Friday, December 14, 2007

Typhoid, Malaria Infect Starthrower Staff in Haiti

[Here are two emails I received from Sharon. When I read the first one, I replied to ask if this was part of an update. This morning, I received her permission to post, along with additional information. Here is the news, in Sharon's words, in the order received.

Message #1

Hello Everyone

Glad to know that the travellers returned safely. Sorry to be so impersonal with the multiple mailing but my energy level and pain level have changed places. Apologies for not getting out of bed when you left. I hope everyone has their shots up to date.

I saw Dr Bell today and analysis confirmed I have Typhoid. The ear (and lip) infection is a secondary opportunistic fungal infection. No wonder I fell over a lot Friday night trying to get to the bathroom.

Interesting here is that I had blood work done a week before I left [Canada] to check my vaccination levels: Typhoid was just fine. So even when one thinks one is covered, one is not. Apparently that vaccine is notorious for its ineffectiveness. I am certain that is what Jack and Marlene have (as Rosenie was just recovering when I arrived -- apparently the prime time for transmission) although I have not heard from them as they are 'en deyo' (in the country), a favourite place for sick Haitians.

Thanks again for everything you brought -- so much has been distributed already -- and thanks mostly for the gift of your presence. You give us all a sense of support and being cared about that is needed to make this journey grow with grace.

Look forward to hearing from one and all

Message #2

Sure, please post the email, if only to deter those who think coming to Haiti is no big deal. Walk a mile in my shoes takes on new meaning, although I still cannot. At least I have a larger roof over my head, a bed, mosquito net etc. Food however is not something tempting. Guess I get to try the Haitian Typhoid diet.

Bad news 'on the water front'. AJ the water expert who came from New Jersey last week did numerous tests on our well. Some results not ready but basically we have human waste entering our well. Difficult to tell if from septics or from the kartye above us on the mountain. Rains wash everything down to and through our property. There is also an old cemetery directly above us where human bones lie within eyesight so should not be surprised by anything.

Water purification system is due to arrive whenever the current customs strike is over, although AJ did not like the one purchased and asked that it be upgraded for a more effective model. Would take more time but with the current strike we have time. We apparently have enough water, flow time was very good, so once clean, we will be able to distribute.

When that happens will find $$ to hire Dieugrand full time. Will also need to find containers in large quantities. He will then be director of Nutrition and water programs. Titles make such a difference.

Customs strike is affecting many. The supplies I shipped in Nov. were scheduled to arrive this Thursday. CASCO office tells me all ships are being sent back to departure port, leaving them holding goods as well as the bill for sending them twice. Also means we go without items needed.

Purchased 20 feet of new wire to replace what had been cut [by the lady next door during the storm] and diverted house line via a new route to deter Mme from cutting it down again. Had to ask another neighbor if we could use his house to re-route. Perfect opportunity for some one else to branch into ours. Our other neighbor had branched in again after I left for Canada end Sept.

Back to bed -- feeling quite [ill] especially the headache. See Dr. Bell again Sat. AM.

3 new cases of Malaria today and one new candidate for eyeglasses. Many finished writing exams so came today for referrals for consults. Auguste, Rosenie and Modeline all working in Direksyon (Education Office)So busy. Thank goodness for the energy and patience of these young people.

Jack's brother Wisky is working in his absence. He is on holiday from apprenticeship as the boss closed the garage for December. Great timing for us.

For information on Typhoid, see the Mayo Clinic (USA) Infectious Diseases pages.


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