It’s the kids with malaria that really get me. It’s like you want to stop and yell at the universe (God? Someone?) to cut it out, and at least give them a chance! They’re living in absolute poverty, in a tent, they are already weak, malnourished, and small for their age. And now they’ve got malaria too? Come on, stop it!
The kid today…his mom stopped us on the way by her tent and asked us to look at her son with a fever. It was just Peterson (my translator) and I, and this was probably the tenth time we were stopped. But, that’s why I’m here! The kid looked sick and weak. I knew right away malaria was on the top of the list of possibilities. That was in the afternoon, and it was early evening by the time we were able to get back to him with a malaria test kit, and then start medication for him.
By the way – quick aside. Bill Gates is awesome. He took a look at world poverty and said look, a lot of the cause of this is illness, let’s try to hit the big illnesses as hard as we can. And, he’s right. If you’re growing up in a country like Haiti, you already have few opportunities…and then, as your life goes on, when you sometimes get the chance to get some education, or a good job – you can’t do it because your intelligence was damaged from malaria or another illness, or from malnutrition.
So, here I am, back in Haiti after almost a year. The country looks much better, and much more back to normal. I’m running into translators I knew and old friends all around town. Hopital Sainte Croix was supposed to be slow this week, so I was worried I wouldn’t have enough work to do. HA! Last night, I found two clinics where I can help out, by just walking around town. I didn’t even make it to either of them today. The post-op wound checks on the hernia and hydrocele operations from the team that just left turned into wound checks on other patients…and a patient with parotiditis who needed IV antibiotics…and the kid with malaria…and man with a chronically infected hip wound…and the next thing I knew Peterson and I had been going for ten hours straight.