Pining to Return to Haiti


STOP SIDA

STOP SIDA

I’ve been home from Haiti less than two weeks and I am already pining to go back! I have a few vaccine and HIV/AIDS stories I want to explore further and write about in-depth. That alone will take a few more short trips or one long trip. I also just want to see more of the country. Naive that I was before going to Haiti, I didn’t realize it is so mountainous. Plus, I didn’t get a chance to see any of Haiti’s beaches which is something on my next trip’s to-do list. There are a lot of stories to tell from Haiti.

I have written extensively about the time I spent with Hôpital Albert Schweitzer over at Social Good Moms, but I haven’t shared all of my photos just yet. As much as I have traveled for global health reporting, it was my first time really focusing on vaccines. Typically I concentrate on maternal health, agriculture and child health through improved health care. This was a welcomed change.

Here are a few photos from my time spent at a mobile clinic where children were given the polio and pentavelent vaccines and expectant mothers got vaccinated against tetanus.

Parents' health records

Parents’ health records

Immunization materials

Immunization materials


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21 Favorite Photos of Mothers From My Travels


It’s never lost on me how fortunate I am to travel often and to meet many, many mothers. I’ve said it many times before, being with mothers and their little ones is my favorite thing to do when I am visiting another country.

For Mother’s Day, I put together a list of my favorite motherhood photos from some of the countries I have visited. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed being with these moms and children.

Happiest Mother’s Day!

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Tanzania

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India

Haiti

Haiti

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Tanzania

Tanzania

Tanzania

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Tanzania

Zambia

Zambia


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Do You Know This Fruit Tree?


I have never lived in a state hot enough to have tropical fruit trees, so when I see fruit trees when I travel I am always awed by them. In Haiti there were fruit trees everywhere, especially mango, and of course, banana trees. In fact, I can’t believe I didn’t take any photos of mango trees at all.

All over Haiti you would see people with long sticks knocking mangoes out of the trees.

I ate so many delicious mangoes while in Haiti. I also ate tons of pineapple and watermelon. Fruit was our dessert every night.

But I didn’t see very many of this tree. Do you know what it is?

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It’s a grapefruit tree.

The grapefruits aren’t nearly ripe yet and are much bigger than they look in this photo. I loved seeing a grapefruit tree for the first time in my life.

In the Philippines I saw coconut trees wherever we went.

Coconut trees in the Philippines

Coconut trees in the Philippines

The same is true when I went to Tanzania.

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Coconut trees in Tanzania

Even though I didn’t see a jackfruit tree, I did see and taste jackfruit for the first time in Tanzania.

Jackfruit - Tanzania

Jackfruit – Tanzania

I took this photo of a fruit in Tanzania, but I have no idea what it is…perhaps peaches!

Mystery fruit. I have no idea what this is.

Mystery fruit. I have no idea what this is.

And in Ethiopia, I saw avocado trees and also a mystery fruit tree that I don’t know.

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Avocado tree in Ethiopia

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Mystery fruit tree in Ethiopia. Do you know what this is?

I’m actually quite fascinated by trees and flowers that I see while traveling. I don’t take nearly enough photos of flowers and trees when I’m abroad. I really should change that.

What You Can See on the Back of a Moto in Haiti


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As much as I travel it is amazing to me that the first time I’ve ever ridden a moto was last week in Haiti. It was my two-wheeled taxi each time I visited L’Hôpital Sainte-Thérèse with Midwives for Haiti.

The short ride over rocky, rural roads with frequent potholes of mud that the driver had to dodge was exhilarating and provided a much-needed respite from the stifling heat that spreads across Haiti as soon as the sun is at its highest. The only thing that could have made the ride better was sunglasses. I forgot mine back home and didn’t buy any while I was in Haiti. Every time a caravan of SUVs or big trucks passed, a tornado of dirt and sand was kicked into the air and made its way into my eyes. I really needed my sunglasses in those moments, but I managed.

What You Can See on the Back of a Moto in Haiti

I took these photos on the way to the hospital. It was one of the few times I had to really be outdoors and close to the roadsides where people live and work in their markets as I was quite busy until after five in the evening.

I loved seeing two women hang sheets out to dry on cactus plants one morning as we rode by.  It reminded me of the juxtaposition of both the simplicity of doing something mundane and everyday and the necessity of making sure the chore gets done.

What You Can See on the Back of a Moto in Haiti
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Postcards From Haiti: Moms and Their Babies


SONY DSCNo matter where I am in the world, my favorite thing to do is spend time with mothers and their little ones. From Tanzania and Ethiopia to India and the Philippines, seeing the interaction between mothers and their children feeds my soul. Mothers are the same everywhere.

This week I spent time in Hinche and Deschappelles, Haiti where I saw vaccine and midwifery programs. It was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with fellow mothers and take photos of their beautiful children.

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Read posts from my trip to Haiti:

My Sweet, Little Friends


I made fast friends with a cute, little three-year-old in Deschappelles, Haiti yesterday at a mobile health post put on by Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. Her name is Natasha. How do I know that? It’s because her mother kept calling her name time and time again telling her to stop getting into things. Although her mother spoke Creole, every mother on earth (no matter the language) understands when another mother is scolding her child. After her mom told her to stand still, Natasha would be good for a split second, twittering her thumbs waiting for the precise moment to break free again. And every time Natasha would sneak away and start getting into things. It wasn’t anything heavy – just being a precocious three-year-old with wide eyes and a zest for discovering new things and having fun under the Haitian sun.

About an hour after I was at the health post interviewing mothers and taking photos Natasha discovered me and my camera! So, of course, I took her picture. This one:

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And then I showed Natasha her beautiful face.

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Initial Impressions of Haiti


This morning I am waking up to roosters in Hôpital Albert Schweitzer’s lovely guest house on its campus about two hours north of Port-au-Prince. The others who are here are medical volunteers. I’m the only writer.

Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS) is a 24/7 nonprofit hospital serving 350,000 people in central Haiti. This morning I will visit the hospital as well as vaccine programs, then it’s back to Port-au-Prince I go!

Since there is no way for me to upload photos right now I will describe what I saw yesterday. Haiti, for all intents and purposes reminds me greatly of Africa — hot and sunny! The sun-baked, beautiful faces are the same. The way enterprising people set up stalls of foods and goods along the roads is the same. The splashing of Haiti’s primary cell provider is everywhere on road signs, stalls, and painted on concrete. It is the same. Here it is called Digicel. It’s like seeing Airtel everywhere in Africa. Everyone has a mobile phone just like Africa, maybe two!

There are also the ways that the children play in the streets and come up to your SUV looking for something, anything as soon as you stop. Some people were moving fast on the go and others were laying under mango trees with seemingly nowhere to go and nothing to do. And boys sell water to buses of people as they stop in between towns.

As we drove north I saw too much trash everywhere! Too much! But, where are people going to put it but down the mountain or outside of their home or in the trenches? The amount of standing water and sewage you can see in the alleyways where people live is the same, and, of course, all of the motorbikes with two and three people on them…it’s the same.

There are many similarities between Haiti and say, Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia. Many! But, of course, I have been here less than 24 hours and I have only seen the surface of Haiti. I have spoken to a few people in the little bit of French I know. I definitely don’t know Creole.

I cannot describe Haiti without sharing how beautiful the scenery was coming up the mountain. Around certain bends of the highways the sun shimmered on the ocean just so. It made me feel like I was on vacation in Jamaica, not coming for work in Haiti. The banana tree groves are thick, the mountains very steep, and mango trees are everywhere!

Last night when I went to bed the heat was sweltering. But just like Africa it gets cool at night and everything seems right in the world again.

More when I get to Port-au-Prince! I also will be tweeting today at @jenniferjames.