Sunday, November 24, 2013

Moto mundo

Dear Friends: the patient load was light this week because it started with a Haitian holiday on Monday, celebrating the Battle of Vertieres, which was Haiti`s final defeat of the French forces in their fight for independence on November 18th, 1803.  The hero of the revolution, Toussaint Loverture, was deported to France by Napoleon the year before and died the next year in a French prison.  His lieutenant, Jean Jacques Dessalines continued the fight.  The Haitians heavily outnumbered the French, 27,000 to 2,000 on this day and made Haiti the second independent nation in the new world, and the first black republic.  Dessalines went on to be Haiti`s first ruler, naming himself Governor General for Life.  He was assasinated 3 years later by disaffected members of his administration.

end of history lesson

As an amature blogger, I struggle with trying to make these reports interesting to my readers.  My days recently are so filled with cervixes that I wish to spare you much of the descriptive details, although it is a gorgeous universo in there.  Therefore, I try to choose a different topic that you might be interested as a blog feature for each entry.  This time the world of small motorcycles wins the nomination.

Nothing feels better than turning the corner and seeing this vast expanse of sea at 30 mph
As you might have already gathered, I spend a lot of time for a more-than-middle-aged white woman on motorcycles.  It is the only form of transportation unless you are so poor and have to use a donkey or are lucky, rich, or work for a non-profit and drive a car.  Therefore, I am going to try to celebrate the two wheeler in this edition.  There is so much I do not know, and never will, so I am only prepared to give you the perspective from the back end.  Generally I feel very safe on the bikes, now that my former interpreter doesn`t interpret for me, one of his most important roles is getting me, my associates, and all our gear from Anse a Pitres to our destination safely.  To do this, he chooses our drivers with elite discrimination.

The last blog showed me and Yunior, one of my favorite drivers.  He loves me too because we listen to my iPod, one ear bud in his the other in mine, as we roll along.  Everything from Y0Y0 Ma to the Joint Chiefs!  He straps my CO2 tank on to the back of the bike with old strips of inner tubing, they grip really well and seem to trump bungie cords.  There are no gas stations in the region where I work, so along the roadsides everywhere people sell gas in beer, rum or water bottles, all you need is one shot and you're ready to roll.

Fixing a flat by melting some rubber with a pot of fire on the hole, then putting the whole thing in a press
It isn't too fitting for an older woman to ask a pack of young men in deep concentration exactly what they are doing or how precisely it is done, so many questions remain unanswered about flat tire repair.  There is really nobody or nothing you can not carry on a moto under 180 ccs.  My favorite sensation, which I hear before I see, is the guy on the back dragging a dozen or so 20 foot pieces of rebar along the concrete

guess he just came from a big box store

Returning briefly to the reason that I am here in Haiti:  Jeanne and I have done 108 cervical screenings and 8 cryotherapy treatments.  The cost to you, dear donors, has amounted to $5.21/patient.  Both the women we treat and the communities and health centers where we are received are happy to see us and very grateful for the service.  Jeanne has now done over 100 visual inspections and 6 cryo treatments, well on her way to working independently.  We will be doing a training of doctors, nurses and community health workers in the spring in Anse a Pitres, in the newly constructed maternal-child wing, financed by Arquitectos sin Fronteras.

42 year old mom with dysplasia too severe to be treated with cryotherapy.  We had to send her to the new University Hospital of Mirbalais, built and run by Zanmi Lasante/Partners in Health which has a wonderful cancer center.  Your donations paid for her transportation, a 5 hour bus ride.   

As I finish this entry, I am back home in the cold north.  Thank you, faithful readers, and will reenter this wonderful web again next spring, si bondye vle (God willing).  Much love, Louise

Friday, November 15, 2013

from Jacmel to Jehovah

                                        Any Jungians out there willing to interpret???

A salute to my beloved friends and family back home with an intelligence (?) report and mission update.  Due to who-knows-what snafus in the techno infrastructure, I´ve had a ·$%& of a time trying to get the pictures up and this off to you. I wrote the text last week.

November 8th, 2013
It´s been a wonderfully productive week working towards getting the clinic up and running in Marjofre. Last Sunday Phil and Patrick appeared in Pedernales, president and vice prez of the non-profit we have started to help move the clinic along, Hispañola Health Partners. We had a meeting with the department head of the Ministry of Health of Haiti (MSPP) of the SE province which was surprisingly positive.  After 3 hours on motorcycle and 6 hours in car to get to Jacmel, we agreed we would be happy if he were just THERE and didn´`t blow us off.  Instead Dr Ted Lazarre was enthusiastic and supportive and after we abide by a few not-to-impossible-to-fulfill requirements, we can expect them to partner with us in the upcoming year or so.  That would help enormously in making the clinic eventually self-sufficient; MSPP would provide a doctor and nurse, a network of trained community health workers and the usual services (or lack thereof) of family planning, maternal child health, vaccines, TB, HIV and cholera prevention.  We would continue with salary incentives to keep good staff, as well as supply the clinic with meds, equipment and a functional lab.

From left to right, Fritz Regis (founder of clinic in Marjofre), Phil Wolf, president of Hispañola Health Partners, me, Patrick Howell, Vice President of HHP after a victorious meeting with MSPP

Passing through Port Au Prince for the first time, we buzzed along the outskirts as fast as possible en route to Jacmel. Both hammered by the earthquake, i can´t say either place looks any worse than many other metropoli in the developing world, the usual piles of rubble seem like nothing out of the ordinary.  Jacmel however is a seaside town of distressed majesty, gorgeous colonial buildings in various stages of crumble with salt air and intoxicating breezes/stenches coming off the freckled light blue bay.


Phil, Patrick ad I stayed there for an extra day and Fritz and his jeep returned to PAP to pick up a team of Haitian dentists who were packing themselves, folding dental chairs and all their equipment to do 3 days of consults in Marjofre.  We 3 had to deal with the devil to get to Marjofre by sea, which looks painfully close on the map, but the roads are barely donkey worthy.  So at 7:30 pm in the drizzle we sought a ride to the dilapidated port of Marigo, where we would take a 6 hour open boat ride up the coast to Grand Gosier. (I have taken you there before a few times).  The only wheels we could secure were motos just a hair above mo-peds, my and Patrick´s driver had to use my headlamp for a headlight. When we got to the boat, which is a hollow hulled wooden structure resembling the Nina or Pinta without any sails, I expected to see it cargoed up to the gunwales with charcoal and plantains but instead the hull was lined with bodies stem to stern, eerily reminiscent of those slave ship drawings. Chuckles ripped along the curled up bodies as they watched the blans stumble their way on board with their enormous backpacks and clumsy feet. When it started to pour, the mates covered us all with a huge tarp under which you could hear a symphony of snoring, gurgling, wheezing, coughing an whistling of passengers in different stages of sleep.  I stood up (there was no more lying room unless I wanted to get really friendly) with my umbrella sheltering me from the storm and watched the sky change from passing clouds to a packed house of stars, then a second light-show below as the phosphorescence was showing off as the wake broke off the side of the boat.  The captain sang as he steered the boat in full darkness, creeping along the shoreline, never more than 40 feet away from the white rocks, cacti and thornebush scrub that was emitting this warm fragrance of butterflies, herb, woodsmoke and dried fish.  A mystery mix of life unknown.
                                        The fleet waiting for nightfall in Marigot

                                                 Agwe, voodoo god of the sea, watched over us
We eventually reached the long wharf of Grand Gosier at 3 am and were greeted by our moto taxis who we presumed were going to bring us up the steep 8 km road to Marjofre where some comfy beds awaited us.  But alas the road was too wet and we would have to wait, and anyway, a young woman in town was having a hard time giving birth to her first baby and they had decided I was going to help with that before I realized I´d dropped my flipflop into the deep water while trying to get off the boat.  The mariners fished out my flop expertly and I was on my way up the cliff to the village.   The 17 year old girl´s water had broken 24 hours before and her labor was ¨piddly´¨ as I think they used to say, 35 years ago when I worked as a midwife.  Yet she was well dilated and almost ready to push, so I told her to walk outside for a while, meanwhile we hung our hammocks on nearby porches and tried to catch a few zzzzs.  The baby´s heartbeat was great, so there wasn´t much for me to do, but ¨let God.¨ We left at dawn and her labor had picked up, I later found out she had the baby at 5 pm, in the company of an ancient matron or lay midwife. 

We only stayed in Marjofre long enough to meet with the local clinic committee and see the dental and medical clinics going full swing, using a roaring generator for electricity and lugging water from the cistern.

Thanks to many of you, hundreds (don´t have the count yet) of dental and medical visits were done Nov                                                   7, 8, 9th in our rustic clinic in Marjofre

Over the weekend I went to visit some old friends in Las Matas de Farfan and Elias Piña, along the Haitian/Dominican border, where I worked years ago.  I visited the priest from St Teresa de Jesus, a jolly soul from Wisconsin who has been there for years.  Just like a Dominican, he rips out his spanish in spitfire speed, all full of jokes and colloquialisms.  In the same way he is supernaturally in touch with the community´s needs, and among thousands of other amazing things he has organized in the community during the last 25 years he has been there, his parish recently finished a vocational school for 432 high school students, in a former mansion of Trujillo, the notorious dictator, mowed down in the early 60s.
El Jefe was more prone to violating than educating young girls
On the 20 mile ride back to Las Matas de Farfan, our ¨carrito,¨or jalopy crammed with passengers, first got retained for 30 minutes because we were carrying some contraband garlic.  I saw a few 100 peso notes pass hands with la guardia and we were on our way.  Suddenly, at 50 mph the hood of our car flies up and hits the windshield, already worse for wear, now cracking it into a dizzying roadmap of crooked lines, brakes squealing, zero visibility.

I´ll give 3000 pesos to anyone who finds an intact windshield in a public vehicle in this country

a hip shot from the moto of the high rise tombs here in Haiti

Pretty grateful to Jehovah when I arrive alive, tank and all

November 15th : I just finished doing a whole bunch of cervical screenings in the mountain town of Thiotte, more later, much love and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSIE !!!!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

washday and other activities

Laundry day in center Anse-a Pitres
Last Sunday I decided to stop being a princess and do my own laundry.  This created quite a spectacle as you might imagine, as everyone in this town assumes blans yo (white people) have maids at home to do everything for them.  But I was surprised by the complexity of the routine.  You head down to one of the raging canals that run off the mountain above town and zig-zag through every neighborhood.  People wash themselves there, kids play, and that is our source of water for the house (I drink from a sand filtered vat).  You bring 3 big pans, your kids and a little chair to sit in.  You step into one of the chilly canals, being careful because its slimy and slippery underfoot.  What a rush during the heat of midday!  You fill the pan with water, being careful it doesn't pull you and itself down the canal with the force, and then you scrub each piece of clothing with a yellow bar of soap.  Rinse each piece one by one in the canal.  Sometimes you have to run after a escaped pair of undies, catching it 30 feet down the street.  By now most of the kids in the neighborhood are watching you, rippling with giggles.  You fill another big pan with fab and repeat the process.  For white items you use the third pan, mixing fab and bleach, letting it sit for 20 minutes.  Then rinse and soak for a few seconds in indigo, a blueing that apparently really gets those whites bright.  You gather up your stuff and your little chair, and head home to hang the load.


The beach of the maleconcito of Pedernales
There isn't much good to remember about Hurricane Sandy which ripped through here a year ago, but I was amazed this year to go down to the beach in the Dominican border town where I enjoy the luxuries of running water, TV and internet, to also find the beach that had always been covered with impossible stones for barefoot walking, was covered with a lovely, thick layer of sand for as long as the eye can see.  These fishermen bring in red snapper, eel, conch, lobster, crab and plenty more.  The maleconcito is dotted with trailers that put out their own tables, chairs and domino boards and play a version of "battle of the bands" as they blast music from their own sets of megaspeakers.  Fantasic way to end the day: cold beer, soft breeze, brilliant sunset, ka-ka phony....
Haitian fishing nets made with floaters from old pieces of flip-flops

He WAS born yesterday

I'm enjoying working back at the clinic this week, picking up where I left off 6 months ago and seeing a usual mix of pregnant women and runny noses, anxiety reactions, dizzy spells and a few VIA (cervical screenings) in between.  There is no doctor here for the next week or so - we are an army of sisters holding the fort.  Yesterday a typical Haitian country girl went into labor and was groaning the usual "mezami,"  "manman mwen," "bondye" (wow, mama, good God) when I heard her clearly say "shit, man!" several times over.  Who says America is not a great exporter??  Her water broke early and it was stained with meconium, or baby poop, which is not a great sign.  We could not hear the baby's heartbeat as she labored along, although with no 02, incubator or possible chance to have a caesarian, you truly just "let God."  The baby came out not breathing and we sucked gobs of brown-stained secretions from its little nose and mouth, feet and hands looking liked they'd been dipped in "indigo."  Miss Leana, the nurse with most experience (over 20 years, I guess), gently took the helm and began pumping its tiny chest a few times with her fingers and then flexing its little body back and forth as if making it do sit ups. 5 minutes of this, as well as the upside down hanging and tapping its feet, and you see the results!

Jeanne doing "depistage," or visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid (VIA)

I'm encouraged about the progress of my grand plan to teach VIA to several of the clinic staff in Anse-a-Pitres when I return next spring.  With the help of other sister organizations that are doing this around the world like Grounds for Health and Basic Health International, I have begun to collect some materials in kreyol, French and Spanish and think about a curriculum that will work here.  The people here are excited to learn and now Jeanne has done almost 50 herself.  She will be the supervisor of the project once people are trained and the equipment is provided, and will make sure that at least 1000 women will be screened each yera at each site.  My goal is to teach it in three major posts in this rough, remote rural district; Anse-a-Pitres, Thiote and Belle Anse over the next two years.  Many of you have helped make this a reality - avek lanmou, Louise 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Making contact

The open air Pedernales cinema has known better days

Bonjou mwen zanmi yo ,or 'hi friends' I returned to this foresaken bordertown a few days ago, feeling stragely at home, far less stunned by the heat, noise, absurdity etc that hits an innocent where it hurts when he first arrives. Many old friends and familiar places, and always, the delicious 'fria' or ice crested Presidente beer at the end of the day to help me study war no more!
My Hunter Thompson imitation

I still feel a little 'pants down' when I am in the heat of the battle, trying to speak in both spanish and kreyol, mixing them up incomprehensibly - except to my Darling nurse Jeanne who understands me in any language except english - at the same time that I am trying to be an efficient, sympathetic and competent health care provider. Sweating piggishly! I went up to the mountains with Jeanne to do some cervical screenings for the last 2 days, as we had been invited there the last time I was in the región. We caught a ride up there in a CARE vehicle, and the driver, a friend of Jeanne )who knows everyone), floored the thing, 50 MPH over the road of heavy rock, a nice new jeep getting beaten like a criminal, spitting stones the size of cantelopes in its wake.
Your CARE dollars going to a good cause
We made it there in good time but the clinic there is under construction so we had to set up in a little community center across the Street. Apparently the community health worker did not really do her job alerting the women, because no one knew we were coming, so we had to scramble to find someone to walk around town with a megaphone, which had no batteries. So after paying a guy for the batteries and sending him on his way with incentive pay, we were in business. We saw 15 women up there and I had plenty of time to spend teaching the technique to Jeanne, who will eventually be the supervisor of the cervical screening Project when I hand it over to the Haitians after the trainings over the next year. Banane is a funky, grimey town. The only thing I really like about it is its river and surrounding canyon which is gorgeous, a 5 minute walk out of town. I took a dip in the super swift current at dusk. I needed to get ready for a klonapin night, where I was sharing a lopsided matress with gray sheets in a tiny filthy house with 8 other people. One of them was this 11 year old boy with Down's who walked around butt naked and was fascinated by everything I did and had. He mumbled incomprehensibly and danced provocatively with the pole on the front porch. Thank God I had a headlamp to stumble my way over the mounds of broken cement block in the front yard. No electricity anywhere. Anyway, I slept like a baby. The next day the ding-dong that I paid to walk around with the megaphone apparently left town without finishing the job, so only 5 women came yesterday.

I get frustrated and disheartened when people do nothing to help themselves as a community. The lack of that spirit here comes in painful pulses, interspersed with inspirational, tireless giving. My friend Peter, with whom I live thinks that all Haitians need to find God, because otherwise they are not good people by nature. Hummmmm. Right now there is a lot of unrest between the borders. Apparently the constitutional tribunal of the DR just finalized a case that strips citizenship from offspring of non'residents, even if they were born here, or their ancestors were born here, trickling all the way down to when their original relatives entered illegally. This brings back ugly images of the time of Trujillo. laws from 1929, when thousands of Haitians or those dark enough to look like one, were slaughtered. There's a great article that Vali just sent me, Aparteid in the Americas. Are you Haitian?. I understand of course that you can not let rivers of poor, needy, unemployed, illiterate people with their 10 children flow freely across the border and get free services from the DR that suffers from its own poverty. That's why Peter and I have these philosophical conversations about how Haití can help itself become a better place to stay. We and the rest of the international community, my my My camera charge quit before I got to Banane. I hope to send a bunch of photos in my next chapter. Many, many thanks for all the help and interest you have offered. I always tell my women patients that their sisters in the US sent the service. bye bye, Louise

Monday, April 22, 2013

The work, the wandering, the widening lens

The Work

Salutations!  If you read my last entry, the second cryogun arrived in the capital a week after my other one gently exploded,  and after being held in customs for 3 days, either because of tariffs or due to the fact that it looks like some kind of space-age weapon of destruction, I personally escorted it on the 7 hour bus ride back to the border.  When I finally screwed it to the tank of CO2 as we were loading all our stuff on motorcycles for the hills, I pulled the trigger and some nice frost appeared on the tip, GOAL!!!!! I have to remind myself not to get too "clinical" with you all, or God forbid, descriptive, when I talk about the 197 gynecological exams I did on the women of the greater Anse-a-Pitres region over the last 2 weeks.  I will leave you instead with the facts; I screened 197 women between the ages of 30-55 for cancerous signs of the cervix, treated 6 of them with cryotherapy, checked all of their breasts for lumps and bumps, uteruses and ovaries for abnormalities.  In general the women of this region are in remarkable shape despite having up to 12 children, most of them born at home alone or with a local "untrained" midwife, no running water and challenging hygenic facilities.  Although I was without lab tests to check for sexually transmitted diseases,  I saw very few clinical signs of anything pathological, and luckily nothing I would judge suspicious for HIV infection.  I was told by several Haitian health care workers that the women loved getting a comprehensive GYN exam;  they are concerned about what is going on inside them, and have a very limited concept of their anatomy, disease processes, etc so fear reigns as the imagination soars.  A number of them we found had fibbed their age in order to be checked!  Alison Parker, a childhood friend who is a nurse practitioner from Vermont,  accompanied me on the last week of my journey, we had a great back and forth on clinical impressions, she was welcome company and a good road warrior.

I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Robert Peigne, a well-trained, young, bright, compassionate doctor from the region I have known for several years now who did hundreds (I lost the count) of primary care consultations at the same time as I did the cervical screenings; your generous donations helped pay his expenses as well as for the medication we brought with us to the boondocks.  He encountered the usual array of hypertensives (many), rashes, gastrointestinal problems.  No cholera cases, no malaria or dengue, although we hear it is around.  Presently the Ministry of Health is on a campaign with USAID to treat everyone for worms and filariasis, which is caused by a mosquito borne parasite that invades the lymphatic system mostly of the lower extremities and can cause elephantiasis.  I have seen pictures of infected men whose scrotums reach the floor!!  I took my dose.
                                           Women waiting for screening in the clinic in Ansapit
Alison doing screenings in Majofre with my beloved nurse, Jeanne

Health care promoter, Jean Robert, distributing pills for vemin ak filaryoz

Me and Alison loaded for an hours' ride up to Thiotte at the end of the day

Me checking for kinks in the cryosystem, testing with an orange, in Thiotte

The Wanderings

One of the places we worked, Banane, has the gorgeous Pedernales River running through it, girls carrying water home from there at the end of the day

I guess goat heads are sold separately in Thiotte

 Le Souvenir, the post-Sandy restored boat that took us through the starlit phosphorescence from Grand Gossier to Ansapit last fall got rammed to bits yet again, now maybe forever disabled

My dream retirement home

I'm glad that typos happen elsewhere than just in this bolg

The Widening Lens

When we got to Majofre to do the final three days of cervical screenings and primary care consultations, I was thrilled to see the scaffolding up on the half-finished clinic and a team of guys skimming a smooth surface of cement on the rough walls.  This is an ongoing project for a few of us gringos and locals who want to realize the dream of having a full time functioning clinic in this remote district.  It was started several years ago and now continues with the funds and moxie of Monsieur Fritz, a Majofre native who worked for 30 years in autobody repair in the Bronx and came back here to live.  We are making progress getting the Haitian Ministry of Health to sign on, as well as forming an NGO both here and in the States to help with supplies, meds and salaries.  Dr. Peigne, who I mentioned above,  is committed to coming back to this roughed out building to do monthly consults, bringing specialists like dentists and optholmologists from Port au Prince.  I plan to return in the fall, stay tuned and thanks for the love, Louise

Clinic entry way

This is the local team of health promoters, leaders and Mr. Fritz (top right)  sorry that my early model i-phone has no flash making it challenging for black facial features at night

Patients waiting in one of the freshly skimmed rooms

Thursday, April 11, 2013

An attempt to do this from another site off my ipad, I think I remember last time itwas not so successful. Getting to quaisi reliable internet is hard now that they have gotten very strict with border passing, I can no long flow freely on my "white face" visa,  my passport has no more pages left from all the stamps that now the guys are stamping over old ones.  I am staying tonight at my nurse's house on the Dominican side, she is a Haitian who trained as a nurse in the DR.  She has been working at our clinic for free for the last 6 months; she would rather not loaf around doing nothing and keeps advancing herself, hoping she'll eventually land something.  She ismy right hand- kind, efficient, energetic.  We back and forth in spanish and kreyol as we greet the women, wipe down for the next patient, add in a few salsa steps as we go.

A few words about this project - cervical screening for signs of precancer is rarelydone in places like this, in fact if you have the ways and means to get a Pap done, or even know what the hell it is, the next challenge is getting the results back, not to mention treatment for people who test positive.  I just read statistics from WHO that said cervical cancer is the number one cancer in women in poor countries; and the death is long and painful, you literally rot from the inside out.  "See and treat" was begun in the 1990s in Asia and Africa, where by using simple white vinegar and a decent light, a trained health care worker could diagnose precancerous lesions on the cervix and treat with cryotherapy.  A John's Hopkins set of very detailed manuals, at a site called,  is a great resource and has been my bible leading up to this trip.  Many of the women here have never been screened, so I decided to begin on the first leg of the journey, improving my skills first and then supplying the clinic with the tools and training to do it themselves.  It has been overwhelmingly popular here, the clinic is crawling with women between 30 and 55 all day long, some waiting for hours.  This is a testimony to a band of health promoters who having been educating and recruting around the neighborhoods of Ansapit since last week.

Everything was perfectly in its place after the 80# tank of co2 arrived tied to the back of a guagua (ramshackel bus), which is what I use to do the cryo.  But the moment I hooked it up with the regulator attached to the cryogun, a torrent of freezing gas shot out accompanied with a undeniable pop and I knew things were changing course - voodoo in a bottle¿¿¿. The new unit the company in CT is sending me has been held up in customs for 3 days for reasons unknown, but i have faith that I'll have it in my hands soon.  The great thing here is that everyone here expects things to screw up so they are totally flexible and forgiving when it happens to you.

This guy came into the clinic yesterday spewing blood from a laceration about an inch long, right through the entire depth of his left nostril.  Talk about body piercing¡ He was sobbing and rather hysterical while I was sewing him up, and I felt sorry for him when he told me between heaves that someone came right up and stabbed him with a branch.  I told Peter, the guy at whose house I live in, about it later and he said, " Oh yeah, I saw that happen, he is a very bad boy.  He was trying to steal pepe (second hand clothes that had just arrived in a big fresh bundle off a truck container) from my mother so my cousin hit him with a rock.  Everyone knows he is a thief."

Spring is Cervical Screening in Ansapit

  • Bonjou enko everyone who might bend their ears my way for a little while.  If you have been following this blog since its creation in February of 2011, you will know that is about the work (I´m a nurse practitioner) and play I have been involved in the twin towns, Ansapit in Haiti and Pedernales in the DR.  I arrived here about 2 weeks ago, this time with a mission to do cervical screenings on the women in Ansapit at the clinic where i have been working, as well as up in the hills.  I arrived in Pedernales after the sweaty bus ride, sticking to dirty naugahide for 7 hours, only to find that my private chaufeur, Meris (below right) had dropped dead of a heart attack 26 days before.  Apparently he had worked all day giving people rides as usual, was relaxing before going to wash up, stood up from a chair, said he felt bad and whap!!!  He had taken me and many of my friends (even Nicolette) on long moto trips to the beach and the mountains,surviving flat tires and other calamities.  He was also gentlemanly and would accompany me and friends to "La Mecca" to dance, the only "pista" that didn´t employ prostitutes.  He was a smooth and easy dancer.  I did catch him swigging from his flask now and then though he never acted smashed and never smelled like alcohol, however now people tell me he drank all day and smoking, well you could tell from his grater quality voice he was a puffer.  Anyway, this first entry is dedicated to him.

TEam of health promoters getting ready to spread the word to the community about the availability of cervical screenings, using simple vinegar and then cryotherapy for postives.

 Me in my usual position for the last 4 days, where I have done about 125 screenings so far.

 Last sunday dinner at my Haitian family´s house, so delicious, better than many restaurants in the States, all made over a little charcoal stove on the ground - beef, beet salad, rice and beans with sauce and salad
 Nasty road rash, motorcycle accidents are our specialty-  luckily people are not going so fast, just skimming the pavement
 I finally have a use for some old curtains I made from African fabric, the women feel relaxed in the exam room where we have colorful drapes and lots of good music off my ipod.

Suddenly half a dozen "washing stations" have appeared in Ansapit, apparently donated by the owner of Taco Bell who came to Ansapit and thought the people needed them when he saw them washin and bathing in the little canals that run through town.  No one is using them yet, there is no water, but someone sitill managed to christen with a little graffitti.