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.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.