Seeing a different Haiti for the first time
By Ronine Zamor*
Thomonde, HAITI–So far, my experience in Haiti has been both medically and culturally fulfilling. Being Haitian-American, I felt as if I would not be as shocked or surprised by this trip. However, it has been the complete opposite.
Because my family is from the city of Port-au-Prince, I have never been to the countryside, which is completely different. From the home visits to the clinics, people have been extremely friendly, welcoming, and patient. Today, we saw the most patients since we’ve arrived. We also saw a multitude of cases from scatoma to scabies to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Being able to help diagnose cases and present them to the physician is not something most first year students get to experience. As a first year medical student, we learn what looks normal and how to do physical exams on standardized patients. Today, I was able to see the abnormal such as people who are underweight but are still hypertensive.
On the way to the clinic today, we drove for almost an hour in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere. Everywhere we turned there were mountains, trees, and almost no people. When we reached the clinic, there were people already lined up. This just shows how badly the Haitian people are desperate to have medical care. The fact that they will walk miles up a mountain to see a doctor amazes me.
On our way back, we stopped at a cave. I never imagined that if I were to walk into a cave, it would be on a medical mission trip to Haiti. My experience today has shown how wonderful and beautiful this country is as well as its people. By being here, it has given me the motivation to continue to do more for my people, which is what I came here to do.
*Ronine Zamor is currently volunteering with Project Medishare’s mobile clinic team during his holiday break. The trip was organized through The University of Miami’s School of Medicine.