Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lunch at Fabbius' restaurant, a reunion for Fabbius, Ndaro and me.

Street market scene, dumpsters are piled up at the end of the day and often not emptied.

Trainees getting a ride home.

A few of our training group at Censhop.

I started my part of the psychosocial training yesterday at the Censhop Hospital. I have 16 participants, Steve, the HelpAge Psychosocial coordinator, 4 HelpAge nurses, 2 HelpAge public health docs, 2 program people from HelpAge, a HelpAge community agent from the camps, the medical director of the Censhop Hospital, and 7 other healthcare providers from other NGO's. They are a wonderful group who are eager to learn and seem pretty engaged. They are practicing skills in small groups in breakout sessions that they can use in the hospitals and camps with people who have PTSD and depression. As a whole group we are having lively and touching dialogues about how to do the work with the particular challenges that older people face in the camps, and how to apply these skills to themselves, all whom are Haitians who have personally been through the earthquake here and are still dealing with their own losses of home and family members, and traumatic stress. My interpreter is top notch and is familiar with the material I am teaching and is also helpful with the small breakout groups. We have 2 more days together to do the "watch one, do one, teach one model", so by the end of tomorrow they have to have learned all the skills themselves, so we can be practicing their teaching the skills Tuesday. Starting Wed. a team of us will go to a different camp each day to teach the skills to a group of 30 "Friends", who are camp residents that HelpAge is paying a small part time wage to be health "carers" . The Friends have about 20 older people in their camp that they look in on each day to provide assistance. I am hoping that we can train 150 Friends before I go this time. I know from the time I spent in the camps in August that we will run in to many Friends that are really challenged themselves not only from the loss and trauma from the earthquake, but every day living in the difficult conditions in the camps , often not knowing where their next meal is coming from for themselves or the older people they are supposed to be helping.
Today Sunday has been a really good day off for me. I went to see my friend Mike, who has been here in Haiti running a big USAID program which has been helping Haitian farmers change to and multiply crops to export. He lives outside of Petionville high up on a hill that looks out all over Port au Prince and the ocean- a breathtaking and awesome site to see so many clumps of camps. This afternoon, Ndaro and I were invited by Fabbius, our Haitian driver and interpreter from when I was here in August, to his restaurant for lunch. It was a warm and engaging reunion, a great stew, and lively discussion about Haitian politics, Tanzanian Christianity and voudu. We went the "back way" to avoid traffic and had quite an adventure with Claude our driver, who had to make many attempts to get up the muddy rocky dirt roads, winding around hairpin turns with huge deep holes , through little rivers strewn with garbage. Carly (my daughter who shirks over my driving) would have gone crazy. I am now back at the house safe and sound, happy to have had two really fun times with friends, and ready to review for my training tomorrow.

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