When they returned later that day they all were having a very difficult time putting words to what they’d seen- the conditions were unconscionable - but it was therapeutic to talk. I don’t think they knew exactly how many patients were there, but they talked about maybe 10 or 12 individuals they’d met. When they first arrived at the hospital, they learned that all the Doctors and Nurses were on strike and all the medical staff had left the hospital two months earlier after not being paid by the Haitian Government for months.
There were several patients who had been there since before the hospital staff went on strike – still lying in the hospital bed hoping for some attention. At least some patients had family members bringing them food and water, but little help beyond that. It was a very difficult experience for our entire team – so when they were able to provide some medical attention with some of the supplies they brought they did, but the needs were so great and a few patients required care beyond what they could provide at the time so they just made them as comfortable as possible. I know that Dr. Franco has been back to that hospital since, but I don’t know if the conditions there have changed much or not.
While Dr Franco and the others were visiting the hospital that day, the rest of us continued the farming projects and finishing the bunk beds. Amy’s sister, Michelle was a huge help on this trip. Under her guidance, we were able to begin some fruit and vegetable plots next to the house. Michelle shared her expertise she learned while farming similar soil types in Honduras.
That garden had some tough soil, but Michelle’s help really paid off. From my conversation with Dr Franco on 1/24/12, there are now many maturing fruits and vegetable plants that will help to independently sustain the children and staff at the orphanage!