Sunday, February 26, 2012

Haiti - Shada Clinic

The last clinical day was spent at one of the poorest areas in Cap Haitian. Shada is located on the river that runs through Cap Haitian. We pulled up to the area where we were going to set up the clinic. The view was incredible! The river was to our left and the mountains rose steeply behind it. That amazing view was breath-taking, but the view was masked by the stench and the garbage found everywhere.

In order to get to the clinic, we had to jump over a large canal, which was their makeshift sewer system. The room we were in was very small. Four stations were set up to treat patients, but there was barely any room to maneuver. On the other clinical days, we had been blessed with space. On top of the close quarters, it was one of the hottest days. We handed out numbers to patients, so there would not be any cutting or fights that would break out over who was being seen in what order. We handed out 50 numbers and there were still many more people waiting outside.

We saw a mix of adults and children, extracted teeth, and placed sealants. The patients in this location had a great need for dental care. We could have spent every day at this location and still have had patients who needed us. After we finished our clinical work we headed we got a tour of  the town, the houses were basically shacks made out of concrete with tin roofs. Afterwards, we had some time to play soccer with the children who lived there.

Me, Dr. Suzko, Seth, Derrick, and Anna

Overall, the trip was a great experience! I was able to experience Haitian culture, spend time with Derrick and Seth, work on my dental skills, and also enjoy some good weather. We're planning on making dental mission trips to other countries in the future!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Exploring Rochester

I'm back! Honestly, besides Amit's Haiti trip, there hasn't been much to blog about recently. Lucky for me, that's changing! We are now less than two weeks away from welcoming Grayson into the group, so I have a few baby girl projects to get working on. Pictures will follow! I also am enjoying February vacation this week. I have lots of schoolwork and studying to do, but I will hopefully be able to devote a little time to crafting.

Back to the reason for this blog post. Amit, Emma, and I were able to drive to Rochester on Sunday and spent the majority of Monday exploring the neighborhoods, the hospital, and one of the real highlights of our new home.

Thanks to Ron's travels, we stayed at one of the La Quinta's in Rochester on Ron's tab. (Thank you, Ron!) The hotel was great, Emma was just a pain in the butt. She didn't want to sleep on the chair or in the bed with us (since she never does), so she kept moving around all night long. I wasn't too bothered by it, but Amit was definitely annoyed. (She must not have cared that we had to drive home, since she then slept the entire 6 hour drive home, while poor Amit had to stay awake and do some of the driving.)

Amit stopped by the hospital to finally meet the director in person and check out the clinic. He loved it and is really excited to start there! Emma and I went to check out Lake Ontario and went for a little walk alongside the beach. The paved bike path was great; we'll definitely be heading there for some nice, early-morning walks!
Our Walk
(Yep, that's some snow still on the beach.)

I loved our visit, even though it was really quick. We actually saw a decent amount of the surrounding suburbs and have narrowed down where we'll look for a rental. While we were driving we learned some important information.
1 - We are super close to the lake, which will be lots of fun. 
2 - It seems like there are lots of park areas to explore. 
3 - There is a HOBBY LOBBY!!!!
4 - Rochester also has a Jimmy John's AND Little Caesar's. 
(Seriously, how did we live without them?)
5 - The hospital is right near one of the highways, 
which should make Amit's commute easy.

So now that we've physically been to Rochester, we're getting rather excited! Amit will start orientation at the end of June, so hopefully we'll have time to move, make a quick trip to Chicago, and unpack everything before I start classes in July. We're now four months from the move and three months away from graduation! Looks like we better get ready for some new adventures!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Haiti - The Orphanage

On our third day seeing patients, we headed to a girls' orphanage in the country. This was definitely my favorite day. It was gated and there were about five buildings on the compound. When we got out of the jeep, a group of girls started singing to us. They sang two songs; it was a beautiful experience.

The Girls Singing

We set up the clinic in their school room. We saw girls ranging from 4 to 14 years old. We saw about 50 girls in all. The most amazing thing was that these girls all had perfectly straight teeth and no caries (cavities) at all. The extractions that I did were only for baby teeth that needed to come out, because they were retained and causing periodontal (gum) issues. The children are not allowed to drink soda and or eat other refined sugars, which definitely has led to the low prevalence of caries.

 Anna Treating a Patient

Derrick and I were going to take a quick picture with this group of girls...
... but then more girls came by us...
 ... until there were even more!

The head of the orphanage was a lady who went to school to study agriculture. She has taught the girls how to plant and harvest various crops. She took us on a tour of the grounds and we learned about all of the farming that they do. The orphanage is on 3 acres of land. They grow plantain trees and banana trees, have 3 tilapia ponds, bees, and grow their own sugar cane. We got to taste some of the honey while we were there, it was delicious. Since we had done our dental work for the day, we had some time to play. We threw the frisbee around and jumped some rope. As we were about to leave the girls got together and sang us a couple more songs to see us off.

Tilapia Pond

Bee Hives

Jump Rope Time!

I pulled two of her lower baby teeth. 
It seemed like she wanted to smile but didn't want to show off my work.

Dog trying to cool off (or hide) under the car.
These dogs get food from people. 
There were tons of dogs all around.

One of the girls waving at us as we left.

As we were getting ready to leave, the girls sang us a few more songs. We had a great time treating and playing with the girls at the orphanage. I definitely did not want to leave.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Haiti - Limonade

The following day we headed to a rural town called Limonade. It was about 30-40 minutes outside Cap-Hatien.
The countryside.

We set up our clinic in a Judo gym. The patients laid down on stacks of gym mats.
The Moral Code of Judo

We saw a mixture of adults and children. We did extractions, sealants, and ART, which is atraumatic restorative technique. In other words, we use hand instruments instead of a drill to do a filling. It's painless, so it doesn't require anesthetic. We saw a total of 50 patients that day.

The Team

Bamboo Basketball Hoop

Our day in Limonade was a great experience and was just like what we expected from this trip.

First Clinic Day

The first day we treated patients, we went to the local hospital's dental clinic. The clinic had two dental chairs. We were supposed to do fillings and show the Haitian dentists how to use the different filling materials. We thought the local dentists were going to bring their own patients; it didn't turn out as we had hoped. It was poorly organized and the Haitian dentists were the ones showing us how to do fillings. Apparently, there were some miscommunications. After the day was done, we were sitting in the hallway and one of the ladies from the clinic was sweeping up the medical waste that had ended up on the floor. She swept it out the door and we all thought that she was going to put it in the garbage can. When we walked out, she had just swept it into the grass, next to the garbage can. Anna, the resident who came with us, put on some gloves and put the trash inside the trash can. The streets of Haiti were full of trash. There was maybe one garbage can in the whole city. There is no trash removal service or sewage system. After the first day we weren't sure what the rest of the trip would hold, but we were pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Haiti Beach Day

We weren't seeing patients until Monday so we had all of Saturday and Sunday to ourselves. Saturday we chilled around the hotel and then decided to walk over to the art market. The market was on the water and there were vendors selling their art out of storage units. I decided to buy some of their oil paintings. The only mistake I made was to buy them early. The rest of the time I was there, I would get mobbed and everyone would want me to buy something.
After shopping

The paintings 

On Sunday, we went to a Catholic service in town. The service was in Creole, so I couldn't understand it. What was amazing was that there were maybe 2000 people in attendance and we were told that is normal attendance. There were lots kids and they were well-behaved throughout the two-hour service.

After church, I needed to get some sunglasses, so we headed to "The Market" to find some. Dr. Suszko decided to come along and show us the way. We were actually talking about different markets. He took us to "The Market," which is basically a farmers' market that sells everything. It is in a huge, dark warehouse and smelled like feces. It was crowded and we wanted to get out of there as fast as we could. After that, we ran into three teenagers who had poured old motor oil over their bodies and had whistles. They came at us screaming and asking for money, but we kept walking to try to get away from them. We made a huge circle to get back to our hotel but they still ran into us three times.

After that very eventful morning, we decided to head over the mountains to Combine Sainte Beach. The road to the beach was rocky and narrow. Luckily, the weather was perfect and the water was warm. We spent a good 5-6 hours there.

We had a great weekend and enjoyed exploring the markets and beach. After a relaxing weekend, it was time to get to work.

And the winner is...

Rochester, NY