Yesterday the team took a breather, only 162 patients, and finished by 3 o’clock. They all found the relaxed pace at the little church in the lush valley quite refreshing. Some were very slap-happy and a few times just started laughing uncontrolably at the simplest things. The contrast to the dusty city was striking. Simpler, friendly people, slower pace, and lush landscape.
Luis and I did surgery at the hospital and then joined them in the late afternoon where Luis took a large, baseball-sized lipoma from the shoulder of an elderly lady. It was the highlight of the day for many, to see him doing surgery with the patient lying on a blanketed church bench on a dirt floor.
During our morning at the hospital, Luis and I met the Cuban surgeon and team and struck up international relations (offering to let them have both operating rooms after our first hernia repair to save an ‘international incident’?between them and Judith, the head OR nurse, because they wanted to do 7 cases and hadn’t planned on us being there. Judith, I believe, has taken quite a liking to us over our visits and equipment deliveries over the past 4 years together. For our part, we scored some points with the Cubans – the backbone of the surgical service of Gonaives. We will need their support for x-ray services (at their clinic -called Raboteaux) when we return with orthopedic surgery in September.
So ended another memorable day.
Meanwhile, back in Austin, Texas, Annie Carr burned up the telephone wires negotiatrating with the shipping company on either lowering or waiving altogether the storage, or ‘demurage’ charges on our construction container which has been stuck in Port-au-Prince for over a year. She opened up an opportunity with all her hard work to possibly spring it from them and customs, but she said we have to act fast. So I am leaving at 4 am with an interpreter, Robinson, to go to Port-au-Prince to ask God to ‘open up another door’.