Carmelite is a 46 year old woman who was born here in Cazale and still lives here. Her father died when she was 2 yrs old and she doesn’t remember him. Her mom is still living and made many sacrifices for Carmelite, her only child, to go to school and raise her well. Carmelite has 2 kids. Her boy is 21 years old and is in college for civil engineering. Her daughter is 18 yrs old and still in high school. Her mom, her daughter, and her live in a four room block house with a tin roof that is for her mother.
She was a patient of ours since the first week of us coming to Cazale in March 1998. We saw her occasionally throughout the years when she got ill and out in the village also. In Oct 2004, our mom, Gretchen, asked her to come and work in the rescue center taking care of the malnourished inpatient children. Because of her willingness and ability to quickly learn, she was moved to the work in the clinic after a couple of years. She weighed patients, took vital signs, and helped with the TB program. When we starting the women’s health screenings in 2009, she moved to a position as an assistant to the nurse. She did the labs and helped with record keeping. This year, she started helping to make charts, writing letters, and doing more office work. She continues to help the tuberculosis patients get the meds and treatment they need.
The one thing she doesn’t like is taking sputum specimens for TB testing. It grosses her out, but she knows that someone has to do it and she wants to help the patients. She would also like a better area to make and store the charts. The area was built for taller men and she is a bit too short for her to work in the space well. (I was able to tell her we are already thinking about how to move some things around and build some thing to make it easier for her.)
There are many experiences that remembers over the years, but one sticks out. She was taking 2 people (related) to the TB clinic for testing about a 2.5 hr drive away. They were on public transport (tap-tap) and both of the people were very, very ill. Carmelite said that she prayed the whole way there and back that they wouldn’t die in the tap-tap. She was able to get their results (positive) and they were started on meds. They were consistent in their treatment and never missed an appointment. She encouraged them every time she saw them (every 2 wks) and they soon began to improve. Every visit, they got better. After many months of treatment, they were discharged and cleared of any illness. Carmelite rejoiced with them and was so happy how much improvement there was. She still sees them occasionally and give glory to God for their lives. She was so happy to see how God worked and to be a small part of their recovery.
During a typical day, she comes to work at 6:50 for staff devotions and prayer. After that she starts pulling charts for the patients that are waiting for the day, makes new charts for patients. She also writes referral letters, does data entry, chart review, reporting, assists the nurses, assists in weighing, inventories lab supplies, and other small tasks throughout the day. Every other Friday, she travels to the TB clinic to get medications and bring them closer to the patients. Every other Monday, she helps nurse Carol give out these meds as the patients come in for their consults.
Her job helps her send her kids to school. She is able to learn new skills and information. Her life has improved because she is working here. Her job helps others because she can help TB pts get meds to heal and stay alive. She is able to educate and encourage patients and family. She works as a team member and supporter to the clinic so that thousands are cared for each month.
She likes living in the village of Cazale. The river that runs through provides enough water for everyone. There are places in Haiti where you must buy water, but here in Cazale she and her family have not had that problem. Food is available. Even if you don’t have alot of money, you can find breadfruit and plantains for a low price. It’s a casual, friendly area and she doesn’t feel stressed living here. Most of her friends and family are here. She feels at home. The top improvement for the area would be a paved road going to Cabaret.
RHFH helps by caring for the poor, assisting in emergencies, malnutrition, first aid care in accidents, cholera, education, and so much more. If she could change one thing, it would be to change our location. She would like to see us get out of the house that we rent for the clinic and build a new clinic and hospital to meet our needs so that we can better care for patients.
She is a Christian and goes to the local Catholic church. She would like you to pray for her children and their education. She would like to see them graduate from the university and go on to get jobs. She would tell God thank you and feel that she did all that she could to raise her children well.