I know it's tough living in a rural and underserved community in the deforested mountains of Haiti. I know it's tough just being a woman in Haiti and it's even harder being a woman with epilepsy. Two weeks ago, you suffered an epileptic fit on one of the many mountainside walk paths, fell down a deep ravine and broke your arm. Your friends, family and community came to pull you back up to safety. Amandine Stolfi, our Rapino Foundation country director came to your aide at the request of your family. She and Jean Paul went to work very quickly assessing the severity of your situation as well as your wounds. You suffered a deep wound on one side of your head as well as pelvic pain and a badly broken arm. It could've been much worse, thank God it wasn't. Wasting no time Amandine placed you on a stretcher manned by three men. one in the front and two in the back. These strong and nimble men navigated the rocky walk paths with you in their hands. Surmounting boulders under the heat of the beating sun, stopping to assess the best route to climb. Like angels they safely carried you to the top of the mountain where you were placed in our vehicle to take you to a hospital in Fermathe. After three hours at the hospital you received x-rays however the doctors never mentioned that the x-rays would not be ready until the following day which was a Sunday. If we would have known we could have attempted to transfer you to another hospital with a quicker x-ray turn around. In the US it is quite normal to see our x-rays immediately however in Haiti it is different.
So this meant that you needed to stay the night in the hospital with your arm still broken. Even though you were in need of urgent surgery, you were offered no bed, no pain medication but the gift that came that evening in the hospital was your mother. It had been a long time since you had spent time, real time with your mother. She moved to the city in Port au Prince years ago leaving you with your grandmother in the mountains. She held you and cried tears that would not stop. She wept for you. You the little girl now a woman who always needed special care, special attention. She left you in the care of her own mother and moved to the city to work. All this time you thought your mother had abandoned you.
One fall down a ravine, one night in the hospital, one mother weeping tears of love and gratitude for the life of her daughter which was spared. You must have been in a state of pure amazement. Suffering so much pain and love at the same time. These are the moments which make life so dramatically beautiful.
The following morning the x-rays showed your arm was broken in three place however the doctors informed you that they do not do this surgery at this hospital anymore due to lack of finances. Amandine dug into other options. Hospital La Paix was overbooked Bernard Mevs was incredibly expensive so what to do? She called in on a friend for a possible lead, took the recommendation of the good doctor at Fermathe and remembered a possible option in Mirebalais although that was an hour and a half away by car. With your arm swelling abnormally and time ticking Amandine got on the phone and started calling alas Mirebalais was the only option. You made the long trip to the hospital broken arm and all. You arrived that evening. The nurses and doctors there were nothing short of blessings. They could do the surgery however there was no blood available so Amandine then drove back to Port au Prince late that evening. The next morning she waited at the Red Cross for three hours to receive the blood you would need for your surgery. She even offered to give her own however your blood types didn't agree but you should know that she tried. The waiting room at the Red Cross was filled with people hoping to give blood for people in need just like you. Unfortunately for health reasons the criteria the Red Cross must adhere to is very strict and many people are turned away from giving blood which means there are many people suffering who will not get a much needed surgery. You were lucky, your brother, bless his heart, came and gave his blood for you. Marc, Sarah's husband also gave blood for you and your sister showed up to give blood at the last minute. We placed your bags of blood in our fancy blue and white Coleman ice chest. We knew we didn't have enough blood but we were all thrilled that we had at least half if not more but the funniest thing about 'Operation get Blood' was that once we had the blood there was no ice to keep it cold. We checked several stores even restaurants and no one had any ice. Finally at one of the larger markets we bought ice.
We placed your ice chest in the back of the car and headed out back to you in Mirebalais.
Upon arrival Amandine and JP hand escorted your blood through the hospital. Guarding it like hawks. Ensuring it got to you and no-one and on where else.
Your adventure came to a beautiful end. You came through your surgery with flying colors. The doctors were amazing and your mother walked side by side with you through the journey.
There is always a gift in the struggle. Many wounds were healed Ti Lucienne. Not just your arm but also your heart. We at the Rapino Foundation are happy to have been able to be helpful in your struggle. We will always be available and ready if you should ever need. You are not alone. We care. Sending you big hugs of love. The Rapino Foundation