By Rosa Salgado
Thomonde, HAITI–My experience began the moment I got on the airplane to Haiti. From the airport, we drove to Thomonde. The roads were very bumpy and I felt kind of nauseous, but I was looking to the road seeing the mountains and the children smiling gave me a peace of mind. Looking at the people and their houses, I realized how blessed I am living in America.
The Haitian people work very hard everyday to make a living. The job opportunities and the economy in Haiti are very poor. I saw many people in every corner trying to sell a product to make a living. Early in the morning you can see women walking for miles, carrying their heavy items on their head, to sell their produce at the nearest market. Seeing the women washing their clothes in nearby streams and children trying to bathe themselves with drops of water coming from a well, it’s not difficult to realize that many of the problems that prevent Haitians from having a better life is the lack of water and electricity. The diseases the people face here in Haiti are the direct cause of the environment where they live, the lack of water, financial resources and energy as well as many others.
Visiting the patients at the outpatient clinics gave me an unforgettable experience. While the mobile clinic had very little resources, the Project Medishare team made sure the setup was efficient and organized. The pharmacy was located in a room where the Project Medishare team counted medications and packed them into little plastic bags to be distributed according to the doctor’s prescriptions. Located near the pharmacy was the doctor’s examination room, the nurses’ room and then the waiting area. Before the patients saw the doctor, the UM nursing students took the patient’s vital signs. By assisting the Haitian nurses in taking the patient’s vitals, I learned how to better observe a patient by closely observing their actions.
I have learned so much from this experience and I am amazed at how much Project Medishare is able to accomplish with such few resources. Working with the community health program in Thomonde is an experience I will never forget.