Friday, February 24, 2006

Kooky Country

We are back from Port and Petionville.

Everything that happened today was weird, at least to an American.

The people we were taking to the hospital were here and ready at 6am like we asked them to be. We were ready at 6:08, which for this family; is very impressive.

So, the reason the family from our village asked Troy to bring them to the hospital ... they have a daughter about 18 year old, that is mentally ill. They have struggled with her illness for years. At one point they had medication that helped her, but the Doctor who prescribed it left Haiti and they ran out of money to pay for a new Doctor and new medicine. Each time we have seen her she seems okay, maybe a little out of it or odd but nothing too scary. Apparently she had been acting out violently towards her father and they gathered some funds to take her to this psychiatric hospital near the Palace, in downtown Port. They were scared to go in a tap-tap because she acts out at unpredictible times and they wanted the safety net of knowing that if she did, they could still keep their ride, and not risk getting kicked off the tap-tap.

All of our eyes bugged out this morning when we saw that they had tied her hands together for the ride. It was depressing. She did sing and shout at people along the way but they always seemed to get her under control. We were in the front, cab part of the truck and they rode in the back. It was just weird, and sad.

As we approached Port we realized that our timing to get to the vet was going to be tight. Troy decided to drop us at the vet then go to the hospital then come back to get us. That sounded fine until we got to the vet and I got scared. I just started thinking "what if he does not make it back to get us?" I envisioned myself standing with the dogs and the kids for hours (or daus) in this dumpy, weird little vet office in Petionville. It smelled like swine and burning trash. Three tears escaped my eyes and I asked Troy if he was really going to get back quickly. Ha, like he has any control over the crazy streets of downtown Port-au-Prince. Off he went and there I stood with two dogs and three kids. I laughed so I wouldn't cry. I chewed myself out for thinking ALL of us should go into town with Troy today. The idea seemed really bad in that moment.

So, we watch dogs go in and out and we wait our turn. One Rotweiller comes out and the owner lets go of the leash and he attacks Pouki while we scream and run away. That was great. The vet got totally ticked and made sure the guy who owned the Roteweiller knew he was not happy. Pouki seemed fine and Peanut just sat there shaking while we stared at each other trying not to freak out. Then our turn came. The vet speaks English. He has no personality or if he has one, he does not want anyone to know it. He answers all questions with one word, whether it answers the question or not; he seems limited to one word answers.

The sickest part, he does not wear gloves to examine the dog. Not even to touch the nasty south end of the dog. I thought it was disgusting. He seems to know what he is doing and gives both dogs shots and instructions and says Pouki is probably 2 years old and was just in heat and not pregnant. He gave 6 shots total, did two samples under a microscope and examined each dog for a total visit lasting 1 hour. The bill was $31.00 U.S. Maybe he keeps his costs low by skipping the latex gloves.

We witnessed a dead or dying (we could not tell) dog getting dropped off. The owner was crying and they had a guy come out with gloves to get the dead/dying dog. (They must save the gloves for dead dogs.) Paige wanted to watch, the rest of us turned the other way. Paige says "They're double bagging it!" Sometimes she has an odd sense of humor. :-) Again, you laugh at things so you don't cry!

Weird, weird, this place is weird.

Then we went and stood near his gate at the top of a sloping driveway. We stayed there until some other Rotweiller came around the corner and charged at us. After that we decided we were safer back inside his office. Troy called the office and asked to talk to me. He said "Hi honey, are you okay? I am on my way back to you, don't worry I know you are going to be okay." I thought "Yeah, we are totally safe from humans but we have almost been mauled by two different dogs!"

Troy got there shortly after that and looked so relieved. We were okay, sitting there watching the movie "Andre" (about a seal) in French, in the waiting room.

We went back to pick up the people from the hospital, which took two hours, and headed home. They were not able to tell us what was done for her but they seemed satisfied with the visit.

Port au Prince is beoming less and less appealing all the time. I like the village scene way more. Peace, quiet, no diesel fumes & less chaos all together. There are no pictures to go with this blog entry. Sorry to disappoint you, I really should have taken a picture at the vet.