Sorry all for the long delay! Internet time has been limited and we have been putting in overtime in clinic this week.
We connected with an American photographer who was contracted by an NGO to capture the beauty ofHaitiin photos. As part of his trip, he wanted to photograph us in action at a mobile clinic! We spent a day in the city at a school seeing patients. It was a great day of new types of patients and different case presentations. We saw malignant hypertension and a patient with recent stroke, and then the regular gastroenteritis, colds and flu’s, osteoarthritis and skin conditions.
An elderly woman came to see us at the mobile clinic and commented to me that she knew she was in good hands when white people were helping her. Her comment stuck out in my mind. It is impossible to escape our ‘whiteness’ here and what that represents. Our education, our economic prosperity and potential (despite having student loans) and our automatic privilege feels so obvious in contrast to the reality here. Everyday feels like a process of accepting both the realities we see here in Haiti and the realities of our own lives back in Canada, and most importantly our own limitations – the limitations of what we physically can do in one day, of how many patients we can reasonably see without burning ourselves out, of how much we can financially give, of what our medicines can and cannot do. It is being able to say “I can help you” just as easily as finding the words “I can’t”. And this goes well beyond the color of our skin.
We had a chance to take the day to seeHaiti’s “world wonder” – the Citidele. It is a palace and fortress built by King Cristoph to protectHaitifrom French invaders in the 1800’s. We climbed up and up into the clouds – a three hour jaunt – to get to this historical site! The sound of mountain flutes and regular pit stops for Haitian butter crackers kept our spirits up, and the climb was all worth it when we arrived at the top! The vista itself was breathtaking atop the tallest mountain in sight, never mind the impressive Citidele architecture. The wonder of the experience was lined with the tragedy of the 20,000 slaves that died to build it in the name of Cristoph’s mission andHaiti’s protection.
We are gearing up to say goodbye toHaitiin a few days. Wednesday morning sees us head to home and get back toTorontolife. We are sad to go in many ways, but also feeling like the time is right.Haitihas stolen our hearts and offered us gifts immeasurable in quantity and rich in quality. The experience goes deep and it soon is time to take home our transformed selves and share what we have learned.