Day 8

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we've made a hospital.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we've made a hospital.

The last night at Jude Anne was quiet, by all accounts. By the time I arrived at Solidarité this morning, staff were in the process of retrieving the last things from Jude Anne. Patients are coming, registering, waiting in the waiting room. Normal hospital things are happening almost as if they have always happened here.

Our inpatient ward was nearly full. I asked them to start sending the post-partum and post-operative patients upstairs, since it had not happened last night. We started organizing to get Pediatrics upstairs to their designated corner also. I figure the settling in, shifting, arranging, will continue for quite some time, some of it planned, some of it organically. There are still boxes to unpack. Some furniture is... not quite lost, but not quite locatable, either. It's all the more confusing because we have used some pieces temporarily in other services, so now we have to trade and rearrange back so that each service has more or less what used to belong to them.

I returned to Jude Anne late morning, to pack the tiny administrative office we had there. I'd been putting it off: the office is dusty and full of miscellaneous crap. One of the Haitian logisticians was also at Jude Anne, disconnecting all the batteries and inverters, and loading leftover everything into cars to take to Solidarité.

Jude Anne is really and truly empty. It is stunning to finally see this, given that it was so recently full to bursting, with perhaps 100 patients, 50 staff, 30 visitors, and all the furniture and equipment that we were using. Empty, it is clear what a small building it really is. It had been a 35-bed hospital at the beginning, and it really is only big enough for a 35-bed hospital. Empty, Jude Anne is a marked contrast to what it is when packed full. It is also vastly different than Solidarité, which is cavernous and tranquil by comparison.

Yesterday, I was sitting under the mango tree outside of the office at Solidarité, thinking. I think I was thinking about medical supply, stocking, and security: a difficult subject. People kept coming to ask me questions – I am nothing but everything, or perhaps just the central repository of hospital information. The shade of the mango tree is cool and peaceful. And then, a mango fell. It was small but perfectly shaped, and ripe. It is good for labour to have a fruit.