Friday, August 19, 2011

Three Lovely HIV+ Babies

Wow what a day! Everyday in Haiti is an adventure and today was no exception. I packed my bags last night because I knew I was heading off to Kenscoff this morning, which is where the other orphanage of FEJ is located. The two locations cannot be anymore opposite from each other. Lamardelle is always scorching hot and in Kenscoff, which is high up in the mountains, is always cold and wet. I was actually really looking forward to going, not just for meeting the children, but also for the cool weather. My body was rejecting the hot sweating nights and it was good to get some fresh air. So we left at around 9:30am this morning and as usual traffic was horrible. Traffic is always horrible in Haiti, not just due to the overcrowding of cars and people, but also due to the fact that people are walking on the streets, there are market stands everywhere, UN posts in many corners, round-a-bouts that have no order, no street lights, tap-taps constantly stopping and going, people going in the whole direction, and oh yeah, just the sheer fact that there is no such thing as following the laws of road. People can do whatever they want in the streets and no one will bat an eye. I think I’ve seen cars in all kinds of directions that you can imagine on a “supposedly” one-way street. It does make driving interesting and I think that’s why Haitian drivers are so alert and have the reflexes of a cat here, because it’s doge or be hit pretty much. So Jedonne, the Lamardelle driver, first took us to Croix-de-bouquet to drop Sandy, IT guy, off and then to a random National gas station to pick up a package from a police man, and then we were off to the Delmas 41 office. So I’ve gotten used to the idea that when we make a trip anywhere, there will always be multiple little stops along the way, because everyone carpools here. Which I think it’s great and it makes the car ride that much more fun. So I was dropped off at the Delmas 41 office and ended up waiting there for 3 hours, when the driver was suppose to pick me up in only 30min top. Ha. Yeah, that’s Haiti, got to learn how to catch curveballs for sure. Although I was extremely hungry, I still had a great time chatting with the security guard there. It was just him and I at the office for quite a while. His name was Juselle and he has three children, 9, 6, and a 2 year old. He told me all about the different types of fruit trees in Haiti and we even went Cherry picking in the back yard. Then another driver, Shaldo, came and dropped off an auntie and three very sick HIV+ babies that just came back from a visit to the hospital. Apparently I was to take the three babies back to the Kenscoff orphanage. So we waited for another hour before Roberto finally showed up with three other people. It was Vanessa, the Duncan’s daughter, and her two daughters, Jennifer and Laurie. (The little girl was super excited that we had the same name, hehe. ) So we got everyone in the car and just before putting the babies in there, one of the babies had massive diahhrea and had to be changed. The auntie and I quickly changed him and cleaned up to put him back in the car.

So picture this…two car seats with 8 month olds in them, one on each side of me, and then me in the middle, holding another 1 month old in my arms. Then there were three girls in the back, sitting safari style, while there was another very pregnant Vanessa in the passenger seat with Roberto driving. It was quite a sight, and that was not all! We had everyone’s suitecases and bags all stuffed in empty spaces in the car and loads of medication for the children back at the orphanage. Then, on the way to Kenscoff, we finally stopped to get something to eat at around 4pm. Everyone was starving…..We ended up stopping at McEdol, which is like a Haitian McDonalds apparently??? Ha. So me, being a vegetarian, found myself starring at a menu loaded with all different types of meat and fish products…yeah. So luckly the lady said they can make a vegetarian sandwich for me. We waited and waited, and turns out the sandwich makers had forgotten our sandwhichs. Then when it was finally done, there was ham in my sandwich. We told the lady and she was like, yeah that’s a vegetarian sandwich. Ha. Yeah, needless to say, she got really mad and offended and we ended up waiting another 15 min for my sandwich. I felt really bad for the whole situation, especially since the girls and babies were waiting in the car this whole entire time. The car was so packed that I had to crawl in and out from the driver’s side in the car to get around. So we all ate in the car and I somehow manage to eat with a 1 month old sleeping in my arms at the same time. Did not get anything on him, so that was good. So this is what goes into a Haitian McDonald’s sandwich: Your choice of meat (or no meat in my case), Emmental cheese slices, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, ketchup, mayo, and Tabasco sauce. It was very good. I also ordered a Grape Fanta to drink. That was exactly what I needed at the moment on this very very hot day in Haiti. I was a happy girl and my stomach was even happier.

When we finally got to the Duncan’s house, everyone was exhausted. For me, dealing with three sick babies was a lot, since we had limited cleaning and changing materials in the diaper bags. Two of the babies threw up twice in the car and both had massive diarrhea. Let me tell ya, it is not easy trying to change a baby in a really bumpy car ride and with two other babies coughing and crying at the same time. It was a challenge, but I did it! Apparently it is very common for the babies to throw up during the car rides to Kenscoff. I mean, I don’t blame them, 3 hours of safari like roads….yeah, that’ll do it for anybody. So I was left in the car with the babies, since I am staying at the orphanage with the kids. It was the cutest thing, the babies all looked at me with these huge watery eyes and when one starts to fuss and cough, the second follows, and then the third follows, it never fails. Somehow, they were all insync. We all headed down to the orphanage and I handed over the babies to the leading nurse there and told her about the different medications the babies all have to take. I got into my room and wow, it is fancy. I am staying at the guest house, that are usually reserved for the adoptive parents that come down to visit. I have a huge room, with a huge bed, and a connecting bathroom. Life can’t get any better than this. I put my things down and went to wash up a little bit. I had all different types of bodily fluids all over me from the babies, just wanted to refresh up again before heading back over to the Duncans. Roberto came back to get me and he came back with a huge truck load of food for the staff and children here at the orphanage. We all started to unload the truck and putting the things away in the kitchen. I got a little peak into the inside of the orphanage and so far, it really reminds me of a wooden cabin in the woods. I mean, really, it is quite like that here. I headed back over to the Duncans for dinner and it was nice to just relax for a bit. I gave Mr. Duncan a much needed massage, he has been so stressed out lately due to the family situations and running the foundation. My hat goes off to him. After dinner, I headed back to the guest house and took a much needed shower! Oh yeah, did I mention, there was HOT WATER!!!! Holy macaronis! I have not had a hot shower since I’ve been in Haiti and that felt really really good! What a difference between Kenscoff and Lamardelle!!!! In Lamardelle, you had to take a cold shower to cool off a bit and here in Kenscoff, it is so cold that a hot shower feels so nice! So I felt like a princess, taking that hot shower and then getting into my long sleeve pajamas. It has been awhile, but the temperatures are so extreme in these two places that I even got a chuckle out of putting on long sleeves. I got into bed and just passed out! No mice tonight….I am ever so grateful!

1 comment:

  1. holly cow! what a day! like riding on rollercoaster. I am glad that you made it.
    you deserve a mice-free night. have a nice sleep my dear.

    love mom+