Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Previous Posts Contain Nothing Concerning my Trip to Africa. They were Created from Boredom and My Own Nonsensical Rambling. Read at Your Own Risk.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Eating, Living, Breathing the Madness

So everyone wants to know about my personal conditions down in Haiti; what was that typical day like?

The Food
Gross: by no means was I expecting a feast to be laid out for me, but I wasn't anywhere close to prepared for the spread I was provided.
Breakfast: Well I never actually got to eat breakfast since it was almost always served when I was right in the middle of tearing my hair out trying to figure out how to give my 16 patients their 20 antibiotics in less than 30 minutes with one EMT and 2 med students at my disposal. But was, I often observed, a delightful chicken noodle soup complete with two different kinds of noodles, canned tuna fish, bananas, and Vienna sausages floating on top. Somehow the dry, stale granola bar didn't seem so bad.

Lunch: By far the most superior of the meals, when you could get it, consisted of rice and beans, and a meat. No fresh vegetables, ever, for 17 days straight.

Dinner: The most inconsistent meal of the day. One could expect anything from "spaghetti" (noodles and ketchup), to a bowl of meat, to my personal favorite a soup made with tomato sauce, sardines, and cubed up canned spam. Not that I really got to indulge in thesedelectable treats. I had a talent for arriving in the kitchen just in time to see the final remains get scooped onto someone elses's plate. Luckily, I can forage for food with the best of them. So from our little pantry I created macaroni and cheese from noodles and cannedArabic processed cheese. I made fried egg sandwiches, and pastas. Just try to imagine me making a fried egg with a spatula the size of my face in an iron pan large enough for me to sit in. Comical.
I like to think I got the best spot in the place. The living quarters were in the actual clinic on the second floor. There the room were set up like dormitories. We had to share a bed with someone from night shift, and thankfully my bed partner had the foresight to steal the closet the first night. This was beneficial for several reasons.
1. Perfect means to block out the unreal amounts of snoring these people emitted.
2. You could essentially have your own room with the ability to close the door and read or change without having to schlep to the bathrooms.
3. I doubled as a storage closet for all the food I foraged. I slept with a pineapple for three nights straight waiting for it to ripen.

Free Time
There was none. The few hours I managed to escape I went into Haiti to "help" set up a water purification system in one of the refugee camps. Ask me later if you care to here about this fiasco.
A few nights when I wasn't bone tired and was able to muster up enough socializing steam to carry me out for beers on the roof or sitting in the dirt outside the convenient store. Not my most glamorous moments considering I brought nothing but scrubs to wear.
Ha! I did mange a shower occasionally, which wasn't terriably enjoyable considering the hot water wasn't super reliable. I shared the bathroom with at least 12-14 other people, so I would have to get up about an hour before I needed to be downstairs and working if I wanted a chance at the bathroom.