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Margie Forres, LC  from Florida, sent a report on her Red Cross trip to Haiti, including a good breastfeeding segment.  There is a large album of photos.  If you choose to see them you double-click (and sometimes 4-click) on the photos then use the “back” arrow to return to the album.  Pat Gima


Hi All!

I am back from Haiti, and have one really nasty sore throat! (at least the gastrointestinal stuff is over). We all came back intact, and did some really good work there.

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and words of support. We all felt loved and supported in all of our work there. We felt safe the entire time.

This disaster is the worst one I have ever worked. I have been a Red Cross Disaster Nurse since hurricane Andrew in 1992 (and a Red Cross volunteer for over 40 years!). I think one of the biggest issues this time is that people can’t really move on yet. Most disasters happen, it’s terrible, but it’s over, and the cleaning up and rebuilding begins. In this one, the aftershocks continue. The entire country has post-traumatic stress disorder, and it is refreshed with every tremble of the Earth.

No one sleeps indoors. Many houses are still standing, pretty much intact. In the town of Petit Goave, people own houses and furniture. They are used to sleeping in beds. Now they all sleep outdoors, In the evenings, they stake out their territory in front of the houses with large bricks or stones that they’ve saved from the rubble, and either set up a tent (if they’re lucky enough to have one) or a shelter they construct with branches and sheets or tarps (again, if they’re lucky) and sleep out on the street. They all have colds, bronchitis and/or respiratory issues. The dust is still thick, as the cleaning up continues.

I was able to hold a lactation clinic on a couple of the days we worked (!!!). It was great to be able to dispel myths, and help women increase their milk supply. The women who were exclusively breastfeeding were very proud of that. I was also able to distribute the “breastfeeding after emergencies” materials from ILCA that were hurriedly translated for me before I left.

And saving the best for last: I was on Haitian radio last Friday for an hour talking about breastfeeding!

!! One of the doctors that I met earlier in the week was also on, as well as a translator who has worked at the UN. Brunine David (the translator) was instrumental in making this happen. We were able to discuss all of the important points and Dr Cimeus asked some great questions (he brought up breastfeeding and HIV). This was no local radio broadcast: it went out to all of Haiti. The broadcast has been repeated several times. I have already heard from Dr. Cimeus, who told me that he has received some great feedback.

Can you tell that I am grinning?

It was worth the small amount of physical discomfort to make these things happen. (btw, I lost 10 pounds). I am already following-up with the people I worked with there to continue this work.

If you are interested in seeing pictures, the link to shutterfly is posted below.