Kacy Cox, RN, is blogging about her experiences as part of a Haiti Foundation of Hope medical team. Here is some of her writing:
Since the earthquake, there are fewer places to refer patients who have needs that surpass the clinic’s capabilities. I don’t know if it will ever get any easier, sending someone away with a condition that could be treated in my country, but not in Haiti.
Yet, again, in the past few days, I have seen perseverance to press on, to keep striving with the hope that this life is not all there is. Today, after clinic, I had a long conversation with Wilgens, my translator. He listens well, advocates for my patients, and consistently translates while sitting next to the patient on the table, his arm around them like they are his grandmother or an old friend. Wilgens lives in Port Au Prince. He was on a road walking during the earthquake and survived. He has friends who have died. He spent time in the refugee camp. He now sleeps in a tent and whenever he goes back into a house has a 15 second plan to get what he needs and then get out.
Wilgens is 22 years old and speaks words much wiser than one might suppose given his age. He has known trials. He tells me sometimes we need to just walk through them. He tells me that our life is only a moment (pointing from the tip of his finger to the knuckle), that our only hope is found in God. Wilgens talks for a long time about his people, how much he wants to serve them. He wants to go to university, but he’s not sure what will be possible in Port Au Prince. For now, he saves money. He works as a translator for Medical Teams International and Haiti Foundation of Hope. I tell him I believe that God has a purpose for him with his heart of compassion and aptitude for languages and vision for Haiti. “I hope so,” he tells me, “ I hope so.”
Sometimes the stories of the day start to meld together and I forget which woman had advanced cancer and which had diarrhea for five months. I wonder if maybe these people will slowly start to separate themselves back out as the months go by or if it will just continue to be a banked of remembered suffering. The fact of the matter is I could write a lot of stories that would probably make you very sad, but that is not all this trip is. There is hope. There are big smiles and laughter and lives saved, mega doses of Vitamin A to prevent childhood blindness and young people committed to their country’s future.
There is suffering and there is hope. I think it’s the contrast of the two that makes time spent in Terre Blanche something kind of out of this world.