Our day starts at 7AM with a pick up in a, well, pick-up truck. It has two rows up front, and two bench seats in the back with a surrounding guard rail. It looks something like this.
|Our transportation to the town of Thomassique.|
I'll lose track for a second and give you a bit about Haitian transportation. We have found that it is either done with motorcycles (motos) or some sort of truck or large industrial sized truck/van. We have seen up to 5 people crammed onto a moto at once, three adults and two kids/infants. This is our primary transportation to the hospital. Tara and I on the back of one bike, Liz as a solo rider with her driver. No one wears a helmet in town. But, they are nice and go slow for the Americans when we are in town. The other mode is something like what we had today, a vehicle of some sort CRAMMED to the hilt with passengers and the like. Some are called 'tap taps' because when you want to get off you tap tap the roof of the truck and they let you out. The best way I can describe what these look like is a London tube on four wheels. People, groceries, chickens (both dead and alive) shoved into the back of a pickup. Now, ours today wasn't quite that bad going, but we were pretty tight coming back. I think moto driver must be the number one occupatiion in Hinche. They are everywhere.
|The clinic/hospital in Thomassique.|
Ah, I almost forgot. Our ride back home included another passenger. Our ride out to Thomassique was 2 hours. The truck continued another hour to take the midwives to another mobile clinic. In their clinic, they saw a mom at term with severe preeclampsia. They started an IV and then waited for the day to end until they could transport her back to St. Therese in Hinche. Here we have a severely preeclamptic mom at term with a long since run out IV bottle riding over bumpy terrain for, what was for her, a three hour ride to the hospital. No monitoring, no mag drip, no functional IV at this point. There really isn't a better way to do it though. If she hadn't had a clinic visit today she may have seized and died at home with no easy way to get help. Who knows how far she came to her clinic appointment. Our midwives today not only have a clinic, but they have the nearest birth center to Hinche. They don't have OR capabilites and don't do high risk, but they told us today that it is not uncommon for women to walk....walk for days in labor or with ruptured membranes to get to the closest birth center! We have so much to be thankful for in our community. We have good roads, good means of transportation, good emergency response...even our friends in the villages have access to LifeFlight or some sort of medivac to get them to good care. We should never ever take that for granted.
I will truly never forget this experience. Even though I don't feel like I made much of a difference today, I know that the memories of this will always be with me. I'll never look at MY house the same. I'll never underestimate how easy we have it with getting groceries! (I asked our translator what was in this one particular donkey pack and he said it looked like supplies and foods that the gentleman had gone to the market for to bring back to his town to sell. The market is 2 hours by TRUCK!!! How long do you think it takes by donkey???) But most of all, I will remember the little kids chasing after us...some little naked boys...all hollering 'Bla! Bla! Bla!'
Tomorrow is a hospital day! I can't wait for that adventure.