Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Volunteers continue to work in port and on shore in Haiti

Today I had the fortune of witnessing fourteen Haitian patients make the transition from shore to the comforts of the Iwo Jima.

I met Vanessa Bernard and Lt. Washington of the Navy on her way back to the UN compound leading fourteen patients from Med Site 1. The number of people meant we’d have to divide up into two helicopters to deliver them to the ship. The lieutenant didn’t speak Creole or French, so I volunteered to accompany her as the translator for the second group.

Vanessa departed on the first helicopter with ten of the patients. About an hour later the helicopter came into sight. We shielded our ears and eyes as it landed in a vortex of wind. We were issued earplugs and goggles and hurried up the aircraft’s ramp to find our seats.

We were in the air before I’d even had time to show the Haitians how to buckle the seat belts. As we flew over the sea I’d expected them to be amazed, but instead they looked nonplussed, as if the ride were a trying experience they’d rather just get done. After a short five minutes of flight and one long, banking turn, we touched down on the flight deck.

After dinner, I went back to the medical ward to check in with the patients I’d seen yesterday. Lubens is doing well, with a blood-soaked but tidy bandage on his temple. Methinks the resulting scar will help him impress the ladies when he gets back.

After playing two rounds of dominoes with six of the guys, I showed my laptop to Bryssainthe Berline, 19, and her 14-year-old sister, who declined to give her name. In a conversation at the landing zone this morning Bryssainthe had ask to hear some of my music, and so the pair flipped through my music library. They especially liked the more upbeat tunes from Gaelic Storm, Little Joy, and Metric.

Project HOPE team doctors Manish Oza and Michael Polifka related how their work continued at Med Site 2 with a high volume of patients. Fortunately, all of the cases were basic, easily ailments such as infections and body pains.

“God was smiling on us,” Manish said beatifically as he showed me a picture on his phone. “He sent us a rainbow after we were done.”

And it hadn’t even rained.

Story and photos by HOPE volunteer and PAO, Eric Campbell

1 comment:

  1. Hi Eric,
    Thanks for this beautiful story! Connecting with the kids is the greatest part of being a Hope volunteer...and you captured the essence here. Kathryn, 2010 Pacific Partnership PAO