Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sabbath at Jardin de Mer

Oct 21
The Friday clinic was somewhat helter skelter.  The CURE clubfoot
program has had a pediatric orthopedic surgeon here this week and she
has been here a couple of days including Tuesday and today.  She had
several TALs to do which she did in the clinic as well as castings.
That kept our cast room totally tied up all morning.  I did clinic in
the hall while Frank used our clinic room.  We also had several cases
today.  One was a dressing change on Franz.  I followed the email
advice of a hand surgeon from Ohio.  He recommended transferring the
lacerated tendons to the index finger to the adjacent extensor tendon
to the long finger.  I couldn’t find the proximal part of the extensor
tendon to the thumb so left it for a hand surgeon to deal with.  I
partially closed the wound and put on a wound vac.  I plan to skin
graft the defect in a few days.

Oct 22
Sabbath again – what a blessed relief.  I love the work here and the
interaction with all of the patients and their families, but it is
pretty intense and I really look forward to a day of rest.  Amy and
Nathan had arranged to take a group including the Whitney/Mulder team
and us to a small resort on the Caribbean.  It was a three hour drive.
We all went in a good sized van.  I had a great time talking with
Frank almost the whole way there.  The Jardin du Mer(Garden by the
Sea) is located on a hill which is on a small peninsula that protudes
a bit into the Caribbean.  The views are spectacular both directions.
We went exploring one of the beaches and came upon “The Sloop John B”.
It is a very small handmade wooden boat(cannot) with a handmade
wooden mast, boom and hand sewn sails.  It was much like the boat that
we went out on a few months ago but only about half the size.  It was
very photogenic.  There was a nice buffet dinner prepared for us in
the early evening.  We all had a good time.

Oct 23
I got up early to take advantage of the morning light to get photos of
the scenery. I hiked up the hill a ways and got some great shots of
one of the handmade sailboats coming in from an early morning outing
presumably for fishing.  Steve had also been up early and had gone
down across the road and climbed a different hill with a bunch of
kids.  The rest of the group was up and talking with Bob Anglade, the
owner of the resort.  He is a most interesting man.  He grew up in
Haiti and studied marine biology.  He spent 10 years working in
Africa, mainly in the Belgian Congo where he met Michelin, his wife.
Twenty five years ago he came back to Haiti and started an oyster
fishery where he now lives.  At the same time he acquired the property
where he has built his little resort.  The entire property was barren.
He has planted shrubs and trees on the entire property.  There is
extensive stonework made into retaining walls and patios and the open
air restaurant/bar.  There are 10 rooms that accommodate 18  visitors.
Unfortunately, the oyster business was a failure.  The locals all
harvested and consumed his product before he could get  to it.  He
throws up his hands in resignation and says,”What can you do?”  They
all believe the sea belongs to everyone.  He continues to fish and
that is how he makes his living.  His resort has a 10% occupancy.  His
brother, a well known Haitian author, died in the earthquake along
with a couple of other family members.  Bob told us of the experience
of the one surviving family member who had moments before left the
house to get something from the trunk of her car.  She felt the severe
movement of the earth and watched as the entire house which she had
just walked out of collapsed in a pile of rubble whith her husband and
brother and sister-in-law underneath.  No effort was made by the local
officials to recover the bodies.  Six weeks later, the Canadian
government brought heavy equipment and removed the bodies.  His
brother wrote this great book about Haitian laughter that Bob showed
us.  I hope I am able to get a copy of it.

After breakfast we followed Steve and the kids on the same hike up the
hill that Steve had done earlier.  The view was equally spectacular to
the ones I had earlier.  We had a great time taking lots of pictures
with the kids and each other.  We didn’t have time to try to get a
boat ride so decided to walk as far around the peninsula on the beach
as we could.  We got a lot of really good pictures.  The dozen kids
all came along.  There was a little dugout boat on the beach which had
a mast step.  I had never heard of a dugout sailboat but there it was.
It had fishing nets in it so is obviously still in use.
We presented the kids with a new soccer ball that I had taken with us.
They were delighted and wanted to use it so we headed back to their
soccer field/cow pasture.  It was a lot of fun watching them play.
Several of them were obviously more talented and skilled than the
others.  Steve and I got out with them for a bit and ran around.
Everyone took a lot more pictures.

After settling up with Bob, we piled in the van and headed back to the
hospital.  I spent the entire three hours talking with Steve about
mainly the origins of the universe.  He believes strongly in a literal
7 day creation week.  We discussed a lot of different viewpoints and
the arguments for and against.  The time really went by very quickly.
I really enjoy spending time with him.  He is a quality person.  We
plan to get together and enjoy our passion for windsurfing.

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