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By Saray Stayer and Valerie Libby*

Our day began winding through the dirt roads of an unknown country as we made our way to LaHoye clinic in Casse. We drove past vibrantly painted, boarded shacks, beautiful mountains (though sadly barren of trees and birds), and corner stores consisting of little more than a crooked, wooden table full of goods. However, as we approached our destination, the barren landscape turned into vibrant energy full of Haitians carrying their goods on their beasts or their heads as they made their weekly trip to the market. Despite the lack of shoes, muddy roads, and long treks, these people seemed impervious to any obstacle.

Women on their way to market. Central Plateau, Haiti.

Our mobile clinic team began to triage patients towards one of three areas: Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, and Ob-Gyn. We learned not only of our patient’s illnesses, but also of their lives. One woman in particular had unforgettably sad eyes and came to us complaining of neck pain-a result of the weight of the water she carries on her head daily. We realized, however, her greater problem was feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. She was a middle-aged schoolteacher for first and second graders and a mother of five children. She hadn’t been paid her salary in the past two months and she had a husband who was never home. While explaining her situation to us, tears began to well up in her eyes. As our attention turned into sympathy, she remembered her strength and proudly declared, “I can work a hoe!”

This lady exemplifies the resilience of the Haitian people. Despite all of the hardships, they utilize their resources, take pride in their energy and try to lead vibrant and fulfilling lives. We are proud to serve such an inspiring people through Project Medishare.

*Saray Stayer is a 2nd year medical student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Valerie Libby is a 1st year medical student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and are spending this week working with Project Medishare’s Haitian medical staff during mobile clinics and home visits. This is their first trip to Haiti.

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UTHSCSA

By Jennifer Browning

Since their first partnering trip with Project Medishare in December 2008, University of Texas Health and Science Center in San Antonio (UTHSCSA) has been working toward raising enough money to send two medical groups to Haiti in 2010.

They received quite a boost after the group won a $10,000 grant from Ideablob.com this month.

UTHSCSA trip leader, Sheridan Fielding found out  about the website by two friends who are text_UT_ideablobinvolved with, Play For Hope, who successfully used Ideablob to win a grant for their organization earlier in the year.

“It is truly a remarkable site,” Fielding said. “The $10K monthly prize is clearly very neat in itself, but when you look closer at the site, it’s a dynamic website for idea exchange and encouragement of entrepreneurship. It also has become a fantastic venue for non-profit and/or public health organizations in particular to spread the word about the work they are doing and receive good advice from others who may have expertise in an area that is helpful to them.”

The Texas group’s involvement in Haiti and Project Medishare was inspired initially when Project Medishare Co-Founder Dr. Fournier visited their campus. Fielding said the first year medical students were captivated by the stories and work being done in Thomonde with community health workers, and wanted to learn more.
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