The Angel Wings International Blog

Our hearts, our minds, our hands for the people of Haiti

May 3rd Angel Wings Medical Team Trip

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A quick video to update you on our latest medical mission to Jacmel during May 3rd through 10th.  We’ll be back real soon to give a narrative of our team’s experiences on this trip…

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Written by Angel Wings International

May 24, 2010 at 11:23 PM

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DAY 7-CUTCO REPS SAY GOODBYE

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In front of our hotel

friends from the hotel

Saying goodbye to Myrlande and Bonite

Our driver

In a search for some related material today, I came across Anderson Cooper’s recent report: “3 Months Later: What does “Better” mean for Haiti?” It’s a fairly appropriate answer for a question I was asking myself during our entire trip.  Even more important is, what will “better” look like 3 months from now?

http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04/09/three-months-later-what-does-%E2%80%98better%E2%80%99-mean-for-haiti/

Below, I’ve interspersed photos of the destruction with some of the most hopeful photos and images of Haiti that we saw on our trip.

Port au Prince

Port au Prince

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Beach

Port au Prince

Port au Prince

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Crack in the road

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Tent City

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Written by Angel Wings International

April 14, 2010 at 7:24 PM

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DAY 6-GROUNDBREAKING

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On our second-to-last day we visited the site Bonite Affriany has been generous enough to loan to Angel Wings as the site of a future hospital. Bonite cut the ribbon and we broke ground for the site.

Bonite cuts the ribbon with the Cutco French Chef knife

Myrlande's plans for the future clinic

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Remember, you can help the clinic become a reality.  Donate today.

Written by Angel Wings International

April 13, 2010 at 7:45 AM

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DAY 6-DISTRIBUTION DAY

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Visit the tent cities.  Packing up all the supplies proved to be more time-consuming than we originally expected.

Myrlande directs Susan, Noah, and Heather on packing distribution kits

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Baby supplies were in high demand in the tent cities, which is understandable.  Imagine changing and caring for multiple babies on the dirt floor of a makeshift tent, in extreme heat, with no place to launder cloth diapers, no wipes, and no baby food.  Susan and Heather worked hard at getting the kits ready for us in time.

Susan and Heather display packed baby supply kits

Everyone took turns helping to fill ziplock bags of rice and other food.

Lindsay Musser and Susan Saunders help pack distribution kits

Carl Drew helps to fill bags of rice

Andy takes his turn filling rice bags

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Noah and Kenndhy display full bags of rice for the distribution

We loaded up the truck with boxes and bags of supplies and food to distribute and drove up the road to the tent city near our hotel.   This was a tent city we passed every day on our way to the clinic.

Noah and young friends from the tent city

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Written by Angel Wings International

April 12, 2010 at 8:46 PM

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DAY 6-CUTCO CREW HELPS IN THE CLINIC

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Before we started on the distribution in the tent city, Myrlande had a few requests for patient care in the clinic.  Once a clinic is up and running, non-medical volunteers can assist with all sorts of simple tasks that will speed things up for the doctors.

Susan takes notes for Myrlande and helps fill out charts

Reginald came in with a foot laceration, Susan helped with his charts and forms

Susan helps prepare Reginald's foot for the dressing

Noah steps in to help Myrlande bandage Reginald's foot

Feeling better

The next part of this post is for those of you who are Cutco fans.  Check out what Myrlande used to fix our dinner that night.  Yep, that’s right. Cutco in Haiti.

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Next post: Distribution in one of Jacmel’s tent cities

Written by Angel Wings International

April 12, 2010 at 6:07 AM

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DAY 5: CUTCO TEAM AND THE GIANT TRUCKS OF BOXES

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After we’d rushed Lele to the hospital, we were able to turn our attention to another task at hand.  Three enormous (and fantastically decorated) trucks were backing up into the CLC, nearly bursting with cargo.

Three huge trucks like this one full of boxes pulled up to Christ Love Center

The unloading efforts were massive.

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Think of how exciting it is to receive a package you’ve been waiting for in the mail.  Then multiply that into 3 huge trucks the size of a house full of boxes.  Understandably, the delivery was cause for great excitement.  The workers’ response was celebratory and playful: assembly lines formed to move the boxes quickly and the young men were practically singing as they unloaded and organized.  Boxes without breakable contents were merrily tossed and caught, and there was lots of laughter.  The energy of the whole group was palatable. Andy and I were struck by the enthusiasm and energy.  This crew of thirty or so young men could get massive amounts of work done with the right organization.  Haiti is full of natural resources, but its best resource is unarguably its brilliant and irrepressible youth.

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The woman responsible for all this is named Isabelle.  She lives in Connecticut and has been able to convince her entire town to adopt Jacmel.  They focus on the town as a “sister” or “partner” town and have plans for building a school in the near future.  The trucks hold 1200 boxes of supplies, and all are from Isabelle’s connections.  What if more US towns would adopt Haitian towns like Jacmel?

Isabelle

The Cutco crew joined in to help.

Heather and Susan help unload the boxes

Susan and Andy

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Andy and Noah enjoy the playful attitude of the staff

Susan and one of the hired unloaders

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Noah helps unload the trucks

Susan and Heather help unload

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With the help of the Cutco team, we were able to unload more than 1200 boxes of clothing, gatorade, food, and emergency supplies into the CLC for storage and later distribution.  A later post will show the distribution of some supplies in a nearby tent city in Jacmel.

Next post: more clinic work

Written by Angel Wings International

April 10, 2010 at 1:37 PM

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Day 5-EMERGENCY PATIENT: CUTCO TEAM sees firsthand what full hospital services could mean for Jacmel

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Post By:  Lindsay Musser

On Day 4 one of the last patients in the clinic presented our most serious case yet.  His advanced asthma attack was nearly overlooked because his mother was so quiet.  “Eskize mwen,” she said to Heather (“Excuse me” in Creole) and with a wave of her hand, she motioned toward the little boy in her arms who was having trouble breathing–since last evening!

I’ll never forget how easy it would have been to miss that silent, limp little body in his mother’s arms.  Thank goodness Heather was insistent that Myrlande take a look.  The little boy’s eyes were half-shut and beginning to roll back in his head, and his little belly heaved quickly with breath after helpless breath.

Asthma case on Day 4

“Lele” (the boy’s nickname) needed a nebulizer immediately, and it instantly became VERY clear how important our organizing work in the clinic storeroom had been.

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At this point all the doctors on our team had gone back to the states and Myrlande was the only nurse on duty.  Myrlande called Dr. Robert to confirm the diagnosis-the boy needed the nebulizer to be set up, a shot of Epinephrine, and other care all simultaneously–and since we had just packed up the medicine to prepare the CLC for other use that afternoon, someone had to find the medication–quickly–while Myrlande found and set up the nebulizer.

Andy, Myrlande, and I tore through boxes with an urgency I’ve never used before.  When Myrlande finally found the nebulizer she scrawled “Epinephrine” on a piece of paper and said, “Find this! It’s in a little vial on one of these shelves!”

Despite the careful labeling we had done earlier, there simply wasn’t enough room for all medication to be clearly placed and accessible at all times, especially when we had to pack up and move quickly every time we finished a clinic in the borrowed space.  Myrlande rushed out to the patio to care for Lele, leaving Andy and I to find the vial.  As we scrambled through shelves of bottles, wishing we were medically trained, Andy glanced at me with wide eyes.  “What if we don’t find this?” He asked, first with his eyes and then out loud.

I swallowed and continued scanning the bottles, struck by the significance of a tiny little misplaced bottle.  The fragility of human life, so easily forgotten in the States, was made prominent daily in the Hatian experience.

Andy comforts Lele in Creole

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One of the most urgent decisions was whether to continue to treat the boy in the clinic setting or to take him to the Jacmel hospital.  In the US, this would have been an easy decision: in Jacmel, it was not.  It was hard not to think about Myrlande’s story of the electrician who had died of the wrong injection at the hospital.  The boy was not stabilizing properly: if we took the time to move him to the earthquake-ravaged hospital, would his condition worsen on the way?

Finally Myrlande found the Epinephrine, and, on the phone with Dr. Robert to ensure accurate dosage, administered the medication.  It took about 6 calls and 3 phones to get through to the US, by the way.  Life can so often hinge on the simplest of technologies!

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For a while, the boy seemed to stabilize, and Myrlande talked to his mother about the importance of bringing him in for care immediately next time.  Had he been treated the night before, his case would have been much less serious.  As he gripped the little inhaler we’d given him, I couldn’t help thinking of how many kids in the states use those on a daily basis, and how most of them have had the chance for more education on asthma than was available to this mother of seven!

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After a few minutes, though, Lele was unstable again.  Myrlande put him back on the nebulizer.

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Final decision: take Lele to Jacmel.  Perhaps the hospital would be able to do more for him. Noah carried the boy to the CLC Jeep.

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Our driver and Myrlande pulled away with Lele and Carl in the car, and all the rest of us could do was hope.

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Jacmel needs this new hospital.

Written by Angel Wings International

April 9, 2010 at 7:58 AM

Posted in Uncategorized