Team 1 Day 8 Update Kyla

Port au Prince, Jan. 26, 2010, 10:00 PM — Daniel and I spent the better part of an hour talking about patriarchal doctors, the politics of relief work, group dynamics, cross-cultural and intra-team communications, and mental health. A long conversation, but a short update.

Christians from California

This morning Daniel, Fidget, Hexe, Thomas, and Chris hooked up with a large group of Christians from a ministry school in Redding, CA (Daniel thinks they're fiscally sponsored by TBA, transformation development agency, but wasn't sure of the name). Their two doctors, two nurses, and a dozen or so organizational and security staff set up on a local soccerfield. Since this group only had four trained medical staff, Daniel said, "they were happy to have our help."

The team triaged over 75 people today, but only had to treat about 40 — and only five of these had problems directly related to the earthquake. "We were treating normal things that a free medical clinic would be treating" in this region at any time, Daniel explained. "Chronic things, infections, internal stuff which I have very little training in (Daniel's a WEMT), so I was very interested to learn from the doctors and Thomas."

They gave out a lot of vitamins for colds and Tums, sometimes as a placebo — when one kid got Tums for a tummy ache, suddenly every kid within ear shot had curiously similar symptoms. One person had something wrong with his kidneys. The ibuprofen he was prescribed didn’t work, but Thomas, a clinical herbalist, was able to find a specific plant and mash it with sour orange and that cleared it up (for more information, see Ricinus leaf for acute renal colic Grace Keller).

One of the doctors they worked with was a 79 year old man who got his medical license in 1957 and has been practicing medicine for 53 years. Another was an Austalian doctor who worked for years at a rural clinic. The organization practices faith-based healing (prayer) in addition to standard Western medicine. The Australian doctor explained to Daniel that he was skeptical of faith-based healing but when he saw it in action he was convinced enough to quit his job and get involved. Daniel said, "it was interesting learning, tagging along with these doctors and nurses."

Tomorrow the same group will probably go to another location — someplace with more urgent patients. They left late at 10:30am, finished at 3pm, then played dice and hung out while waiting for their ride until 5.

Random updates

* Re: the UN warehouse: "so many supplies but comparatively little effort to distribute them"
* Sara, I'm passing on your contacts via e-mail tonight
* Aftercare team: Daniel was very touched by the work you're doing, hearty thanks.

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