think that's why I'm here. It's pretty simple really.
So that's the update. I'm still finding my place here, still figuring out why I'm here, what I'm doing, and the reasons behind it all. It's a good journey though.