We survived the trip over the mountains from the clinic to the PAP airport although there was some scares along the way. As of today, Monday, I have heard from some of the team and all are at home or will soon be home safely.
On Thursday we finished seeing patients sometime around noon. Our team saw a record 2212 patients on this mission. I am so very proud of all of the team members. After lunch, some of the team headed for the beach while a few of us readied the clinic for inventory and clean up. When the team returned they worked hard and completed the inventory. I should tell you that we had extra items to count. You may recall that Lynn and I had an appointment at a nearby school on Tuesday to pick up supplies. That turned out to be 4 truck loads of merchandise. We retrieved one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday and Boyer finished the work for us so we could get back to seeing patients. Some of the boxes were infested with termites. I managed to get bitten by a spider as I carried some boxes. I have the list of supplies so that our medical supply people can go over them. I did discover a full case of pints of cough syrup with good dating and also some melatonin spray that made Dr Jo pleased. On Wednesday, I had a visit from my friend Nego Pierre Louis. He is a young youth minister in Haiti. He introduced me to Ellen, his Canadian bride to be. They were married on Friday so I could not attend the wedding. That would have been fun.
I did manage to drop my laptop on Thursday night as I was inputting the pharmacy inventory data and lost about 1 hour’s time. It is okay and I brought the hard copies home to key here at my desk.
Now for the Friday story: First of all, I awoke at 1:30 AM and realized that my passport was in the checked baggage on the first floor. I took my trusty flashlight and went to retrieve it. Dick woke up at about 2:15 to switch from EDH to the generator and I heard that. Around 3:15 AM, Dr Ron and I woke up to start our day. The two vans and the luggage truck showed up at 4:30 AM and we were off in the dark for PAP. I sat in the front seat of the vans. Our driver tailgated Boyer’s truck into the mountains in the rain. As we rode through the mountains you could tell that we were in a cloud also. We came upon several large dump trucks that were slowly moving up the mountain. It was very scary trying to get around these trucks who did not want to yield the right of way. We approached Port-au-Prince around 6 AM. The town was bursting with people and cars everywhere. Try driving 3 abreast on a two lane road. No problem, the Haitians say, I’ll just get in the oncoming lane and pass everyone. Early morning is the time for school children to go to their schools sow we noticed yellow shirted crossing guards everywhere. Sometimes we encountered police with shotguns. That was interesting. Blancs (us white Americans) were in very short supply. Our drivers got impatient so they took another route and encountered the same traffic jams we had just left. The highest speed that we drove was around 55 just outside of Port-u Prince. Our speed in the mountains never exceeded 40 mph over the 365 curves of that road.
When we arrived at the airport, our luggage truck was somehow right behind us. We got our bags and entered the airport with little problems. Margo did misplace her bag but Boyer retrieved it for her. American Airlines computers were down so we stood for 90 minutes before the line began to move. It did not take long for us, once the computers were up, to get our boarding passes and pass through immigration to the shops and food stands at the departure lounge. Barb Smith found that she had a scissors at the Haitian security check which had not been discovered during 3 TSA check in’s on her way to Haiti. It was confiscated. Our flight took off on time and the trip to Fort Lauderdale was smooth. There was hardly a line at immigration and our luggage came out quickly so we had lots of time for good byes at FLL before we went our separate ways. Dr Ron & Dr Jaime flew to Miami on a later plane from PAP and reported no problems that way.
So now we are all home with find memories of this mission. Thanks for reading this. I am going back in July so I’ll restart at that time. In the mean time “ Bonde Bene Ou.” “May God bless you.”