Monday, July 16, 2012

Being sick in Haiti

Being sick is not fun. Being sick in Haiti is especially not fun.

I've had my share of sickness while in Haiti - common colds, dehydration, GI issues, malaria, etc. I'm thankful that I've escaped (knock on wood) dengue fever.

Thankfully when I've been sick, I always have 1, 2 or 3 doctors at my disposal for a house call. It's so nice not to have to get up and go sit at a clinic for hours when you feel horrible. I know, I'm spoiled - that's not the reality for Haitians here.

I'm also spoiled in that if I'm really sick, I can ask for electricity so that I have a working fan and power for my computer so that I can watch movies to pass the time when I've been confined to bed and the bathroom for several days in a row.

What I love (?) about being sick in Haiti is that you always have people to take care of you. When I lived in Canada, I had my own apartment so I was on my own if I needed something. Not here.

Part of Haitian culture is that you visit people who are sick. Most people don't go to the hospital, but stay at home and once word gets around that you are sick, people start coming by. You always have to make sure you have a chair or two available to receive guests.

The first time I got really sick, it was with malaria. I felt like crap! But, visitors came so I had to receive them, no matter how I felt or looked! Guests don't stay for long, and often not much is said. They just sit with you awhile. It annoyed me at first, but now it is something I really appreciate. The last time I was sick, Cal's dad stopped by no less than 5 times a day to check on me and make sure I was eating! People go out of their way to make sure you know that they care about you - that doesn't happen as much in North American culture, unless you are seriously ill in the hospital.

Cal's dad has been sick for the past week and a bit. We think he is getting better now. He was confined to home, which is a huge deal as he is a farmer and walks out to his garden about 30 minutes away at least once a day to check on the cows and tend the land. We've been spending a lot of time helping to take care of him and pick up some of the tasks he usually does, which includes market shopping! Cal and I have made to market trips for ourselves and his family this week. I always appreciated what his dad did for us before, but know I do all the more! Besides going to the market twice a week, he is always stopping by with fresh bananas, mangoes, plantains, pineapples, etc. Little things, but so appreciated. The other day he asked if we were eating okay, he wanted to make sure we weren't suffering since he was sick. I assured him that we were eating just fine!

We are praying that he gets back to good health soon, not just so he'll go to market for us, but so that we can enjoy our last few weeks with him before we go.

No comments: