You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Clinic’ category.

by Dr. Katie Wolf

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, which can mean one of several things. One, there’s nothing interesting that’s been going on, two, I’ve been having problems with internet and/or computer or three, there’s too much going on and I’ve been too busy to report on it! In this case, it’s definitely not the first reason, since there has been a lot going on. I’ve actually had significant computer problems lately, since my computer crashed several weeks ago and I didn’t have easy access to my saved files (had to use a Dell instead of my Mac). And, I have been very busy as we’ve made significant progress on several fronts. So, let’s catch up and see what’s been going on in Gatineau!

We had another wonderful visit in early October with students and faculty from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON). Under the direction of Nicole Warren and Sara Groves, the 8 students worked with us on our ongoing Water and Sanitation Project in six communities near the clinic site. They did a year-end evaluation for us of the Community Promoter activities, going into the communities and making random home visits, meeting with community members and leaders and interviewing the 12 Community Promoters regarding their activities. They found that the Promoters have, indeed, helped people change their behaviors by building tippy-taps to use for washing their hands, treating their water and cleaning up their water sources.

In addition, the students and faculty directed a two-day seminar for the Promoters on the subject of “Community Motivation”. This was extremely well received and the Promoters loved the games and demonstrations that were done to make the subject come alive. Here are some photos from the sessions:

Promoters and students divide into groups to discuss their experiences in the communities

Promoters and students divide into groups to discuss their experiences in the communities

A promoter discusses how his group made a “house” out of tongue depressors, demonstrating the topics of use of available resources and planning ahead for a project

A promoter discusses how his group made a “house” out of tongue depressors, demonstrating the topics of use of available resources and planning ahead for a project

Smile on the face of a Promoter as he learns valuable new skills

Smile on the face of a Promoter as he learns valuable new skills

Game with yarn demonstrating teamwork and inter-connectedness of the Promoters and students

Game with yarn demonstrating teamwork and inter-connectedness of the Promoters and students

Faculty member Nicole Warren looks on

Faculty member Nicole Warren looks on

Retired faculty member Sara Groves returned to JHSON to teach this course and help evaluate our Water and Sanitation Project. Sara led a group of students to us last year to do the initial evaluation at the beginning of the Water and Sanitation Project

Retired faculty member Sara Groves returned to JHSON to teach this course and help evaluate our Water and Sanitation Project. Sara led a group of students to us last year to do the initial evaluation at the beginning of the Water and Sanitation Project

Stay tuned for more updates about a recent visits from members of Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church and our FHH Board of Directors.

In early November, 2014 the FHH Board of Directors held their board meeting in Haiti for the first time, instead of their usual meeting location in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.  Several board members have visited the clinic previously, in various stages of construction, and some were there for the first time.  Here is the first guest blog post by our visiting board members.

Tom Mahn, MD

Tom Mahn, MD

I recently visited Haiti to see Katie Wolf MD and Cherlie Severe who are Christian medical missionaries in Gatineau. I met Katie many years ago when she was working as a physician at St. Joes. Now she is a full time medical missionary along with Cherlie, an RN who also worked at St. Joes. Cherlie is from Jeremie, Haiti which is down the mountain from the clinic in Gatineau. Several years ago when I visited, they were seeing patients two days a week in a tin roof hut. Now there are beautiful buildings there including a clinic, pharmacy, storage depot, and residence. Plans are underway at some point for an inpatient unit and women’s health center among other things. There is a community outreach program that has included water, hygiene, and seed program. Last week a visiting group even did regional animal vaccines!

The road from Jeremie (where they live) to Gatineau is like nothing you have ever ridden on. The 10 mile trip takes 1 ½ hours each way. They go through tires like crazy. When the residence is finished they (and visiting teams) will be able to stay at the clinic during the week which will be a big help.

Katie and Cherlie are full time in Haiti. There are three Haitian part-time employees: a chaplain, community outreach coordinator, and clinic/pharmacy administrator. This is a locally sustainable clinic that has become the pride of the local people. Patients are charged a little for visits and medications, though no one is turned away for financial reasons. People come dressed to the nines and walk up to four hours to get there.

I am on the board of this organization: Friends for Health in Haiti. If you want to know more or contribute, let me know, visit our website: www.friendsforhealthinhaiti.org, or best of all – come to our fund raising banquet April 25. FHH has done a lot to get the clinic to this point but there is a lot more that can be done.

-Tom Mahn, MD

September 28, 2014

Last evening the living room at Cherlie and my house turned into an Emergency Room. Around 5pm, just as the skies opened with a heavy rainfall, we heard a voice calling to us from the driveway. It was the head masonry foreman at our clinic site, a young man named Mackenson. He had just driven into the driveway on his motorcycle and was half carrying, half dragging one of the other masons named Peterson down the driveway towards the house. Peter’s face was covered in blood and around his right hand was a bloody towel. Before I even had time to come out of my room, where I had been working, Cherlie had Peterson lying in the living room on a chaise lounge chair that she brought in from the back porch. In a few minutes another “patient” arrived, also a mason from our clinic site named Ralphie.

As I assessed their wounds and injuries, we heard their story. Peterson and Ralphie had left the site in Gatineau first, on their way into Jérémie for the rest of the weekend (they live at the site during the week). Mackenson stayed behind to close up the doors and was a few minutes behind them on his motorcycle. When he got down the mountain to the intersection with the main paved road, he saw a big crowd of people. He recognized Peterson’s motorcycle lying by the side of the road and asked what had happened. Apparently three motorcycles all arrived at the uncontrolled intersection at the same time and two of them collided, knocking the two drivers and two passengers down onto the pavement. Peterson passed out initially, but came to enough to be driven by another motorcycle to the general hospital in Jérémie, along with Ralphie. It was at the hospital that Mackenson caught up with them. They waited in the Emergency Room of the government hospital for over an hour without being attended to, so Mackenson lost his patience and left, along with his two injured friends. They knew where to get medical help when they needed it!

Thus, the living room because an Emergency Department for the next three hours, as Cherlie and I cleansed and sutured all their wounds. Peterson had a cut on the forehead, several on his upper lip and several on the fingers of his right hand. Ralphie had a deep laceration over the left eyebrow, which required a multiple-layer closure. Cherlie held a flashlight to give me better light than what the ceiling lights provided and we prayed that their injuries weren’t more severe than what we could manage without CT scans and xrays!

We gave them medications to take at home, head injury instructions and advice regarding their activities for the next couple of days. We’ll see them again on Monday to check on their progress. As they left, we said a prayer of thanks that the injuries weren’t worse and that we were here to help them out. I’m sure they would appreciate your prayers for them in the next few days and weeks, especially since they won’t be able to work and earn money. We’ll be following them closely until they are healed and back to work again. Thanks for your part in helping us to be here in Haiti.

It is not uncommon in Haiti to have children being raised by grandparents or other relatives. Sometimes their parents are living, but are unable to provide for the child. Sometimes, the parents are no longer living together and one of the grandparents assumes care of the child so the parents can be free to work and make a life for themselves. And, sometimes, the parents have died, leaving the child in the care of extended family members. In most situations, it is only when an extended family member or grandparent is unable to care for the child that they may be put into an orphanage.

In our medical clinic in Gatineau, we see many little children who are basically orphans, in situations such as the ones described above. I’d like to have you meet a few of them. They are some of our most precious patients and we make sure to give them extra love and affection when we see them. We often take money from our Poor Fund to pay for their medications so they won’t be a burden to their grandparents and caregivers.

You’ve already met Lucson and his brother Elie. When they first came to us, we didn’t know their names. Their mother had died and their father was in Port-au-Prince and unable to care for them, so their grandmother brought them home with her after her daughter’s (their mother’s) funeral. Lucson and Elie are full of life and energy and they keep their elderly grandmother busy.

Brothers Lucson and Elie after a recent consultation in the clinic

Brothers Lucson and Elie after a recent consultation in the clinic

Then, there’s Nouislene, the little girl who lost both of her parents and is being cared for by her great aunt. She had come to us with a facial laceration a few months ago after she fell off her porch and we sutured the laceration for her. Here’s a photo of her from last month. Her face has healed well and we love her smile (in spite of her bad teeth)!

Nouislene showing her healed facial laceration

Nouislene showing her healed facial laceration

Nouislene’s big smile and rotten teeth

Nouislene’s big smile and rotten teeth

Tamara Cejour is four years old and always has a sad face when she comes to the clinic. Her mother died recently and she is being cared for by her grandmother. We’ve given her a beanie baby to brighten her day and are praying that in time, her grief will lessen.

Tamara recently lost her mother and is still very sad

Tamara recently lost her mother and is still very sad

Little Charlesive Daniel is a two and a half year old bundle of energy, almost more than his grandmother can handle. His long hair is as wild as his personality, but he sat quietly during my examination and listened intently to what I had to say. He got a toy car as he left the clinic – a gift from children in my home church in New Jersey. He’s been in the care of his grandmother since he was an infant, abandoned by his young mother. One has to wonder what his future will hold?

Charlesive sits quietly on his grandmother’s lap in clinic during his consultation

Charlesive sits quietly on his grandmother’s lap in clinic during his consultation

 

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A HAIRCUT AND A FEW MONTHS MAKE!

One of our favorite patients is this little boy name Roodjumy (how’s that for a mouthful?), who came to the clinic with his mother in February of this year. He was all smiles and full of mischief.

 

Long hair and toothy smile

Long hair and toothy smile

Here is Roodjumy at the end of May with a new haircut and a more mature look (at the age of 14 months). We love these little boys and girls who brighten our days and soften our hearts.

Don’t we look handsome?!

Don’t we look handsome?!

 

CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS

Steady progress continues on the second floor residence quarters, which is now nearly finished. The masons have now finished up the cupolas on the roof of the building – putting up blocks and doing the stucco work. As they finish work on the second floor, we’ve been painting it, taking advantage of the scaffolding that’s in place. Once the scaffold is taken down, there’s no good way to access the high walls and ceilings! We’re being helped in the painting process by the three young men who work with us – Gemi, Adrien and Guy-Johns.

 

Stucco work being done on the cupolas on the roof of the pharmacy and residence building

Stucco work being done on the cupolas on the roof of the pharmacy and residence building

Our three helpers using the scaffold to paint the outside ceilings

Our three helpers using the scaffold to paint the outside ceilings

We’ve also started building a small workshop area attached to the back of the storage depot. A door will be cut into the wall of the depot leading out to the workshop, which will have a half wall with the rest of the wall being iron grille work. This will give security for the tools and equipment, but allow for good ventilation for carpenters to work on our wood projects.

Foundation for the outside workshop area behind the storage depot

Foundation for the outside workshop area behind the storage depot

Also behind the depot will be a concrete slab and small building to house the backup generator. It will also have a half wall and iron grille work to allow for ventilation for the generator.

Foundation being dug for the generator enclosure behind the storage depot

Foundation being dug for the generator enclosure behind the storage depot

Inside the residence area and the “charcoal” outside kitchen, counters are being poured out of concrete, after which ceramic tile will be placed. Here is a photo of the kitchen counter in the outside kitchen, which is just outside the entrance to the residence, next to the stairwell leading downstairs to the pharmacy.

Frame work in place for kitchen counters

Frame work in place for kitchen counters

We are getting ready for two major events this weekend and would appreciate your prayers for us. First, we anticipate installing our solar panels, inverters and batteries for our electrical system, thanks to the help of a missionary from Port-au-Prince named David Farquharson. David will be working with our Haitian electrician and his crew in getting the whole system up and running. This is a huge step for us, since it means we will have not only electricity, but also running, filtered water in the clinic. Please pray!

In addition, we anticipate the arrival of the workmen who will be putting down the ceramic tile in the residence quarters and pharmacy/xray/lab building. They’ll be living up at the site and will be here for several weeks doing the ceramic installation. This represents tremendous progress for us in our construction and we thank you for your faithful prayers.

 

 

Last Thursday we had the biggest emergency in the history of our clinic in Gatineau. There’s a family that lives near the clinic and the parents have a lot of children, most of them grown. As is typical of many people who live near the clinic, they are very poor. We’ve seen most of the family in the clinic at one time or another with various illnesses.

Around 3pm on Thursday afternoon, just as we were winding up another busy clinic day, one of the daughters appeared with her aunt, complaining of severe abdominal pain. She was hunched over and groaning in pain. According to the aunt and her mother, the young woman had had pain for over three weeks, worse in the past couple of days. When I examined her abdomen, it was tight as a drum, indicating a potential surgical problem. After much encouragement, we were able to obtain a urine pregnancy test on her and it was positive. The diagnosis I suspected was a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. This was a true surgical emergency!

We held a quick family conference with her parents and other family members and told them we were willing to take her in our jeep down to the hospital in Jérémie, so that she could see a surgeon and potentially undergo an operation. They were agreeable, although all of us knew they didn’t have the money to pay for care at the hospital. So, we put her in the back of the jeep, with family members holding her on the seat and made the very painful drive down to Jérémie. She yelled with each bump in the road due to irritation of the lining of her abdomen from blood that was most likely inside. Cherlie tried to offer words of encouragement and I just concentrated on driving!

When we got to the government hospital, I went right to the Emergency Room and spoke with the young Haitian physician who was in charge. All the beds in the ER were full and he looked like it would take him all night to get finished seeing all the patients. But, when he heard the story, he told a nurse to fix a bed in another side room and, after examining her abdomen himself, proceeded to call in the surgeon and the ultrasound technician. I went with the mother to the pharmacy to buy IV needles, syringes, medications and IV fluids. The bill came to 680 Haitian gourdes. The mother had all of 200 gourdes in her purse. Needless to say, our priority at that point was saving this girl’s life. Within an hour, she had obtained an ultrasound, had lab tests done, was examined by the gynecologist who did, indeed, find blood when he put a needle in her abdomen, and was in the operating room. The total price of everything I had to buy to get her there, including the purchase of sterile gloves, suture material, antibiotics, and scalpel was 5235 Haitian gourdes or about 120 US dollars. She lived through the surgery and is recovering in the hospital now.

To all of our donors, we say “Thank you” for allowing us to have the privilege of serving the Lord in this country. Together, that day, we saved a life!

Cherlie and I had a short break at the beginning of April when we went up to Milwaukee for our 6th annual Hope for Haiti fund-raising banquet. It was a wonderful event and we were able to see a lot of former acquaintances, medical colleagues, Haiti visitors and meet some wonderful new friends. Now, we’re back at work again in the clinic and we certainly are enjoying being in the new clinic building. Our patients really enjoy it too and every day we hear expressions of their appreciation for providing them with such a beautiful place in which to receive care.

As we all know, it’s not the beauty of the surroundings that determines whether someone will get better or not when they’re ill, it’s the quality of care they receive. But, the cleanliness, organization and physical appeal are a reflection of the respect we have for our patients, and that is also reflected in the care we give them. We feel that as followers of Jesus Christ we are called to a higher level of excellence in all that we do in life and our careers and professions are certainly the most obvious places to witness that excellence.

Patients waiting on the porch of our new clinic as Cherlie talks with them

Patients waiting on the porch of our new clinic as Cherlie talks with them

Dr. Wolf examining a patient in the new clinic

Dr. Wolf examining a patient in the new clinic

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE

The workmen have been hard at work the past month doing the final stucco work inside and outside the second floor residence quarters that is on top of the pharmacy and lab building. They have made very rapid progress and the building feels like it is in the final stages of construction. We are extremely grateful for all of the financial donations that have made this construction possible. Thank you!

Masons putting on final stucco layer on second floor residence on top of the pharmacy and lab building

Masons putting on final stucco layer on second floor residence on top of the pharmacy and lab building

ANOTHER VISIT FROM JOHNS HOPKINS NURSING STUDENTS AND FACULTY

We were happy to host another group of nursing students and faculty member Grace Murphy this past week from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON). We are involved in an ongoing water and sanitation community development project with them and we made good progress during the week. Three of the days were spent holding community education sessions in communities near our clinic that are not directly involved in the water and sanitation project.

JHSON students and their translator provide community education in a local church near the clinic

JHSON students and their translator provide community education in a local church near the clinic

JHSON students and faculty demonstrate hand washing technique to local community members

JHSON students and faculty demonstrate hand washing technique to local community members

While part of the group of students was out in the local communities, the rest were assisting Cherlie and myself in our clinic. One of the highlights for our patients was that they received education from the students while waiting for their consultations.

 JHSON students teach patients as they wait for consultations in the clinic

JHSON students teach patients as they wait for consultations in the clinic

Two days were spent holding a continuing education session for the 12 promoters who were trained in September 2013 to do community education. These promoters have been very active in their communities teaching people about how diseases can be spread by contaminated water, the importance of treating drinking water, personal hygiene and hand-washing and proper storage of treated water.

JHSON students teaching water and sanitation promoters in a continuing education session

JHSON students teaching water and sanitation promoters in a continuing education session

Promoters (note the t-shirts they were given after their training last September) listen to the lessons and follow in their notebooks

Promoters (note the t-shirts they were given after their training last September) listen to the lessons and follow in their notebooks

Of course, teaching wouldn’t be complete without having the promoters teach new material to one another. This helps reinforce the teaching points and allows them to give feedback to one another regarding the effectiveness of their teaching.

One of the promoters teaches new material to the other promoters under the watchful eyes of the JHSON students

One of the promoters teaches new material to the other promoters under the watchful eyes of the JHSON students

A new twist to the educational sessions was having the promoters participate in playing “comparison” games with pictures demonstrating good and bad hygiene practices. They loved the games and feel that they will help them in their community education activities.

Promoters learning to play the “comparison” game with hygiene pictures

Promoters learning to play the “comparison” game with hygiene pictures

At the end of the week, promoters and students posed in front of the clinic, giving the “clean hands” sign.

Promoters and JHSON students giving the “clean hands” sign

Promoters and JHSON students giving the “clean hands” sign

When visitors stay with us at our home in Jérémie, we like to show them the town and have them experience some of the activities. This group of students was able to participate in Haitian Flag Day celebrations in Jérémie on May 18th.

Haitian school students in colorful uniforms celebrating Flag Day in Jérémie on May 18th

Haitian school students in colorful uniforms celebrating Flag Day in Jérémie on May 18th

JHSON students and faculty at the Jérémie soccer stadium observing Flag Day festivities

JHSON students and faculty at the Jérémie soccer stadium observing Flag Day festivities

Another highlight of the students’ visit was that they brought several duffel bags full of used tennis shoes to us. We’ve had a wonderful time distributing them to needy patients in the clinic. They are thrilled with the gifts and we feel blessed by the givers! Thanks to all who contributed to this effort!

Cherlie helping a patient try on his new tennis shoes in clinic

Cherlie helping a patient try on his new tennis shoes in clinic

New tennis shoes bring a smile to the face of this little patient and his mother

New tennis shoes bring a smile to the face of this little patient and his mother

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve had a number of significant events in the history of Friends for Health in Haiti since Cherlie and I started our ministry here in 2007.  One of the most significant occurred on Monday, March 17th when we moved all of our patient operations into the new clinic building.  We had been delayed in doing this due to ongoing construction at the site, including some finishing touches being put on the clinic porch and doors.  But with the second story roof poured on the pharmacy/lab/xray building, the site is less “active” now in terms of dump trucks bringing up materials, so we decided it was a good time to make the big move.

Thursday, March 13th we moved all the charts, medications and supplies from our little tin-roofed house clinic over to the new clinic building.  Saturday found us at the site doing some touch-up painting on the porch and inside waiting area.  We took the benches that had been under the previous tin-roofed waiting area inside the house and brought out our new benches onto the new clinic porch.  Monday morning when we got up to the site, the patients were there and waiting, uncertain as to the change that was afoot.  We told them that they were about to make history as the first patients to be treated in the new Centre de Sante de Gatineau!  Those who had been praying for this day were rejoicing along with us, because they knew the obstacles that we had faced in getting these buildings up, painted and furnished.  It didn’t matter that the electricity and water weren’t yet connected.  The natural light coming into the clinic rooms was astounding as was the cool breeze coming across the valley and into the windows.  The walls were smooth and painted, a nice contrast to the falling-apart stucco walls we left behind.  Instead of plastic garbage bags tied to the window or the back of a chair, we now have plastic wastebaskets, conveniently located in each room.  There are drawers and cabinets for our supplies and a storage room for all the extras.  We feel like we are truly in heaven!

Front of the clinic on our beautiful opening day

Front of the clinic on our beautiful opening day

Patients sit on benches on the new clinic porch waiting for consultations to start

Patients sit on benches on the new clinic porch waiting for consultations to start

Cherlie addressing the patients at the start of the new clinic opening day

Cherlie addressing the patients at the start of the new clinic opening day

Dr. Wolf speaking with patients on opening day in the new clinic

Dr. Wolf speaking with patients on opening day in the new clinic

Praying with patients and dedicating the new clinic to the Lord

Praying with patients and dedicating the new clinic to the Lord

Cherlie leading a patient into her fresh, new triage room

Cherlie leading a patient into her fresh, new triage room

Dr. Wolf interviewing a patient in one of the new consultation rooms

Dr. Wolf interviewing a patient in one of the new consultation rooms

Dr. Katie and Cherlie removing sutures from a young patient

Dr. Katie and Cherlie removing sutures from a young patient

Guy-Johns Chevalier works in the temporary pharmacy area set up in the Medical Records room in the new clinic

Guy-Johns Chevalier works in the temporary pharmacy area set up in the Medical Records room in the new clinic

Adrien Jean Jacques registers patients in the Medical Records area of the new clinic.  He also is our clinic chaplain.

Adrien Jean Jacques registers patients in the Medical Records area of the new clinic. He also is our clinic chaplain.

 A patient registers outside at the registration window

A patient registers outside at the registration window

Thanks to all of you who have donated your time, money and energy in making this wonderful clinic possible.  We are rejoicing in the way the Lord has blessed us through you!

THE DENTISTS WERE HERE AGAIN!

For the second year in a row, we’ve had the privilege of hosting a team of dental students and faculty from Temple University in Philadelphia, under the direction of Dr. Jason Bresler.  Six students and faculty set up their portable dental chairs on the front porch of the clinic and pulled teeth for 52 of our patients!  The patients were thrilled with the service and we felt blessed to be able to help provide it to them, due to the generosity of the Temple University team.  Much thanks to all!

Patients waiting to have their teeth pulled by the Temple University dental team

Patients waiting to have their teeth pulled by the Temple University dental team

Temple University dental team sets up on the clinic porch

Temple University dental team sets up on the clinic porch

 Patients getting their teeth pulled and others awaiting their fate!

Patients getting their teeth pulled and others awaiting their fate!

Working on a patient with dental instruments spread out on a table behind

Working on a patient with dental instruments spread out on a table behind

 Dr. Jason Bresler, faculty member and one of the team leaders from Temple University Dental School

Dr. Jason Bresler, faculty member and one of the team leaders from Temple University Dental School

 

CONSTRUCTION NOTES

We recently poured a new surface on the bridge leading up to the clinic site, replete with drainage canals and a sloped surface to prevent mud and water from accumulating on the bridge.  This had been a major problem in the past, so the new surface will successfully resolve it.  Below are photos of the old and new bridge.  The design is thanks to Thomas Lee, architect from NJ.

Bridge prior to its facelift!

Bridge prior to its facelift!

 

New bridge surface.  The rocks near the bridge will be used to fill gabion cages along the sides of the creek above and below the bridge.

New bridge surface. The rocks near the bridge will be used to fill gabion cages along the sides of the creek above and below the bridge.

 New bridge from the side, looking over the creek to the new clinic buildings

New bridge from the side, looking over the creek to the new clinic buildings

We also recently had a Haitian carpenter build doors for the patient latrines.  Most all of our construction work has been done by Haitian workmen.  It’s a great way to provide employment for them and helps them support their families.

Haitian carpenters working on the latrine doors

Haitian carpenters working on the latrine doors

Completed latrine doors

Completed latrine doors

 

Dr. Katie Wolf writes the following from Haiti:

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Cherlie and I and the rest of the staff of Centre de Sante de Gatineau and Friends for Health in Haiti would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We would also like to thank all of our donors, volunteers, prayer supporters and friends for your wonderful support and encouragement to us in our ministry here in Haiti.  We are grateful for your partnership with us and for the sacrifices you have made to work with us, visit us and support us.  You are the BEST!!!

THE BOY WITHOUT A NAME HAS A NAME!!!

When Cherlie and I see patients in our clinic in Gatineau, we often hear “life stories” from our patients – stories that tell us about their lives and the events that have led them to our doors.  Some of the stories are requests for advice (excellently offered by Cherlie, who is a great counselor), some are explanations about hardship and very occasionally they are celebratory and happy.

In our last newsletter, I shared with you a story about a little 3 year old boy whose mother died and who was taken in by his grandparents, who had never met him and didn’t even know his name.  Well, last week we saw the little boy again with his grandmother and he was active and talkative and obviously being well cared for by Grandma.  It turns out that his name is Lucson, something that he finally was able to communicate to his grandparents, and his little brother’s name is Eric.  Lucson was full of energy during his visit to me.  It was obvious that he liked the children’s chewable vitamins that he had been given on his first visit because he repeatedly said to me “The vitamins are all finished.  The vitamins are finished!”   Needless to say, I refilled his prescription for vitamins and sent him off as a happy camper!  During this holiday season, you can say a little prayer for Lucson and Eric and their wonderful grandparents who are providing a warm, secure home for them.  What a happy story for the holidays!

A happy Lucson on his follow-up clinic visit

A happy Lucson on his follow-up clinic visit

NEIGHBORLY LOVE

One of Cherlie’s tasks in our life in Haiti stems from her sense of community and desire to be a good neighbor to those around us.  She has the task of being “Public Relations Manager” for those living around us, whether it’s workmen who work at our house, farmers who help with gardening or neighbors with financial, medical and personal problems.  She’s there for all of them – spending time with them, making visits to their homes, helping where she can to be a good neighbor and have a positive Christian witness.  One of the neighbors across the road has a little granddaughter that Cherlie has befriended and when she came over a few weeks ago to show Cherlie her report card from school, she was rewarded with several beautiful pillowcase dresses, made by women back in NJ and Wisconsin.  Beautiful girl and beautiful dress!  Thanks women!

Cherseska, the granddaughter of our neighbor across the road

Cherseska, the granddaughter of our neighbor across the road

NO BLOG IS COMPLETE WITHOUT A CONSTRUCTION REPORT!

We enjoy keeping our supporters and friends informed with regard to the progress being made on construction of our new clinic, pharmacy/lab/xray building and residence quarters.  Here are some highlights from the past few weeks at the construction site:

The second floor residence quarters is going up quickly and the upper beams have now been framed and are in the process of being poured.

Carpenters are framing the beams at the front of the second floor residence

Carpenters are framing the beams at the front of the second floor residence

Iron worker placing rebar under the hot sun

Iron worker placing rebar under the hot sun

Scaffold put up by the carpenters to frame and put rebar in the beams

Scaffold put up by the carpenters to frame and put rebar in the beams

Front beams poured and framing removed

Front beams poured and framing removed

Beams inside the second floor rooms poured

Beams inside the second floor rooms poured

In order to access the second floor residence, it was necessary to build a stairwell that goes from the ground level, which is the original level of the land before any grading was done, up a floor to the pharmacy/lab/xray building floor level and then up another flight to the second floor residence level.   On the second floor, we decided to make an outside kitchen for the residence quarters, so we can have a Haitian cook prepare meals on charcoal fires, which is more economical and is the cooking fuel most Haitian cooks are used to.

Here are some photos from the stairwell-building process:

Block walls are going up on the middle level of the stairwell (same level as the clinic and pharmacy/lab/xray building floor)

Block walls are going up on the middle level of the stairwell (same level as the clinic and pharmacy/lab/xray building floor)

View from outside of the stairwell going from below ground level up to the second floor residence level

View from outside of the stairwell going from below ground level up to the second floor residence level

Getting a peek at the heavens through a window on the stairwell

Getting a peek at the heavens through a window on the stairwell

Electricians placing electrical conduits and ceiling boxes before pouring the roof of the stairwell at the second level

Electricians placing electrical conduits and ceiling boxes before pouring the roof of the stairwell at the second level

While all this work has been going on at the stairwell and second floor residence, part of the work crew has been making good progress building a pump house to enclose our newly-dug well.

The foundation walls of the pump house have been built, after which the columns will be poured as well as a concrete floor.  The building is being constructed to keep the well and well pump secure.

The foundation walls of the pump house have been built, after which the columns will be poured as well as a concrete floor. The building is being constructed to keep the well and well pump secure.

The finishing stucco was put on the sidewalk and roof that goes from the clinic building to the pharmacy/lab/xray building.  There is a small sidewalk going from a side door of the clinic over to the main sidewalk and the stucco work on that sidewalk led to some interesting comments from the Haitian workers.  Every one of them who looked at the area beneath the sidewalk said the same thing to us:  “What are you going to put in the space under the sidewalk?  It’s big enough for a two-room house.”  We didn’t have plans for anything there, but now that they mention it………!

Area under the stairwell that is big enough for a two room house!

Area under the stairwell that is big enough for a two room house!

MANY THANKS TO OUR VISITORS!

We would never have been able to make the progress that we have this year without the assistance and expertise of many wonderful volunteer visitors.  To all of you who have given of your time, money and energy to endure our hot weather and rocky roads to sweat and toil with us, we say a huge THANK YOU!  And, for those who have given financially to assist these volunteers, we give another huge THANK YOU!

We were blessed with having several visitors this past month.  Here are some highlights:

Master cabinetmaker Bob Chase made his third trip down here this year from Milwaukee to complete the installation of desks, counters and cabinets in the clinic for us.

Here is Bob putting concrete down on plywood countertops, after which ceramic tile was placed.  It was quite a challenge to work with Haitian cement, rather than the thin-set variety that he’s used to at home!

Here is Bob putting concrete down on plywood countertops, after which ceramic tile was placed. It was quite a challenge to work with Haitian cement, rather than the thin-set variety that he’s used to at home!

Cabinets along one wall in the Emergency Room

Cabinets along one wall in the Emergency Room

Sink, cabinet and writing desk in one of the examination rooms

Sink, cabinet and writing desk in one of the examination rooms

Desks in the registration/medical records room, handmade by Bob

Desks in the registration/medical records room, handmade by Bob

Each office has a desk and shelves on the wall

Each office has a desk and shelves on the wall

We were all blessed to have 4 additional visitors from Milwaukee the second week Bob was here.  Ray and Donna Moon and Yvonne Ducharme have made many trips to Haiti in the past, but this time they were accompanied by Yvonne’s brother Lawrence.  They all had the wonderful experience of driving out to Jérémie from Port-au-Prince, part of it in the dark, leading them to ask repeatedly “Are you sure this is the road?”  They got their fill of our roads as they rode up to the clinic site and back every day!  And, they even had energy to accomplish some very significant tasks.

Donna and Ray Moon helped Bob by laying all the ceramic tile on the countertops in the clinic.

Donna and Ray Moon helped Bob by laying all the ceramic tile on the countertops in the clinic.

Lawrence and Yvonne cutting wood for clinic windows.  Lawrence came prepared with his hard hat and tool belt!

Lawrence and Yvonne cutting wood for clinic windows. Lawrence came prepared with his hard hat and tool belt!

Lawrence built these shelves in a storage room and Donna and Yvonne sorted through 12 drums of medical supplies, organizing them in plastic totes for use in the clinic.

Lawrence built these shelves in a storage room and Donna and Yvonne sorted through 12 drums of medical supplies, organizing them in plastic totes for use in the clinic.

The team even had time to put up a toilet paper holder in the clinic bathroom!

The team even had time to put up a toilet paper holder in the clinic bathroom!

Here’s Cherlie and her new best friend Ray!

Here’s Cherlie and her new best friend Ray!

The whole group stops for a photo:  Bob, Donna, Ray, Lawrence, Yvonne, Cherlie and Katie.

The whole group stops for a photo: Bob, Donna, Ray, Lawrence, Yvonne, Cherlie and Katie.

During the Milwaukee team’s visit, we also were able to have a couple of days with a mother-daughter nurse practitioner team from Houston.  Susan Collins and her daughter Mary helped see patients in the clinic with the assistance of translator James:

Susan and Mary interview a patient with James’ help.

Susan and Mary interview a patient with James’ help.

HAVE A BLESSED, PEACEFUL HOLIDAY SEASON.

WE LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Katie and Cherlie

By Dr. Katie Wolf

Okay, everybody, sing to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”:

Lave, lave, lave men nou                      Wash, wash, wash your hands

Lave men nou chak jou.                       Wash your hands each day

Avan w manje, apre w twalet,             Before you eat, after you use the toilet

E nou va gen santé.                               And you will have good health.

This is one of the songs that the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) students taught our 12 Community Water Promoters at the three-day training program we held for them this past week.  The training session was part of a new water and sanitation development project that we’ve started in six of the communities around the clinic site.  These six communities were chosen because they showed that they had good leadership and did well with a seed project we have been doing with them over the past few years.  Each of the six communities chose two people for us to train as community promoters.  These promoters are charged with the task of changing their communities for health!  This is, of course, not a small task.  But, we are asking them to go around their communities with the message of clean water, good hygiene and sanitation, and hopefully, in time, attitudes and behaviors will change.

With funding from the Fox Cities Morning Rotary Club in Wisconsin and partnership with the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, we began this project last spring with an initial assessment in the six communities to evaluate their present practices with regard to water treatment, water storage and basic hygiene and sanitation.  This assessment was conducted by our Community Coordinator, Gemi Baptiste and students and faculty from JHSON.  After this assessment, Gemi met with leaders and members of the communities and each community chose two people to become Community Promoters.

Community meeting to choose two promoters for training

Community meeting to choose two promoters for training

Promoters who were chosen by community leaders and members

Promoters who were chosen by community leaders and members

In September when the school semester began, the Johns Hopkins students and faculty began work on the curriculum to be presented at the training session.  With input from us here in Haiti, and with teaching materials gathered from various organizations and institutions, they had a good start to their teaching plans when they got down here.  We used the weekend to work out some of the final details and plan the upcoming week’s schedule.

The students were accompanied by two faculty members, Kevin Ousman and Grace Murphy.  They did a wonderful job of keeping the students focused and productive, but relaxed and able to have fun.

Faculty members from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing – Kevin Ousman and Grace Murphy

Faculty members from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing – Kevin Ousman and Grace Murphy

On Monday and Tuesday, the students had a chance to help Cherlie and me in the clinic as we consulted on our patients.

Students doing patient education with the help of a translator

Students doing patient education with the help of a translator

Emily Devan uses a Doppler to check for fetal heart tones on a pregnant patient

Emily Devan uses a Doppler to check for fetal heart tones on a pregnant patient

Megan Armbraster lets a little patient hear his own heart sounds!

Megan Armbraster lets a little patient hear his own heart sounds!

Wednesday marked the first day of the Promoter Training sessions.  All twelve promoters were very prompt in arriving and attentive to the teaching for the day.  The main objective of the first session was to present basic information about germs and how they spread and cause disease.  The students were very creative in demonstrating their major teaching points!

Students who taught the first day’s sessions – Nicolette, Caitlin and Amy

Students who taught the first day’s sessions – Nicolette, Caitlin and Amy

Everyone gets a chance to wash glitter off their hands.

Everyone gets a chance to wash glitter off their hands.

A major area of emphasis was cholera, which is resurgent again in the area around our clinic site, due to recent frequent rains.

Cholera teaching aid put out by the Haitian Department of Public Health

Cholera teaching aid put out by the Haitian Department of Public Health

Cherlie giving the promoters important information on cholera and how to prevent it.  She does similar teaching in the clinic each day.

Cherlie giving the promoters important information on cholera and how to prevent it. She does similar teaching in the clinic each day.

Thursday was a day for hands-on activities for the promoters.  They learned how to properly wash their hands with soap and how to make a “tippy tap” to pour water onto their hands from a gallon container without touching the container.  Everyone enjoyed the practical learning that day.

Making a “tippy-tap” in small groups

Making a “tippy-tap” in small groups

The promoters also practiced making oral rehydration fluid, as they would at home, to treat diarrhea and dehydration.

The promoters also practiced making oral rehydration fluid, as they would at home, to treat diarrhea and dehydration.

Friday, the third day of the training session, was spent reviewing all the previous information and practicing using some of the visual aids that the students had organized in a notebook for the promoters.  Each promoter had the chance to present a topic using a large poster, just as they will in the future when they present information to their fellow community members.

Using a poster to discuss important teaching points.

Using a poster to discuss important teaching points.

The high point of the day, though, was the giving of gifts, including T-shirts with the clinic logo, white caps, bright green bags to carry their notebooks and personal hygiene kits.

Promoters receiving their bag of gifts

Promoters receiving their bag of gifts

Promoters with Cherlie and Katie and their T-shirts

Promoters with Cherlie and Katie and their T-shirts

We want to thank the various Rotary Clubs in Wisconsin who have contributed to this water and sanitation project, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing students and faculty who made the teaching sessions so informative and enjoyable and the businesses and organizations who helped the students bring down the T-shirts and gifts that were so special for the promoters.  A special thanks to all who prayed for our success and safety during the week!

UPDATE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION-MINDED

by Dr. Katie Wolf

For those of you who enjoy following our construction progress, here are some photos from the past couple of weeks.  We have had a very dry summer here, which is not good for the crops, but is very good for our construction.  Rain makes it hard to get materials up to the site and for the workers to work, but, fortunately, the rain that has fallen has been mostly at night and the road is dry by the time the truck starts up the mountain.  We’re grateful for these signs of God’s grace!  Thanks for your prayers and wonderful support!

The stucco work on the pharmacy/lab/xray building is moving along quickly.  The inside of the building is finished, as is the front porch.  This week the masons are finishing up the two sides and back of the building and then it will be done!

Masons doing stucco work on scaffolding on one side of the pharmacy building

Masons doing stucco work on scaffolding on one side of the pharmacy building

Here is the nearly completed side wall

Here is the nearly completed side wall

The patient latrine was dug to a depth of 10 feet, after which a retaining wall was built to prevent collapse of the top of the hole.  Here are the rock walls being built:

RockWalls_Latrine

Rock walls along the sides of the latrine to prevent collapse

Here the walls are up and the framing is built for pouring the concrete columns.  The latrine will be dug down another 10 feet deeper to increase its capacity

Here the walls are up and the framing is built for pouring the concrete columns. The latrine will be dug down another 10 feet deeper to increase its capacity

Here is the clinic building with the latrine behind it and the septic tank further down the slope

Here is the clinic building with the latrine behind it and the septic tank further down the slope

In order to store water to flow down by gravity into the clinic buildings, we’re building a concrete reservoir or cistern on the side of the mountain above the clinic.  Here is the base of the reservoir, dug into the ground a few feet to stabilize the concrete slab that will be the floor:

Base for the reservoir that will hold 10,000 gallons of water

Base for the reservoir that will hold 10,000 gallons of water

Rocks piled up in front of the clinic to be used for the latrine and for the water reservoir up the hill.

Rocks piled up in front of the clinic to be used for the latrine and for the water reservoir up the hill.

Behind the storage depot is the hill on which the reservoir will sit.  When the initial excavation of the land was done using a borrowed backhoe and bulldozer, the mountain wasn’t cut back far enough to allow for drainage and prevention of erosion.  So, for the past few weeks, we’ve employed several strong, young men to cut back the mountain using pick-axes and shovels.  Here’s part of the wall that they’ve cut back:

Cutting back the mountain

 

AND, FOR THE MEDICALLY-MINDED

Last week, this little boy came into the clinic, holding a bloody rag to his face from a laceration he sustained in a fall.  He was changing his goat’s grazing location and tripped, falling onto a sharp rock on the ground.  Fortunately, his mother lives nearby and brought him quickly to the clinic to be seen.  Since it was a fresh laceration, we took time from our other patients to sew him up.  He was a model patient, never flinching with the local anesthetic injections or the sutures.  In fact, he slept through the whole procedure!  Here he is a week later, ready to have his sutures removed:

Facial laceration a week after being sutured

Facial laceration a week after being sutured

For those of you astute clinicians, I want to assure you that, in addition to fixing his laceration, we also treated his fungal scalp infection!

Bad case of tinea capitis

Bad case of tinea capitis

Every once in a while, we have the opportunity of attending activities at the government hospital in Jérémie.  A good friend of ours, Concepcia Pamphile, is the Assistant Medical Director of the hospital and she invited us to attend the dedication ceremony for a new Maternity Wing of the hospital.  This occasion also corresponded with the celebration of the hospital’s 90th year of existence!  Attending the ceremony was the Minister of Health, who I was privileged to meet.

Haiti’s Minister of Health, Dr. Florence Guillaume, addresses the audience

Haiti’s Minister of Health, Dr. Florence Guillaume, addresses the audience

Banner announcing the dedication of the new Maternity Wing of Hopital Saint Antoine

Banner announcing the dedication of the new Maternity Wing of Hopital Saint Antoine

Categories