I arrived in Haiti with some “book knowledge” of the country’s history, the impact of its earthquake five years ago, and its current political, economic and social challenges. Like an armchair quarterback, though, I had no idea of the realities in the field. My senses were overwhelmed. My initial impressions are still a jumble of words, phrases and images that hit me: goats in the garbage; rubble or the beginnings of renewal; color, color, color; chaos, activity, energy; life lived on the street curb; pigs, urban pigs; activity and idleness side by side; social engagement; community.
We had a full and rewarding visit to the C2C clinic in the village of Camp Coq, where I found three crucial components. First, the local Steering Committee is comprised of respected men and women in the community. We heard from them about the value the clinic provides to Camp Coq and the opportunities they see ahead.
Next is the clinic. It is well situated near the school and church in the village, well maintained and clean, well designed, well equipped, and well stocked. The valued, local staff members are special. A professionally trained Haitian team provides clinical services and education at the clinic and in the community. We listened as these individuals spoke confidently about their roles and with pride in their contribution to this community.
Finally, the C2C model is so special because of local community support and involvement. We met patients and heard their personal stories. Among the numerous messages they communicated, two themes stayed with me: 1) the convenience and efficiency of access to local care, and 2) their comfort and confidence with the local staff.
Although this is a small, rural village in an exceedingly poor country, this is a vibrant and engaged community. Community members were generous with their hospitality, patient with our travel delays, and appropriately proud of the village’s hallmarks, including the clinic and their library. Camp Coq appeared to be a supportive and inclusive village, and the C2C clinic fits right in. I really value having had the experience to see the C2C model in action. I’m excited about C2C’s plans to bring its unique model of sustainable primary healthcare to new communities in the developing world.