Sunday, November 14, 2010

Juliette, my interpreter, was the best ever
Sunday with the nurses

Just finished a good day with the nurses for them to do personal work. They are a tight supportive group to each other now and it has been good to watch their bonds develop. They are pleased with themselves and their new abilities. Today's work was laced with courageous vulnerability, a lot of girl talk, mutual commiseration about fat tummies and how to get rid of them, joking with each other , and playing with Mary Lourde's 8 month old baby , Prince, all of us taking turns with him on our laps. It was a sweet time.
Yesterday's training with more Friends in a camp was a less than stellar day. We were tired, but this group of Friends seemed more spaced out that other groups, and some never really caught on very well at all. That was less than encouraging to me, but it was a good learning tool for the team to see that there can be such variety in the groups that we teach, and concomitantly variety in our results and satisfaction. The one thing that always goes over in every group is the participants leading singing, dancing, sharing of jokes,poems or stories. They also love how it feels to them when a resource settles their bodies. They like knowing about ways of connecting and communicating with their older people, and they always like learning that the reactions that they and others are having in the camps are normal reactions in response to extreme events. When they practice teaching about how trauma affects our bodies, they are very proud of themselves. What continues to be very spotty is their learning the skills themselves. It was discouraging to me not to have made it work better today. I have the disease of all the care providers here- if we don't feel like we made enough of an impact, there is no payoff.
Here is the cholera update: rapidly rising 12,000 cases. Anyone with diarrhea needs to get oral rehydration salts immediately. Since there are no labs in Haiti, it is treated as cholera by clinical symptoms only. If it doesn't work in an hour, they have to get IV fluids and tetracycline. If they are not treated immediately, they can die in 6 hours. Getting people to a hospital is a serious challenge with the traffic here which can take an hour to go 5 miles. If they cannot get better sanitation in the camps, people will continue to be drinking water with fecal contamination, and it will continue to rage out of control. They are distributing chlorine tablets that people can purify water with. I wonder if they will get the US military in here to help with setting up IV's. I don't think there are near enough nurses, nursing students, or doctors here to take care of it. I am living here at the house with all the supplies and a doc, and our water is clean. One tragic thing that happened a few days ago is that a political candidate got on the radio and warned people not to touch anyone with cholera. A man died when people were afraid to take him for treatment. They are trying to counteract this with public service announcements telling people it can only be transmitted through contaminated water. There is a very aggressive tent to tent campaign working to do hygiene and intervention teaching . This country really isn't going to get anywhere without proper sanitation though. Dumpsters and the streets are strewn with garbage. This is a very mountainous country. A good rain or a mudslide washes fecal material into the creeks and rivers. It is not pretty.

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