Today our group split up between the Asilo, a nursing home for the elderly in Bocas, and La Solucion. At the Asilo, we took the patients for a walk in the park, talked to them, and just interacted with them in general. Without volunteers from Floating Doctors, the people in the Asilo rarely get to interact with people in Bocas Town. The Asilo is a great example of people taking limited resources and supplementing them with time, interaction, and kind conversations to turn it into something invaluable for the seniors. The Asilo helps many of these disenfranchised people get off the streets.
At noon we came back to the warehouse for lunch and then some of us stayed at La Consultario (medical clinic), while those that went to the Asilo in the morning went to La Solucion. In the afternoon, the project at La Salucion was lifting up the water pipes that bring in clean, potable water from the city, up out of the muck and attaching them to the bottom of the walkway. They encountered a few difficulties with water lines detaching because they were not properly glued, which is a huge health hazard because the swamp water gets into their only clean water source.
The Consultario is where members of the community can come ask Doctor Ben and the other doctors for a consultation on their health problems. The problems are often diarrhea and other stomach problems, which ties back to the problem of clean water. Some volunteers went with Tommy, the master carpenter, and Andrew, the film guy, to the Marina to work on their boat. The Southern Wind is the Floating Doctor’s boat, which has taken them from Honduras to Haiti and back.
After a good days work, some of us went to Riptide, jumping off their boat to cool off in the ocean, and then La Bulga. We all regrouped at the apartments and went to a delicious restaurant called Maracuya (Passionfruit in Spanish!) for Lisa’s 21st birthday. Today was a great balance of hard work and relaxation and fun
Posted by Patty Lu
Reflections on being with Floating Doctors in Haiti
The efficiency with which the Floating Doctors delivers care is astonishing. They arrived in a small town which had no significant docking facilities and no airport for relief flights. On board the 76 foot Southern Wind they carried several thousand pounds of construction material, several thousand pounds of medical supplies, water filters, and hundreds pounds of clothing. 11 tons of relief supplies. They are a high tech outfit bringing medical care to remote coastal areas of the world on an ancient platform…the sailboat.
Continue reading Dr. George’s Observations 4
That first day in Petit Goave, Haiti, was relatively cool, though compared to Southern California it FELT quite hot because of the high humidity. Someone from St. Louis or New Orleans would have found it to be a remarkably comfortable summer day.
After finishing the clinic work and touring the tent city which had grown up on the clinic grounds, we headed for the boat. It’s about a 3/4 mile walk to the beach called “The Club.” This refers to a beach club which at one time had been at that beach.
The walk followed Route 2 for about 150 yards. We made a left turn down a side street of mud, gravel, and mud puddles. About half the time in Haiti I wore heavy hiking boots; the rest of the time I wore sandals.
Continue reading Dr.George’s Observations 3
We arrived at the Des Granges Clinic just after lunch. Ben had only a few more patients remaining. Sky was there. I was so happy to see them both looking so well after all our months of separation. All the volunteers looked extremely healthy and full of enthusiasm for the mission. I met Noah, whom I found to be very intelligent, resourceful, and tolerant.
The response of the volunteer Haitians to the presence of Floating Doctors was one of heartwarming affection and support. Sky introduced me to a couple of the young orphans who hang out on the clinic campus during the day. Many of them have come to regard her as an angel. They will miss her when the Floating Doctors move on to other venues.
May 23, 20100
I lived in a rough neighborhood on the near west side of Chicago in the 1960’s. I worked in Watts in Los Angeles for several years in the mid-1970’s. I have traveled over remote roads in Northern Cambodia, through the alleys of Calcutta, and I have walked all over Johannesburg, South Africa, despite being warned that it was dangerous. I have discovered that, if you don’t do anything stupid, treat people with respect, don’t look like a victim and act like you have a purpose for being where you are, that people generally don’t do harm. Therefore, I was not worried about the anarchy I had heard about in Port au Prince.
When I arrived at the airport, Hugh Des Granges, Ben’s sponsor in Haiti, was right there to meet me. He whisked me through customs. I had 200 pounds of luggage, which included one 99.5 pound suitcase with an electrical convertor for the Southern Wind as well as other supplies.
April 27, 2010. Petit-Goave, Haiti.
At long last, phase one of our project is complete! We have completely rebuilt our ship, found and loaded all our medical supplies, sailed our vessel over 800 miles from Florida and arrived safely in Petit-Goave, on the northern coast of Haiti’s southern peninsula.
Our last port-of-call in the US was Miami, our jump-off point for the long transit southeast to Haiti. Miami Beach Marina and Epic Marina donated dockage for us while we provisioned, continued stowing and securing our supplies and waited for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream.
Moving from Miami Beach Marina to the Epic Hotel dock was a bit tricky. The Epic Marina is on the narrow Miami River. It had a ripping current flowing into it when we came in, and we had a strong wind blowing behind us, pushing us along the current. When they gave us the docking instructions, they told us, “You can’t miss it—the spot where you guys should dock is about 200 feet long, right between the two mega yachts; be careful because the one in front of you just had a 2 million dollar paint job!” We parallel parked without incident and spent two days provisioning and waiting for the weather to clear.
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