“Knock! Knock! Wake up Nurse Anita!”
     So, Nurse Anita does. She walks up to the gate expecting to assist a lady to the clinic. But she is surprised. The lady is smiling.
     “While I was knocking the baby came.” she explains easily.
     This is the start to our Friday. It is about 6:30 when I join Nurse Anita in the clinic. It is mostly quiet.There is one patient resting in the hospital room as I walk by. I did not stop. He is still resting.
     I look for the baby. He is adorably sweet. He still needs bathed and Nurse Anita tells me I can have the job. It is a good way to begin a day. The sturdy mother sits over in the chair to the side, clucking to herself when I fuss over the cute baby. Does she actually know what I am saying? She seems to, because she smiles and smiles.
     And after we have grabbed a few pictures and wrapped him up in some clothing huge to his proportions, she jumps up. In her arms is her new treasure. She seems proud and full of energy. Before her daughter who accompanied her knows what is happening, she sails out the door and begins her walk home, where ever that is. I go to the entry and stare after her dumbfounded. Did she just have that baby? Or did she not?!! Maybe it’s worth having a baby if they come that easy and that cute, what do you say?

Here is the cute little guy!

The older sister baby and mother

     Nurse Anita and I go for some coffee and try to finish waking up. Before we begin clinic, Nurse Anita unclogs my eardrum so I can hear. It hurt pretty bad, but at least it will get better now. I forgot to ask for the bill.
     For me, the normal has become checking people’s temperatures and taking their blood pressure. After that is done they will wait until a nurse calls them into her room. I am glad they all look at each other, because that makes less talking for me to do. I can usually survive on one or two words and they kind of figure out the rest. Sometimes they go on big rows of words, explaining their malady. I usually nod sympathetically and they eventually catch on that I’m not very helpful to their problem.
     Meanwhile the real nurses are busy checking people’s bandaged wounds, giving out blood pressure medication, or prescribing medication for other illnesses. The Creole words sail out of their mouths like so many butterflies.

     I find little things to do when I am caught up with the line of patients waiting for consultations. Sometimes I cut gauze or chop up small squares of gauze to make alcohol swabs. I do that in English, because it is one job that doesn’t matter which language you do it in.
     When I decide my hands are too germy, I go to the jugs at the sink and pour water over them. I can hardly wait until we get moved to the new clinic where we will have running water.
     Sometime between noon and three o’clock, we will probably walk out of the clinic, with its white tarp dividing walls into the fresh air. By now, we pretty much like the thought of food, and hope that no one knocks at the clinic gate for a while.
    But don’t relax too much, this might just be a day when someone gets a rock thrown at their head, or a baby decides it’s his birthday, and you will unlock those doors and roll your eyes as you laugh at the unpredictable turn of events. Haiti?! Yes!


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