Reflections from our Duke SRT Students

July 14, 2016

 

Our time here in Haiti has been an incredibly immersive experience into global health fieldwork. As we look back at the past 6 weeks, we can’t believe how quickly our time here has gone by. Our first few days were marked by confusion and excessive sweating; Creole made no sense to us and we suddenly became known as “blans” everywhere we went. Haiti was a feast for our senses – the hot sun constantly blazing down on us, the varied smells of the Leogane market, the ripe mangos seemingly hanging everywhere, the colorful tap taps and motos zipping down the streets. Everyday it seemed we were stepping further and further away from the life we had just left in the US.

Our first days working were overwhelming – we jumped headfirst into the local community literally walking straight into people’s houses to question them about their knowledge and use of contraception (not exactly the things typically covered when first introduced to someone).

These experiences have been eye opening. Not only have we learned from the information these women have shared with us, but we have engaged with and observed the Haitian culture and lifestyle by getting up close and personal with the women we have met. We have witnessed first-hand how children are cared for by the entire community. We were given a tour of a Klerin (the local moonshine) distillery we stumbled upon one day by an enthusiastic businessman. Our translator, Jameson, invited us to his home and showed us his bakery, even dropping off bread for us some mornings. A women showed us how she makes Haitian coffee and we got to try some (strong but very sweet). However, we have also been privy to the realities of a developing nation: the excessive trash in the streets, the lack of running water and electricity, the flooding that happens even after a light rain, and a lack of knowledge of and access to healthcare. These realizations have
been sobering and thought-provoking. Although Haiti is full of potential and hopeful, hardworking people, there are many systemic obstacles blocking the country’s path to success. Excessive poverty and political instability have led to a severe lack of opportunity in the country, and there are no simple solutions to addressing the myriad of issues that plague Haitians.

We talk about these issues a lot, and we’re leaving this country with a heightened understanding of the depth and history regarding Haiti’s current state. This newfound awareness has made our fieldwork all the more important to us and has helped us form a meaningful personal connection with the country. We are grateful for the experience to work in Haiti with Family Health Ministries, and our understanding of development, global health, and the world has been greatly impacted by our time here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FHM News

Representatives of the UNC School of Nursing, Rhonda Lanning and Leslie Hackenbracht traveled to Haiti last week with Family Health Ministries. They were in country for the opening of the new Carmelle Voltaire Women’s Health Center. The Center saw more than 50 patients during their first 3 days of operation. It was wonderfulRead More

The Global Health PLUS (Placement of Life Changing Usable Surplus) Program, in association with Duke Global Health Institute, allowed Family Health Ministries to glean hospital equipment from inventory to use for the Carmelle Voltaire Women’s Health Center in Haiti. The mission of Duke Global Health PLUS is to make this surplus medical equipmentRead More

Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity. We have a day for giving thanks. We have a day for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, communityRead More

PIZZA WITH A PURPOSE! Join us Sunday, August 16th anytime during the day to dine out for Haiti at California Pizza Kitchen at The Streets at Southpoint, 6910 Fayetteville Road #154, Durham, NC 27713. 20% of your check will be donated to Family Health Ministries including dine in, take out,Read More