Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day

The Mellon family is an ongoing legend in Deschappelles. Everyone has a Mellon story and they are all positive. The original Dr. and Mrs. Mellon had compassion, a vision, and the financial resources to make things happen. Their descendants continue to encourage the original vision. I do not know anything about the current financial support but I imagine the annual cost to support the hospital is considerable. Kudus to the Mellon family. Well done!

Hรดpital Albert Schweitzer shows signs of age as everything does over time but there are ongoing renovations and refurbishing of the various facilities. Today I saw men preparing the hospital entrance for new paint. The climate is harsh. The salt water rusts the metal. The sun and the humidity degrade the wood.

When built, the hospital must have looked like a palace to the citizens. You can feel the grandeur of this place. For the time, the facilities were likely "state of the art." Notwithstanding the daily press of illness through the doors, the facility still functions very well.

The grounds are well landscaped. I read that Haiti had no trees because the people cut them down for fuel. Not so here. The trees and shrubs have been well tended and nurtured. The poor and the sick at least look out over the verdant lushness of their native land. The flowers and the music are the happy things about Haiti.

One of the overwhelming aspects of this trip has been my isolation as literally the only white face in a sea of poor and sick black faces. My previous trips to Haiti were with teams of white physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel who worked alongside the Haitian personnel. I expected to see white faces here. This was intimidating at the start but feels much less so now as I end my stay.

The eleven consecutive days I have worked on in the hospital has been just enough for me to figure out how this works, or doesn't work. The nurses and physicians have been very patient with me. Thank goodness for the interpreters.

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