Greetings from the lovely Le Gou T Hotel in Saint Marc, Haiti! It was another great day in Haiti! We started out early for breakfast by the pool. All of the students were on time for breakfast, which showed up a bit later than on time. But the fact that it was spaghetti with onions and hotdogs made up for the fact that it was a bit late. And, equally as awesome, it came with bananas. We all enjoyed it very much.
After breakfast we headed back to Grande Saline. Again, it was a tremendously busy and productive day. I will try to summarize for you. The medical and dental team saw over one hundred patients. Dr. Bucker and Professor Hankin were so appreciative of the new technology we were able to bring to Grande Saline. We had portable X-ray equipment and a Cavitron unit (this is a real thing and it is awesome) that really elevated the level of the treatment we were able to provide. The dental hygiene and medical students surpassed all expectation. The tream provided dental exams, cleanings, X-rays, fluoride varnish and extractions. All agree that having Dr. Bucker with us was awesome! Every patient received a toothbrush and toothpaste. We are extremely grateful for the donations that made this free clinic possible.
Team solar made a tremendous amount of progress. We installed two more solar panels and increased our system size by 50%! We now have more power for the school and computer lab. We have expanded the size of our computer lab by five computers, bringing the total to 20 laptops. The students who worked with our amazing Dr. Gay (go ETM Solar Works…bringing solar power to the people!!!) worked very hard on the roof in the hot sun. We have only a small bit of wiring left to do tomorrow to finish the installation.
Dr. Hollister, Schneider and Patrick helped to finish the tippy-tap. The tippy-tap will allow the children to wash their hands, an important step towards preventing respiratory and and diarrheal diseases. Thanks to Kaylin for drilling holes through six bars of soap to hang up! The children really enjoyed learning to use the tippy-tap.
Several students spent the entire day providing education to countless children. We provided lessons on nutrition, focusing on the benefits of the foods growing in the community garden. We also presented a lesson on germs, clean water and hand-washing. As part of this lesson, we taught the kids about germs by using a Glo-Germ powder and a black light. The children can not see the powder on their hands, which is easily transferred when the kids touch hands, until we shine the black light flashlight on them. It is a way to show them that things they can not see can be present. We encouraged the kids to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating. And speaking of bathrooms, the new bathroom is conveniently located next to the tippy-tap.
We also had a team working at our water system. We reviewed operating procedures with the operators and began making some changes to improve system operation and maintenance. The water system continues to be a critical resource for the community. There is a constant stream of people coming for water. Many community members expressed appreciation for the water system.
And last, and certainly not least, is the community garden. OK, so I am biased because this project has been very special to me…but the garden was truly amazing. We planted on November 6, and the growth is incredible. We have abundant corn, beans, melons, eggplant, bananas and papaya. The corn was well over my head, and there were actual beans! The farmer told me that people in this area had not been planting beans, but when they saw how well our beans were doing, they started planting beans. The garden is very large, much larger than I expected, and should provide plenty of nutritious food for the school children. It was so wonderful to see it thriving.
We wrapped up our work at 4pm and started the long, bumpy trip back to our hotel. Once again, we are so impressed and grateful for our team of students and interpreters. They worked so hard today. Please understand that it is very hot, very dusty, very crowded and many had no break all day. Everyone worked so hard and contributed so much to our projects. After reaching the hotel, we had another delicious dinner and enjoyed some relaxation. Some even enjoyed a swim in the hotel pool. We are meeting for breakfast tomorrow morning at 7am and heading back to Grande Saline for our final day of work there.
Please enjoy these pictures from our day. Bon nwit from Haiti.