Cochabamba, Bolivia

Cochabamba, Bolivia
Cochabamba, Bolivia

Monday, February 1, 2010

Last Week's Experiences in Haiti

We left late on Monday (January 25) for the second week of medical clinics in the tent cities of Port au Prince. We had a team of 15 with us from the University of Massachusetts and others from Connecticut, Maine and California. In addition, a group of Dominican physicians and volunteers joined the team to help us organize and work in the clinics.

As we loaded our 50-passenger tour bus at the hospital, we were told that we would soon be switching buses because a different bus was responsible for taking us to the border. When we arrived to the location for the bus switch, the new bus had not yet arrived. We had to wait about 45 minutes for its arrival and then moved all of our bags before departing again for the border. A small delay, but we were on the way!

Just outside of Santo Domingo, an engine alarm sounded on the bus and we pulled over only to discover that the fan belt had shredded, and we had to wait for yet another bus to be driven to us from La Romana so that we could continue our trip. This time we had to wait three hours! By about 5:00 a.m. the second "new" bus arrived and, once again, we switched the bags and continued on our journey.

With several hours left to drive, we realized we would miss the border crossing with security. Although we wondered how that would be, it posed no problem. Over the next few hours with stops for bathroom breaks and coffee, the traffic became thicker and after so long on the road, several began getting car sick. We eventually left one doctor with a pastor friend of ours in Jimani because he was too sick to make the rest of the trip into Haiti.

Two hours more and we finally arrived where we were staying in Haiti. Although the reconstruction of the building still was not finished, we went ahead and loaded up some trucks with our medical supplies and headed out to our first clinic. (Several were praying that our "home away from home" would be finished by the time we returned!) After seeing over 200 patients the first day in a tent city with more than 2000 people (which had doubled in size since our visit the previous week!) we returned to the dorm to find it freshly painted and cleaned. It was a sight for sore eyes and tired bodies! A construction crew worked all week to make new bathrooms for us and to make sure that we were as comfortable as possible. The cooks from the mission in La Romana were with us to make sure we were all being fed.

The second day, I worked with an ER doc from UMass to triage patients in the tent city of Da Da Dou in Del Mas 3. She and I saw several cases of pneumonia in kids as well as a lot of malnutrition. This tent city had also doubled in size and was home to several thousand people. One of our American nurses had a cardiac problem during the clinic and, with the help of the Haitian police, we were able to transport her to the University of Miami field hospital at the Port-au-Prince Airport. When we walked into the hospital, I saw a familiar face - a surgeon I worked with in Limbe, Haiti but hadn't seen in over 12 years! Dr. Mike Sheehan yelled my name across the tent and we smiled as we laughed at how strange it was to meet again like this. He helped to make sure that our patient was well and had the medicines she needed, and then helped to coordinate future care that we might need at their hospital. While we were there they found out they were out of Rocephin and, wouldn't you know it, we had several thousand dollars of Rocephin back at the compound that we weren't using! We told them we would bring it and they were very happy! We returned to the hospital the next day with the medicines and also brought wheelchairs with us that were very welcome. We traded these supplies for our much needed vitamins.

The next day we saw over 200 patients again and on the final day we saw 300. Overall, we saw almost 1000 patients in four days. I had several meetings with important figures that want to help with our work as well as making connections with medical facilities and supply centers. It was an amazing and tiring week for all.

We return to Haiti again tonight (February 1)with another large group of 50+ people. We will continue to run medical clinics and do food distribution. (In the photo at right, Pastor Bob Beaumont is delivering much needed food to a family.) Over the next several weeks, we still need doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to help fill the needs of our medical clinics. If you are able to help in those areas, please contact Angela Sudermann ( Your prayers and financial support are also still very much needed. If you are interested in donating funds to this project, please share your gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering through an American Baptist Church (with "Haiti relief" on the memo line) or give online (click here). Another way to donate is through the mission hospital in La Romana (click here) Please continue to support this work that will build bridges between the DR and Haiti as well as uplift those who are so desperate to know you care!

Many blessings,


  1. I just want you to know that people are reading and praying and supporting you and those you are helping. Hang in there, Kristy! You're serving very well! John Baker, Pastor, FBC Columbia, MO

  2. Hi Kristy, Matt Wolcott here in NH.

    My mom (Donna)just forwarded me your blog link, what wonderful and real work you and the team are doing in Haiti! God bless each of you and may you continue to make a REAL difference saving the lives of so many Haitians. Be well.

  3. Kristie, Please know that you are in our prayers! We are working stateside right now with our missions group Haiti relief effort. We return in March.

    May God Bless you and keep you all safe!

    Sunshine Leach

  4. May God bless you and keep you at all times in this hard work you are doing in His name. I pray for good health and good constitution for you that you can withstand the rigors of a time such as this.

  5. Know that we lift you up in prayers from Needham(MA)