Mar 05

Being Haitian in the Dominican! (Day 6)

Today we went back to the Haitian church where the children also have school during the day and did wellness checks on all of them and some adults. The wellness checks include taking height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, respirations and a basic appearance assessment. The Haitian community was extremely welcoming and the parents seemed relieved to know that their children were going to be examined. The children were eager to see what we were doing upon arrival. We set up stations in one of the classrooms and had the children rotate through each station to complete their wellness check. The children ranged from ages 1 to 17. Many of these children are malnourished and have a low BMI percentile.

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In the afternoon, we went to a Haitian Batey called Los Cocos. A Batey is considered a company where sugar workers live; it’s a small community in itself. A little background of this community is that this community was brought to the area to work in the sugar cane fields and in return, were paid very little ($3 per day) and given a place to live. The person that brought them to the area eventually just left them there, leaving them with only the houses and no pay. The houses that these people live in are made out of wood and the roofs are made of banana leaves. There is no electricity, running water, or sewage. Living in the Dominican Republic being Haitian, is very difficult because they are not accepted here. While there, we also did blood pressure checks, pulse rates, and listened to their lungs. There were a few of them who had  alarmingly high blood pressures. There was also a man who had high blood pressure, swelling in his cheeks, abdominal pain, and was complaining of fatigue. For this gentlemen, we recommended that he be checked out at the public hospital. Donations were made to the community by Dove Missions including clothes, boots, and medications such as Motrin and Tylenol. The medications were for the children and the directions of use were written in English, so we were able to explain and translate it to the pastor to make sure they were able to give the right doses. Overall, our outlook of the Haitian community is that of a “family community” with a positive outlook on life, dispite the challenges that they face on a daily basis.

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Stephanie H. & Brooke D.