Canadian Medical Teams Helping Out in Haiti

Monthly Archives: February 2015

Bangladesh, Day 3

Thanks to all who sent well wishes and thoughts on yesterday’s post. It really does mean a lot to me and re-energizes me in so many ways.

Today was better.

We visited Dhaka which has approximately 15 million people so it was a dense day, dense in every sense of the word.

We travelled throughout Dhaka to the older part of the city to visit a SAJIDA hospital. It was without a doubt one of the more interesting drives I have taken. There were more rickshaws and other forms of transportation than I could have dreamed existed.  On the way home, it took us 2-3 hours to travel a short distance through what I can only describe as an ocean of people, not waves, or groups, but constant people side by side, rickshaw by rickshaw for kilometres.

When we got to the hospital, we had several presentations and discussed with how Broken Earth and SAJIDA could collaborate.   They have the equipment and skills, but need more education and support. I think that is where we could help. They average 3-4 C-sections per day, but need more training in infant resuscitation, a course we could teach them. Then they can pass on that knowledge.

Following that we ran a busy clinic with the help of local doctors and nurses.  It was incredibly rewarding to work along side such remarkable people, to work with, and learn from them.

From the clinic into the operating room, where Dr. Rideout helped change the fate of child who may otherwise have gone through life with just three fingers.

We met one patient yesterday who was born with no legs and only two fingers on one hand.  He lives in rural Bangladesh, and despite his perceived disability, he is a successful farmer (farming the land himself), husband and father.   He was so thankful to see us, he demanded to visit with us tonight to sing us a song of appreciation.

In many ways this place is different than Haiti, but the human spirit, hope and determination to help those in need is a universal tenet, it just gets clouded sometimes.

Speaking of Haiti, I was extremely saddened to hear of the loss in Haiti yesterday. 18 people killed, celebrating Carnival, our thoughts and prayers are with our Haitian families and friends.

Best,

Andrew

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Bangladesh, Day 2

It’s 3:30 in the AM and I can’t sleep.   I thought it was the time change, but I can’t stop thinking about the sites of today.

The city is intensely dense. At 20,000 people per square km, there isn’t a lot of room.  But the roads and infrastructure are good, and we feel safe.

We began the day by touring a facility for “pavement dwellers.”  These are people who literally lay on the street at night. No cover overhead, no blankets, no place to call home. In fact, they do not even exist in the eyes of the government (no name, no address, no citizenship).   I initially wondered why they were not referred to as the homeless until I saw the pictures.  People just putting their heads down directly on the pavement at the end of the day.  500,000 of them. 100,000 in Dhaka. One third of them are kids. Even typing this I can’t believe those numbers.

But there is hope. Our host has created an amazing institute to help some of these people, especially some of the kids.  We arrived to 100 singing kids wishing us well. They sang and danced and did a presentation. They were interactive, alive, engaged, like they had new life because of the help that was being provided for them.   Still, this institute only looks after around 11,000… there is still so much to do.

What I saw in the afternoon was what has been keeping me up. We visited a combination clinic and school.  The school was amazing and there were more pavement children there to get protection and education. But when we did clinic, we saw patient after patient who were young women in the sex trade, all of whom were asking to have the scars on their face revised, all had been cut in the same fashion on both cheeks. I had to bite down on my own outrage. Horrific, gut wrenching, sickening, sad, anger… I felt so many things at once that I can barely think of the words to describe it.

One girl was 12.

She had scars on both cheeks, and one across her neck.  12 years old… 4 years older than my Maggie.  She should be in grade 7. Instead, she is begging for us to help take the symbols off her face. She sat there in silence as we explained there was nothing we could really do for her. She sat still for a while with blank eyes. As she got up, you could see she was at least 6 months pregnant.

I gotta be honest. I didn’t see this coming and my heart truly hurts tonight. Just want to shake the planet and yell what the hell is wrong with us?

Gonna go see if the gym is open. I can’t sleep and I need to work off some frustration.

– Andrew

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If someone asks for help

I didn’t want to come here. Bangladesh. I had a lot on my plate between work and Haiti and finding time in between to be a husband and a dad. A friend of mine had approached me a while back to come and assess their charity and explore where they can improve and how Broken Earth could use its skills to help improve theirs.

I was being selfish.

I justified it to myself that I was trying to protect the resources we have for Haiti. But as quick as I said no, it struck me why we went to Haiti in the first place…

if someone asks for help and you are able, you should.

I thought about the opportunities that could exist with Broken Earth in a different country without changing our focus from Haiti.  It struck me that we could offer to support teaching and education while not diluting our efforts to the people of Haiti.

Frankly if I had stopped and thought about the work, the risks and the sacrifices prior to going to Haiti, I don’t know if I would have gone in the first place. But I did. I’m glad I did. I’m proud of how many of us have now chosen to go.

I have often dreamed what mountains lie beyond Haiti, what tasks and opportunities would present themselves next. I never dreamed it would be Bangladesh, but then again, I had never dreamed of Haiti either.

Please stay tuned as this journey begins. Like that first trip to Port-au-Prince in 2010, I have no doubt that it will be an eye-opener and I really want to share the experience with you.

Best,

Andrew

Bangladesh Exploratory Mission

Dr. Andrew Furey and Dr. Art Rideout are on their way to Dahka, the capital city of Bangladesh, for an exploratory mission at the SAJIAD Charitable hospitals.

They will conduct an assessment of the charitable hospitals and determine opportunities to help with training and education. TBE remains committed to Haiti as a first priority but when other regions and institutions reach out for our help and guidance, we look for ways to create opportunities that do not deflect from our commitment to Haiti while helping others in need around the globe.

Thank you for your continued support. Through Facebook, Twitter and our website, we will share updates from Dr. Furey and Dr. Rideout.

Contact us at info@brokenearth.ca