Tracking Ed Monroe as he travels to Haiti and other exotic(?) places
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Hello, finally. from Haiti
Hello from Haiti
Today is Wednesday and it is 6:15 PM. We just finished the pharmacy line and the team is relaxing (?) in the kitchen area. From the sounds of it they are having a wild time
I need to start at the beginning. On Sunday evening, at 6 PM, I started with dinner at the Fish House, my favorite place to eat. Donna and I were joined by Harold & Emma, our guests from Arizona, CJ Ray, my 16 year old team mate from Missouri, his mother Nancy, and another team mate, Bruce Steiner along with his wife Carol and their son, Dan. Dan, Carol and Bruce had been on the February team with Donna and me. We had our usual great meal and at the end, Donna drove the company to our home. I failed to hear that I was to follow so I stayed quite awhile at the Fish House before I realized that something was wrong. No matter, we car pooled to Bloomington, and after two times missing the street where I was supposed to turn, arrived at the team leader’s home around nine. Funny, we were the only ones there. Did I forget to listen again? Every one arrived by 11 PM and we held a brief prayer service lead by the pastor of john’s church. It was a nice thing. Ext we reweighed the totes and bags and redistributed the items to other bags for those weighing over the 50 lb limit. We ended up with two over weight bags and paid the extra $ 25.00 at O’Hare. Around midnight, we car pooled up to Chicago’s O’Hare airport and arrived at 2 AM. We reweighed the bags on an American Airlines digital scale and reconfirmed our weights. At 4 AM, we were the first in line at the International ticketing counter, where we were supposed to check in. That was a first as we usually show up at the wrong counter. Check in was a breeze and we were to gate H 8 and got that needed cup of coffee. We took off from Chicago, right on time, in a very full plane. We arrived at the A concourse at Miami and would be leaving from same. That was strange. No 3 mile walk this trip? After a nice lunch at the Mexican restaurant, we went to our departure lounge to wait for 2:25PM to come around. Well, it came and went. Suffice it to say that we did not leave until 4: 30 PM which was the time we were to arrive in Port-Au Prince. Oh, No. That is not a good thing. As we sat in the lounge, being the only Blancs (white people) on the plane, some of the Haitians engaged us in conversation. One of them, a girl from Port-Au-Prince, is a student at the University of Notre Dame and I shared my World Youth Day experiences, my Haiti experiences, etc with her. It was neat. Her parents run a factory in PAP. She offered to help us as it was likely that we will be stuck in PAP this night until I told her that there were 20 of us. She did not have that much room but the offer was most kind. When we arrived in PAP, it took a very long time to get through customs. It was exceptionally SLOW. Our bags had just arrived when run through the next customs check. Some of the newbie’s got caught, but passed through okay, and we finally got through and we collected the carts and began to to race for the small airport. Never mind, we are too late, the planes do not fly at sunset as there are no lights at Jacmel airport and a trip over the mountains in the dark would be risky. So we took a bus to Wall’s Guest House. It is run by a Canadian organization and it was clean and comfortable and we had a simple meal and some Prestige beer. I had been up for almost 36 hours, so the passing trucks and pedestrians barely disturbed my sleep, Up at 5 AM, we are off to the small airport to be on the first flight. It finally takes off at 7:15 AM. Cabintair (the airline that hauled us in February and the same pilot). Dick is waiting for us at Jacmel and soon we are at the clinic. Seems that the bags have arrived so, after our oatmeal breakfast, we started to unpack and get underway. Around noon we are ready to go(???). We set up 3 stations, John at one, Sue at the other, and me at Pharmacy. We sent the newbies through in groups and explained what happens in the areas and what was expected of them. So, after our beef log lunch, we start. I have two employees helping me, Justin Locke and John Meyers. They have been on previous teams but never in the pharmacy but they are brave and do not complain. It was herem that it was evident that I was Not ready to be open. We were in a state of catch up all day long. We saw 87 patients and did not get done till 6:30PM. Our line was full al day long and it took awhile for us to find our groove. I am so pleased with my two helpers. They listen, they are cautious; they learn well, they are fun to work with. I miss Carol Steiner, but these two are the best replacements I could have asked for. Most went to the beach after the clinic and the on to Son Son’s bar. We did not get dinner till late, then our team meeting afterwards. Yes, it was after 10 when I finally hit the bed. I am in the early riser’s room, on the bunk that Larry Shank usually takes. It is very comfortable. Thanks Larry. UP this morning at 5AM. Bruce has the coffee ready. The electricity shuts off at 6AM and the generator is broken so we need to get it brewed. Oatmeal breakfast. Papa Dick cooked. Wow!
Down to the pharmacy at 7: 30 AM for another busy day.
First of all, this is a FUN team. There is no tension or politics. It is just like the February team and that is Wonderful. I love it when people can work, play, eat, and recreate together.
A note to CJ’s mom, He is quite a great young man. He jumps in when ever anything is needed, is praised by everyone, and I am most proud of him. I have been so busy in the pharmacy; I really do not know all that he has been doing so I will leave it up to him to detail it. WE are glad he is along!
Today we saw around 200 patients and it was smoother (??) than yesterday. We are dealing with a baby issue at the Jacmel hospital and I can now report that the baby will be able to die with some dignity at the Sister’s of Charity hospital. The baby had been dropped of at the Jacmel hospital by the police and NO ONE was caring for it. The people who run the orphanage next to Tina’s school got us involved. Dr Bill, a pediatrician, went to see the baby yesterday and we arranged the transfer today. You do not want to hear the medical problems with the baby because I cry when I try to write about them, as does the team. Suffice to to say that the baby will ‘die with dignity” sometime before we leave for home but will have been cared for and loved for at least a part of her short life.
I apologize that I have not written. No one’s wireless is working at that makes us mad. We have tried and tried. Our cards connect but our computers do not. I wrote this on a Word document and will carry it to the main computer to send to you. It is open for the moment so I will do a quick spell check and move it out/
I miss all of you, especially Donna and my family. I am safe, sound (?), happy. And tired but so full filled.
Please keep us in your prayers as we are praying for you. God bless you, Ed