Working in the Community
This past week I got the opportunity to go out into the community for home visits with patients and their families. I was lucky to spend time in working with Altagrace, who is in charge of the community outreach program. This program works to reach families of mentally or physically handicapped children in the community by sending hospital staff to their homes for weekly physical therapy or mental excersize sessions. There, the staff aids and asseses the needs of the child, and provides information for the parents on how to help continue the child's progress throughout the week.
On Tuesday Altagrace and I visited the home of Bradley, a little boy who struggles with mental retention. Bradley seemed scared of me at first- but with a little reassurance soon grew accustomed to my prescence. Altagrace patiently went over concepts with him, using games and excersizes to help Bradley learn shapes, colors, patterns, and other visual concepts.
On Wednesday, the hospital had a visitor from Seattle who was curious to see ICC’s mobile clinic facilities. I tagged along as Robenson, Altagrace, and Pascal (Altagrace's driver) took him to see a clinic in a tent city in the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au Prince. The tent city felt like a condensed version of most average Port-au-prince streets, with women selling snacks and frying treats. All the unpleasant parts were compressed too- the smells stronger, the smoke thicker, and the tight space made for an uncomfortably crowded experience at the clinic. I was underwhelmed when I saw the clinic for the frst timee- barely distinguishable from the living spaces all around us, the tin-walled structure tightly packed into the surrounding structures added to the overall sardine can-like aesthetic of the tent city itself. However, I learned that the clinic's function in the area is indespensible- from providing health education to blood tests, people in the area rely heavily on the clinic's services.
On Thursday, we visited the home of Christina, a little girl with cerebral palsy. Altagrace helped demonstrate physical excersizes for Christina and encouraged her to strengthen her body through movement. Christina was lively and laughing, and seemed motivated by her helpers.
The week was fascinating for me. I got to see many different modes of Haitian life, and met some unforgettable people. The work that Altagrace and her team put into ensuring that members of the community are reached is inspiring and empowering.