Montalais is the most remote mountain village in which we
work. It is a 9 mile hike from the main road and sits upon a
high, red mountain. Due to its location, the area is
lush. It rains almost every day. The days are warm but
the nights are very pleasant and cool; excellent sleeping
weather. The views are spectacular!
The hike is easier now due to the "road" which was built by
hand. Montalais is accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicles but
the trucks do take a beating. We minimize the trips necessary
by vehicle so most of the teams still make the hike. Despite
the road the hike is tough due to the steep, rocky, rugged
conditions and the heat.
The trip is definitely worth it though. The people of
Montalais are appreciative of the fact that we bring the clinic to
them. We are always welcome with big smiles and open
arms. The hospitality is second to none, even in this very
humble setting. The director, or mayor, of the town, Estime,
is a true gentleman who is genuinely concerned about his people,
even when corruption is still present in Haiti.
Montalais is two buildings. A small guest house is where
we eat, bathe, and where the interpreters usually sleep. The
church, which is massive, is where we hold clinic and sleep.
It also functions as a school and town hall. It is mind
boggling to think that such a large structure was built by hand and
that the supplies came in from the main road before vehicles could
access the town.
Once we set up the clinic, each day is full and busy, from
sunrise to sunset. The clinics are getting busier and most of
the church benches are full of people to be seen all day
long. Each doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant
sees about 100 people a day. Common ailments include
hypertension, diabetes, worms, scabies, anemia, malnourishment,
fungal infections and gastrointestinal issues. Unfortunately
we usually cannot see all the patients that come to the clinic,
some walking hours to be seen. We are there for 3 or 4 days
but time is still short. However, the people are less
desperate and encouraged by the fact that we will return in 6
months. Montalais is fantastic!
Friends of Haiti is a
501(c)(3) non-profit organization
PO Box 1174 | Green Bay, WI 54305 |