Our days started early in Haiti! We were up before the sun to the sounds of the roosters. After a quick breakfast and a cup of coffee we were out the door. The hour drive from Jeremie up the mountain the clinic site was one of the favorite parts of my day. The luscious, green rolling hills and the architecture in Jeremie were beautiful. 


As we drove up the mountain, people waved and called out “Bonjou, Doctor!” as our white truck rolled by. Kids in brightly-colored school uniforms smiled as they walked both up and down the mountain to their schools. When we finally reached the clinic site and crossed over the bridge, we were always greeted by benches full of waiting patients. Patients begin coming to the clinic the prior day, often spending the night sleeping on the wooden benches.


Each day at Centre de Sante de Gatineau (Gatineau Health Center) starts with prayer and song. Our registration clerk/chaplain, Adrien, welcomes all of the patients and gives a brief introduction to how the clinic operates. Cherlie and Dr. Wolf come out to greet patients next and go over some clinic guidelines. Our Avera team was also introduced at the start of clinic each day.





Dr. Wolf introduces some of our Avera volunteers (from left to right): Dr. Gilbert English, Kathy English, Nurse Practitioner Chelsea Western, and Dr. Rebecca Vande Kop.


Dr. Wolf introduces the rest of the Avera team (from left to right): Tracy, Kristi, Kari, Bevin, Dan, and Sharon.

Numbers are handed out to each patient waiting on the benches for a consultation. On average, forty numbers are given out each day. More than twice that number were seen with the additional Avera providers during our visit.  Patients returning for a follow-up with Dr. Wolf are placed directly in the rendezvous waiting area.





Each morning, before patients were called back for consultations, the Avera team led a brief dental education session. They explained proper oral hygiene and demonstrated brushing techniques. Each patient also received a new toothbrush.





Clinic operations begin for the day! Charts are pulled and patients begin lining up at the window to pay. Patients pay a small consultation fee to be seen at the clinic. 

When a patient’s number is called, they see one of the nurses first. Their vitals are taken and a basic assessment is completed.





After they see one of the nurses, patients wait to be seen by Dr. Wolf. With our Avera team at the clinic, patients were also seen by three other providers: Dr. English, Dr. Becky, and Nurse Practitioner Chelsea. Having extra hands allowed us to see between 85 to 100 patients each day!


Dr. Wolf exams one of the patients in our malnutrition program.

After patients are finished with their consultation or follow-up, they move to the bench outside of the pharmacy. Patients go into the pharmacy individually to pay for and receive their medications, along with instructions for how to take them.




Most of the day at the clinic is spent patiently waiting. The benches and yard always seem full of people waiting. Some nap in the shade while others visit the little food stand on the road outside of the clinic. Most spend time in conversation with one another.  Some patients spend a full day waiting for a spot on the bench just to be seen the next day. Their desire to receive quality medical care does not go unnoticed.

As clinic begins to wrap up for the day, people take their places to be seen for the next day. Adrien gives instructions to those waiting before the clinic is closed up for the day. Each day we left to already-full benches for the next day of clinic. On our very last day, our group paused for a picture on the clinic grounds. This was the only day we left to empty clinic benches since patients were not being seen at the clinic on Friday. It was a bittersweet end to an amazing week at Centre de Sante de Gatineau.


The Centre de Sante de Gatineau staff with our Avera team of volunteers: Dr. Gilbert English, Kathy English, Susan Calmus, Kristi Vos, Kari Wynia, Tracy Barton-Opdahl, Bevin Clapper, Dr. Rebecca Vande Kop, Chelsea Westerman, Sharon Haverty, and Dan Irvine.


I mean it when I describe our time at the clinic as inspiring. When you think about medical care in a rural mountain area of Haiti, you probably don’t picture a facility as expansive as what we have at Gatineau Health Center. Not only do we have a safe, clean, comprehensive medical facility to provide quality patient care in – we have a dedicated, compassionate staff. It is the people, both staff and patients, that make Centre de Sante de Gatineau an inspiring place. God has certainly blessed our ministry in Haiti beyond measure!

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  1. Kevin on October 15, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Always wonderful news. Thank you for your faithfulness.

    • friendsforhealthinhaiti on October 16, 2018 at 8:00 am

      Thanks for reading our blog and for your kind words!