On our first clinic day at the village, we were welcomed with smiles and song. To hear the hymn, “How Great Thou Art” in Creole is absolutely beautiful. The people here learn in song, so their second song was very upbeat with hand motions. The interpreter shared that it was about being healthy and the importance of hand washing.
The Haitian and American dentists quickly set up shop on the porch of the local village health care worker’s place. The breast team took one room for breast health education and exams. A pharmacy was set up outdoors at a table where a doctor visited with individuals seeking care. At another table, cleanliness was enforced while children got their hands washed and their nails trimmed — and possibly polished! The little girls loved that part!
Similar work to this is performed by the Haitian Health Care workers who report back to the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF) clinic in Jeremie. Just as Avera has a system of health care facilities, so does HHF. Their system of trained health care workers know the residents and are educated to care as best they can in unfortunate conditions.
The hilly and mountainous terrain add to the poor conditions. Despite disasters, hunger and poverty, the people here are eager to learn, and they hold on to much pride for their faith, culture and customs.