Haitian Customs: So the Adventure Begins

Our flight to Haiti was delayed for mechanical reasons. Who wants a plane to take off if something isn’t working?  (There were a few unhappy travelers who lost their stuff!  I was Ok with waiting for something that was broken to be fixed. Just sayin)

 I tried to get on the Internet to get the NBC 10 interview with Dr. Anthony Coletta but it wasn’t posted at the time. (Watch the video yourself.) I used my time to obtain Internet access and down load Monopoly on my iPad. It gave Dean the opportunity to put me to shame once again playing one of my childhood favorite games.


We landed in Port au Prince Haiti and were greeted by Yvon’s cousin Andre who works at the airport. (Yvon is one of our interpreters and his day job is working in the OR at Bryn Mawr hospital as an orderly). The goal was to have a smooth transit through customs with all of our medical supplies. The transition was not exactly seamless, but Dr. Tony did an amazing job of getting us through the process with all of our medications and supplies in hand.Image


The five-mile trip to Double Harvest took 45 minutes as the Haitian Department of transportation’s care of the roads is about as advanced as the country’s access to medical care. Despite the unpaved roads and lack of traffic control, we arrived safely and were pleasantly surprised at the accommodations that awaited us at Double Harvest. The clinic is clean, air-conditioned and we have hot water to shower! (A veritable Four Seasons compared to our last surgical mission accommodations)




We had on average 3 bags per piece. (18 volunteers X 3 at 50 lbs per piece. ImageThat’s 2700 lbs of supplies. Our personal items were in our carry-ons!) The distribution of all of those items to their pre-surgical resting place was completed in record speed by the end of our first surgical day! The OR’s, and the prep areas were readied. We were prepared for our first day of surgery by 6 PM. Our dinner the first evening created quite a stir in the group as goat was on the menu. (Dean loved the roasted goat BTW. The goat has created recurrent fodder for Cal as he gotten a lot of mileage in comments simply out of the poor goat we ate for dinner!)


We were feeling very divinely guided and I found a painting in the clinic that reminded e of this guidance. Every surgeon that I know who can move beyond ego realizes that we are not alone in the OR.Image

One thought on “Haitian Customs: So the Adventure Begins

  1. That picture is so moving and it is so true that God does gives these fine people the heart and the passion for others and to make a difference in this world. My prayer for all of you is for God to guide hands and for him to give you all wisdom you need to care for your patients. So proud of my Breast Surgeon Dr. Beth Dupree, love ya Beth. Thank you to you and your team for making a difference. God bless you all.
    Michelle Brown

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