Wednesday in Dental

Clinic Day 3 saw our dentist as the most popular guy in the building.

As time goes on, the word spreads further and further throughout the nearby villages about our team’s visit. Wednesday we treated another 142 patients and our team is working like a well-oiled machine. Our 4 doctors see patient after patient and move them along to pharmacy to pick up their medications and vitamins. Our one dentist does extraction after extraction and tries to see as many patients as he can.

I had the privilege of assisting Dr Amir for most of the day and seeing first hand the difference he is making. Many patients come to see him because they have pain. Fillings are a temporary fix and not knowing when they may see a dentist again most patients agree with his suggestion to just have the offending tooth removed. Some of the teeth are so rotten that removal is not as simple as just pulling it out and I watched tooth after tooth crumble as the instrument grasped it. What follows is the gruelling task of making sure every single little piece is removed so nothing is left behind to cause an infection.

The result is that many people come to see the dentist and wait most or all of the day only to be told to “please come back tomorrow”. So we will see many return patients the next day with the card we gave them so they will go to the head of the line. Dr. Amir will do as much as he can for as many as he can and hope to alleviate some of the pain these people deal with every day. Once again we are reminded how important it is to get this clinic open more often.

If you can help, please donate to Haiti Clinic and make this possible.

 

Tuesday in the Clinic

Tuesday came and went in a blur of activity.

Our team was off to a strong start Tuesday morning with patients lined up as we arrived at 7:30am. Our doctors and dentist quickly began seeing patients and the prescriptions began pouring in to the pharmacy.

Every patient seen while our team is here is receiving treatment for parasites, multivitamins and a toothbrush and toothpaste for the entire family, along with any medications prescribed individually by our doctors and dentist. We are giving out a LOT of antibiotics, pain medications and stomach medications. Lack of nutrition, access to clean water and just unclean living conditions lead to infections, and gastro-intestinal illnesses that people just “live with” until a team like ours comes to the clinic and gives them some relief for a few months. The consensus among the team is that this clinic needs to be open more often than it is right now.

By day two we are seeing people travel from much farther away as word of mouth spreads the news that doctors and dentist are here from Canada. We received a visit today from a mom and baby that we saw last year during one of our team visits. Little Pierre who we thought would not make it to the hospital that day last November is thriving and beautiful because our team was here when he needed them and they saved his life.

Our team had a chance to visit some nearby homes and see just how a lot of the people in Croix des Bouquets live. We were so graciously received as people shared their lives with us and we were honoured to be so welcomed.

Tomorrow begins day 3 of our clinic. We are in a groove now and have been able to make some changes and adjustments not just to be more efficient but to be sure each patient we see gets the best care possible and we are doing all we can to help them, heal them and maybe make their lives better even for just a day.

You can’t imagine how rewarding it is for each team member. As we gather around the dinner table in the guest house and share our experiences, everyone realizes how their lives are the ones forever changed by this experience.

note: the signal just is not strong enough to upload all the pictures we have. as soon as we can get access to a stronger wifi signal we can share all the beautiful faces with you.

 

 

Day 1 in Croix des Bouquets

After a slow start to the morning things moved quickly through the day with a total of 115 patients seen.

Our dental suite was busy with many difficult treatments required. Many Haitians go their entire life without ever seeing a dentist. Those that do will often only see one when a team like ours visits. A few hiccups with tools and equipment limited some of the patients that could receive treatment but our wonderful Haitian staff at the clinic were busily tracking down exactly what we need and we hope to have parts tomorrow to allow Dr. Amir to use all the tools he needs. We were able to invite those patients to come back later in the week for the treatment they need.

Our 3 doctors, along with a local Haitian doctor saw people of all ages but a majority were women and children. Everything from infections to dehydration and malnutrition were treated by our doctors and prescriptions filled on the spot in our pharmacy.

A seriously ill 18 month old was assessed and it was decided to send him and his mom into Port au Prince to see a Paediatrician at the hospital. Our Haitian medical director hopes to follow up tomorrow to see how he is doing.

The pharmacy was a buzz of activity as medications were sorted, counted and mixed to treat the patients with anywhere from one week to a month’s supply. Many people were grateful to receive simple pain relievers or antibiotics and everyone also received a toothbrush and toothpaste and multivitamins. Items we in Canada often take for granted but when your priority is food and shelter for your family, buying these simple things is just not a priority.

The team’s discussion around the dinner table later was how the experience of seeing a patient for a few moments without much of a medical history, access to testing they would use at home and especially, being able to follow up to see how a patient was doing, is a difficult part of this kind of mission. It is one of the very reasons that EMI wants to be able to send teams more often and someday even keep the clinic running all the time.

Our team is making a difference. Our doctors and dentists educate as well as treat. Mothers leave knowing more about how to take care of themselves and their children, to keep their families healthy. And…for all of us…tomorrow is a new day.

Sandy

NOTE: our lack of adequate wifi is making it difficult to upload pictures to add to our post. I will try again in the morning and hopefully have some luck.

 

HAITI NEEDS YOU THIS OCTOBER

From October 21 to 28 EMI will be sending a medical team to Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti.  Currently we have 3 medical doctors, a pharmacist and for the first time, 2 dentists.  But, we REALLY need more nurses.  Can you help us? If you are a nurse or know someone who is, we could really use your help.

If you can’t make it, your financial help would be greatly appreciated.  To properly serve the people of Haiti at the clinic, we need to purchase approximately $4,000 in dental equipment.  Please donate now!

October 21 to 28 Croix des Bouquets

We need your help to provide medical and dental care to the people of Haiti.  Here’s what we need:

  • 3 nurses and a dental assistant
  • $4,000 for dental compressors and sterilizing equipment.
  • $5,000 for medication and anaesthetic.

 

Introducing two new members of the Board.

Please join the Board of Directors in welcoming two newcomers to our membership.

 In June 2018, we welcomed Dr. Francine McCourt and Dr. Greg Jeffries to the Board of Directors. Both Francine and Greg have served with EMI on medical missions in past years and come with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the medical field.

 Dr. Francine McCourt has also accepted the position of Director of Medical Programs and, along with Dr. Greg Jeffries, will oversee all the medical aspects of our work going forward.

 We are blessed to have these two wonderful individuals join us and look forward to working with them to continue to provide primary healthcare and education to some of the world’s most impoverished peoples.

 

 Francine McCourt, BSc., M.D., CCFP – Director of Medical Programs

Since completing her medical training at McMaster and Queen’s University Dr. Francine McCourt has practiced in a variety of settings including Northern Ontario, Youth Health Centres, Family Practice and currently works as a Hospitalist at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital.  She is a wife and a mother of two children.

Since her first trip to Haiti in the fall of 2017, Francine is keen to explore serving that community further.  Her first experience rekindled her passion to help others with love, compassion and without judgment to the best of her abilities.

 

Greg Jeffries, Hon. B.Sc., M.D., CCFP, FHM – Director

Dr. Greg Jeffries graduated from the University of Toronto and completed his residency in Family Medicine at McMaster University. He is currently a Staff Hospitalist and Surgical Assistant in the Department of Family Medicine at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. He serves as a member of many committees in the Halton Healthcare system.

He did his first medical mission to Guatemala in 2016 providing medical assessment and treatment to children, adults and seniors in rural communities.   The experience left him with a sense of gratitude for his life in Canada and a motivation to become more involved in the work of EMI.

Almost Complete!

We finished off the water lines yesterday. We had to wait to do a water test until the afternoon when the kids had finished school as the bathrooms were on the same line as the school. We needed to shut down the line to tie the new line in. When we turned the water back on, surprise, there was no water.

We weren’t tied into that line after all but a completely different one. That’s what happens when things are buried. When we finally figured out what line to turn on, we had water alright. We had water spraying from the back of the building. We had a leak. As it turns out, one of the joints wasn’t glued. An easy fix and we were good to go.

We decided that since Loving Arms is going to tile the pads where the toilets are going to sit, we wouldn’t set the toilets. For now the 4 girl’s toilets and 3 boy’s toilets will sit in storage. Instead we decided to pour the cement pad for the sinks.

As Jim was walking around looking for wood for forms for the pad, he heard what he thought was water running in the middle of a small field. Sure enough, Water was bubbling up from the ground, like oil on the Beverly Hillbillies. The pipe had sprung a leak. Today, we are stopping at the ferreteria for fittings to repair that leak so we can walk away knowing that everything is sealed. God is good. If Jim hadn’t been walking there we may never have known about that leak.

Last night we went shopping: Denny bought Guatemalan refried beans, Jim bought Guatemalan chocolate milk and Guatemalan chocolate (it tasted a little different than ours), Jonathan bought some Guatemalan imitation crocs and I bought some Guatemalan granola bars. I will enjoy my taste of Guatemala for a break today.

 

The Hardware Store

Yesterday on our way to the Loving Arms site, we stopped at a local hardware store, known as a ferreteria, for some parts. At first, we had to explain to our driver, Minor where we wanted to go. Minor doesn’t speak English and we don’t speak Spanish. So we got out our Google translate and gave it a shot. Sure enough we got the message through.
The ferreteria is like most hardware stores in the developing world, all of the parts are displayed on the wall. You either point at what you want or describe it to the clerk. That gets challenging when you don’t speak Spanish, the clerk doesn’t speak English, your driver doesn’t speak English, and the part you are looking for isn’t on the wall. We were looking for a round keyhole saw. After several failed attempts to describe it in English we resorted to a sketch. As rough as it was, we found success and rode away with a brand new keyhole saw.
We finished up cementing and began running water lines. We had a minor set back when we accidentally put a hole in one of the existing water lines, but with three plumbers around, that was fixed with almost a wave of their hand.
At lunch we were served a drink that looked like milk but tasted like vanilla and coconut. Very unusual. After dinner, with no cake, and no rain in site, we made our trek through the city for some gelato. I had salted peanut butter and the other guys had lemon. They sure know how to make gelato in Guatemala. Today we stop at the ferreteria again to work on our Spanish.
John F.

Soaked in Rain Water and Memories

Yesterday is a day I am not likely to forget for a long time. We moved out to the Loving Arms Centre like normal. Our objective was to complete the cementing. As we began to prepare the trenches for cement, Alicia (the Loving Arms Guatemala Executive Director) came by with a request. While the plan didn’t show it she wondered if we could rough in a spot for one more girl’s toilet. This meant digging up what we had already prepared and she felt really badly for
requesting it. As an incentive, she promised us cake. We weren’t sure that the promise of cake was real, but agreed to do it as it was the right thing to do.
Even though we lost some time, some young people who were travelling on another mission team, lent us a hand in making cement. With Jonathan leading the way, we mixed up the cement on the ground and poured it into the trenches with wheelbarrows. By the end of the day, we were done. It’s amazing how the Lord provides.
Back at the hotel, dinner was spaghetti. Afterwards, we felt like we needed a little dessert and decided to go for a walk and find a pastry shop. As we were about to leave Alicia stopped and said, “Where are you going? I’ve got cake.” And an amazing cake it was.
Still needing our walk, especially after cake, we took off looking for the local supermarket. It was hidden way behind some other buildings and supposedly we had walked past it several times and missed it. We were intent on finding it and we did. It was huge, and very impressive. Prices so good we thought next time rather than bringing things with us, we will just buy them here. We spent more time looking around than we should have and it began to rain, a torrential downpour. Our only option was to run back to the hotel. Trying to miss the rain by hiding under their narrow eaves, we would run from one side of the street to the other hoping to find the widest eaves. The Guatemalans we would meet, huddled in their doorways, would break out laughing when they saw us, running through the streets. With no storm sewers, the water runs in the street and crossing it we got our feet soaked. By the time we made it back to the hotel, we were completely soaked in rain water and memories.
John F

What a Welcome in Parramos, Guatemala!

We had a great day in Parramos, Guatemala today. We drove from Antigua, along the winding roads, up the mountains to Loving Arms’ Centre of Hope. This is where the school is located. Upon arriving, we noticed the doors were closed which seemed odd for a school day. As we approached the school, the doors were flung open and all the school children were lined up on either side of the door to greet us. What a wonderful surprise. They were beautiful, in their blue and white and tartan uniforms and of course their huge smiles. High fiving us as we walked past.
The work could not have gone more smoothly. This is a great team! I sometimes feel as if I am standing still as I watch these guys buzz around me. The trench to the septic tank has been completely dug out and all the piping for the toilets is completed. We plan on cementing the floors tomorrow.
        
Simply amazing! God is so good!
We saw a puff of smoke from the overlooking volcano today, just reminding us how small we are and how big God is. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish tomorrow.
John F.

Look at him now!

You may remember this story from September 28 when we posted about the baby in respiratory distress. Well, his mom brought him back to visit and show just how life-altering having a team there has been.

Would you like to be part of a story like this? Let us know on the volunteer page and thank you for helping make the next team happen with your donation.