It's my first blog, so I am sure they will get better as I get more practice over the course of this next year. I left Minneapolis this morning for my third trip to Haiti to kick off my year (well, 9 months) abroad. We are an orthopaedic surgery humanitarian aid mission led by Pat Yoon (the surgeon). Pat and I will be in Haiti for 2 weeks (double the time of our previous trips). Coming with us for the first week is Tom (surgical tech) and Amy (CRNA) who have both been on previous trips to Haiti. On Pat and my second week, we will be joined by Paige (CRNA and return volunteer), Chris (CRNA and first time volunteer), and Dr. Pat Ebling (orthopaedic surgeon, first trip with the team). We have also gained a new member of our team, Charlene, a emergency medicine fellow from Loma Linda University who is here to help train local ED and hospital staff. There is also another medical team from the Twin Cities here doing a week of hernia repair surgeries. We were all on the same flight and hope to run into each other during our time here!
So we arrived in Haiti after a very eventful morning of traveling. Pat was almost not allowed on the plane due to water damage on his passport. We were able to get on the plane to Miami, had to retrieve our luggage, and recheck in hoping that the American Airline desk workers in Miami would allow Pat to get on the plane to Haiti. Thankfully, we made it after a stressful morning and we didn't lose any bags on the way down! The power is currently working at the hospital, we have fans in our sleeping area...overall, life is good. I feel like I have come back to visit a long time friend.
These were some of my first impressions of Haiti after 4 months of being away: The security seems to be increased. The UN workers here are from Sri Lanka. There are a lot more police cars patrolling the airport and the roads. There are more stoplights on the streets (which are still ridden with deep potholes and lined with garbage and rubble). The garbage situation is slightly improved. On our drive to the hospital, I noticed at least 3 pick-up soccer games. It was fun to see kids out playing. Although it is 90F here, there is a breeze and so the heat is tolerable for now. It also gets dark around 6 pm. Had both a luna bar and a peanut butter sandwich for dinner (I can't say that my dining experience is anything too exciting in Haiti). I have not taken any pictures yet, but as I do, I will post them to the blog and update as I can, power and time permitting.
Thanks to all of you who are following along! Should be a pretty wild adventure this year.