Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gabriel Team Returns to Haiti

Shelby and Cassie get things ready before heading to the airport

Cassie and Shelby pose with suitcases full of supplies headed to haiti
The Gabriel team anxiously awaits their journey to Port Au Prince

The Gabriel teams piles in the transport van heading to Hopital Adventiste

The Gabriel Team has returned to Haiti for the third time since the devastating earthquake back in January. This group is the largest so far as twelve volunteers have stepped up to support the tremendous need that has increased tenfold since an outbreak of cholera has made it's way through the recently flooded country.   Thousands of confirmed cases have already been reported and few who get sick are able to survive.

Hopital Adventiste is an entirely different place now.  Hundreds of seemingly endless boxes of supplies that once lined the hallways have been used up and very few people inhabit the hospital grounds.  Back in June, the Adventiste campus doubled as a residence for hundreds of displaced earthquake victims and hospital volunteers. It was a busy place and people piled into the halls in hopes to receive free care from the generous volunteer based staff.  Families and children old and young would occupy the waiting areas and a the quite murmur of conversation in creole would provide a reminder of life as usual following such immense devastation.  Volunteers were regularly scheduled each week and there was a semblance of organization and hope.

Today, all the volunteers have been relocated or have left entirely.  Since Haiti's policy of free healthcare for all had expired back in June, few people have the means to get healthcare.  Surgery cases are limited to those who have the means to pay for care.  Team Gabriel are currently the only team at Adventiste and while they have several cases lined up for the beginning of the week, they might be headed to another camp to treat immediate cases of cholera. To make things worse, the C-arm, a critical piece of equipment for orthopedic cases is broken.

It is a picture that no one here probably expected after the overwhelming support that came in after the earthquake. But it's a grim reminder that the situation in Haiti remains bleak and continues to decline.

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