Haiti, take 2!

Today is the day!  I set out for Port-au-Prince early this morning, waking my bleary-eyed family at 3:15 am so they could take me to the airport.  I felt bad about dragging the kids out of their beds for a hot second, until I remembered all of the times they have woken me up in the middle of the night and I realized–PAYBACK TIME, BABY!

This trip has been about a year in the making in terms of planning, although most of the details have just started coming together in the last 2 months.  I am working with the International Mission Foundation, and this will be the first of hopefully many trips to work on a community development project in Chambon, which is a rural village about 1.5 hours east of Port-au-Prince.  The long-term goal is to help them establish a free-standing medical clinic to be staffed by a Haitian doctor.  In the short-term, we will be doing some mobile medical clinics, needs assessment, as well as identifying and training some local lay people to become community health workers (CHW’s).

We have very recently started an exciting collaboration with Community Health Initiative (CHI) Haiti.  This is a really solid organization that has been doing similar work in Arcahaie, Haiti.  They have graciously agreed to allow us to partner with them and learn their model, with the hope that we can replicate it in Chambon.  We are so grateful for their experience, resources, and influence.  Several of their experienced staff members will meet us in Port-au-Prince on Monday and help us with the mobile clinic next week.

In the past week I have been frantically packing and pondering all the details, in addition to trying to keep the kids amused and supervised on their first week of summer vacation.  I did fit in another really great “field trip” to Intervol, where I was able to pick up a motherlode of medical supplies.  Our pharmacy order arrived last week, just in the nick of time.  A little too close for comfort for me, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

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Got my supplies on!

The kids helped me pack.  They are actually at an age where it was genuinely useful to have them helping!

 

 

So here is what I like to do when I am stressed about something big.  I like to choose something minute to obsess over.  It works for me, I think.  So last night I started fretting about the liquid restrictions for carry-on baggage.  Can I tell you, I just hate airports and all of their RULES.  It’s all so confusing.  I am the worst at airports.  I always make a fool of myself at security and I was totally determined not to do it again.  I had to text my friend Keri for a liquid consult.  I feel so befuddled by it all.  I get that shampoo and conditioner and body wash are liquids.  But what about face creams?  Because those aren’t really liquids.  Technically I would call them semi-solids.  So do they get pulled out for security check or not?  Also I have this ointment, which is really just a little thicker than a cream, so is that allowed?  Actually, it’s more the consistency of peanut butter.  And last time I went to Haiti, peanut butter was OK with the TSA state-side, but going back from Haiti to the USA the peanut butter got confiscated because it was considered a liquid.  What?  HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT TO DO?  

Airports are hard for me.

Anyhoo, I met up with some of the team at the connection in Atlanta:

We have a really big team this time, compared to the small team I was on last year.  There are 12 from a church in Alabama (most with some kind of medical/nursing/EMT training), in addition to me and another woman from North Carolina.  We also have a group of ladies from New Brunswick (Oh, Canada!) who met us down here around dinner time and will help us with the administrative and logistical parts of the medical clinic.

That’s it for tonight!  For those of you who are following, I will try to post a little something every day!