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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Arrival at the Hospital

Alright, I have to get going on this or I'll never start.  Today I'm going to share some of my first impressions on arriving at the general hospital.

Early in the morning the day after our arrival in Port-au-Prince we loaded our Land Rover to more than capacity (probably around 10 people, it varied day to day) and set off towards the center of the town and the General Hospital.  Most of the pictures of destroyed buildings you have seen so far were taken on one of these trips too and from the Hospital. 

Arriving at the hospital we found the main entrance gate guarded by the marines.  They quickly opened the gate and waved us through.  They saw no need to check credentials; being white and wearing scrubs was all the "paperwork" we needed.  The Haitians seeking medical help had queued up outside, being let through single file via a door located at the edge of the gate.  I will go into detail about the patients later, but for this post I am going to concentrate on the infrastructure of the hospital.

On of the first things I saw after entering the hospital was a group of men operating out of the back of a tractor trailer rig.  Reading the sign on the back told me it was an "off the grid" water plant.  I wasn't exactly sure what that meant, but later found out this was a scene straight out of the first Star Wars movie.  These men were "moisture farmers" like Luke Skywalker's aunt and uncle.  They operated the machines in the trailer to condense water vapor in the air into clean, drinkable water.  The service these men provided was absolutely essential to the operation of the hospital.

As we moved father up the road I saw the Marines and their trucks.  The marines were there primarily to guard the hospital, but also proved very helpful.  Throughout the time I worked at the hospital they helped carry oxygen tanks, transport patients on stretchers, and even let me borrow their hair clippers to trim off my beard when it grew too long and the heat became unbearable.

This is the tent I operated out of for most of my time in Haiti.  Sitting outside in this photograph is a young boy named Eric, who occupied one of the 20+ beds inside the tent.  He had had his leg and jaw broken in the quake, and his parents were either missing or dead.  Unable to speak above a whisper or eat solid food due to his jaw being wired shut, he still managed to endear himself to all of the ICU staff.  If you look closely enough you can see my name signed just above and to the right of the flower on his cast.


  1. You should be very proud of yourself, this is very honorable

  2. Its lookin' really busy, its good to see you're out there helping people. My condolences to that kid as well, hes a soldier for powering on.

  3. I can't make out your name on the cast. But it's good to see you were doing your part in helping those people.

  4. I didn't realize until now that you were a medic lol. The water vapor farming technology sounds pretty cool. Doesn't sound like it's be able to produce enough water though...

  5. Moisture farm? That blows my mind. And here I take for granted that water just flows out taps the second you turn it.

    Great work