This week I was able to get away from Port-au-Prince a couple of days. The first time on Wednesday when I visited Albert Schweitzer hospital to do a site evaluation for a possible location of a Sunspring. Most of the week was spent visiting sites where we have installed Sunsprings or evaluating possible future sights, while we wait for more units to be shipped. Albert Schweitzer is a couple hours from the city, it's a beautiful drive up the coast to get there. Once there, we got a tour of the community and then the hospital. The hospital, I'm told, is one of the biggest best in Haiti. They have experienced a larger than usual amount of patients since the earthquake.
As we were shown the facilities we saw burn victims, amputees, and sick patients, the sights were devastating. Patients laid in the hallway because of a lack of rooms. Most of the patients care was left up to the families as the staff was too busy. We were told that the hospital has been forced to turn patients away because of a lack of resources to care for all of them. My heart broke for all the injuries we saw but the most heart-wrenching came at the sight of the newborn babies. In one room there were 6 newborns, not more than a few weeks old. Most of them were born prematurely and it showed in their size. Some of them looked as if they could fit in the palm of my hand. All of the babies had tubes and monitors coming out of them and we were told that some weren't expected to make it. I did not ask what caused the babies to be born premature or where their families were, I was too overwhelmed to speak at all.
The hospital also had an area the was separated from the rest of the hospital that was home to the tuberculosis patients. It was hard to see people kept isolated from the rest of the world because of a curable disease. The sights of the hospital and the emotions they evoked are difficult to describe because they were so powerful, yet our stay was so brief. It was an unforgettable experience nonetheless.
Luke and I got motorcycles to make it easier to get around. On Friday, we put the bikes to the test and headed up the coast away from Port-au-Prince to the beaches. Getting out of the city was a mixture of fear and excitement as we weaved in and out of the hectic traffic on the lawless roads. Once out the city though, we were able to relax and enjoy the countryside. We saw mostly dry, dusty hills, however in places we saw areas that epitomized the tropics with fields of banana, mango, and coconut trees. It was evening while road so we were able to see the sky turn from blue to pink to red before the sun sank down into the ocean.
Saturday and part of today was spent relaxing on the beach and swimming in the ocean. I am so thankful for the rest after the craziness of the last month. We drove back today renewed for continuing our work here. We made it back to the house with only one near death experience. This week we will be preparing and then installing more Sunsprings. Four more are set to arrive this week and four more the next. Hopefully, more will be donated so that we can continue to provide safe water for those who are without.