Bethel’s Haiti connection continues to strengthen, most recently through two service-related trips by students and faculty.
After fall final exams and before Christmas, seven senior nursing students and one 2012 nursing graduate, along with one of their professors, Geraldine Tyrell ’07, spent a little over a week in the country.
Doug Siemens ’84, assistant professor of education, was there most recently, Jan. 21-25.
All spent most of their time in Hinche, in the central part of Haiti, where Bethel graduate Wildy Mulatre ’94 lives with his family and works as a health-care administrator.
The nurses were at Hôpital Ste. Therese in Hinche about four hours a day, doing basic care. “We divided into two groups, so each spent [time] in the men’s ward/post-op, pediatrics, some OB and a little time in ICU with one particular patient,” says Tyrell.
“It was a good cultural experience,” says Susan Morris, North Newton. “It was different from nursing in North America. We spent a lot of time sitting around, waiting for something to do.”
“We’ve been taught: Go find, go do,” says Cassie Hinerman ’10, Milan. However, the students and Tyrell found themselves frequently stymied by not speaking the language, as well as by the lack of supplies and equipment they were used to.
“We prepared for the worst,” says Morris, “but you can’t really imagine what it will be like. They didn’t have basic essentials” such as hand sanitizer (the group knew to bring their own), soap or easy access to running -- much less hot -- water.
“Whatever we thought it would be, it was still more extreme,” adds Janet Schauf, Clearwater.
One important thing they learned, however, was that Haitian health-care workers are “a lot more resourceful than we are, because they have to be,” Morris says. “They can think more critically.”