A Visit to Bahon

Our guest blogger is, Sarh Curley, Nurse Educator for MFK.

 Rose Lourde is partnered with Monsieur Siliac, Haiti’s best healthcare agent. Siliac was born in Bahon and left only temporarily for training to become a health agent. He greets us every Tuesday morning. The malnutrition program runs out of his own backyard. Not exactly a clinic, but we improvise with handmade benches, a table and a sturdy tree branch to tie our hanging scale. Siliac has dedicated his entire life’s work to promoting the health of the children in his area. He is skilled at developing strong bonds with the families that come to seek help at his clinic and providing meaningful education.

On August 10th RoseCarline and myself met Siliac bright and early by the river that flows through the little village of Bahon. We finished a quick cup of coffee and then Siliac proceeded to roll up his pant legs, grab my arm, and across the river we went. Unfortunately our malnutrition program has recently lost some children to malnutrition. Our objectives for the day were to hike through the small chain of mountains on the West side of Bahon. The deaths of these children in our program deeply affect RoseLourdes and Siliac. Rather than becoming disheartened, Siliac seeks out more information, training, and help. RoseCarline and myself thought the best way to intervene would be to attend a mobile clinic with Siliac – a bi-weekly event for Siliac and a lifetime opportunity for myself. We wanted to add knowledge and skills to his health education repertoire and assess the children ourselves in this vulnerable section of the area. Once we crossed the river, we dried our feet, popped our shoes back on and started up the mountain.

Mobile clinics are truly the best way to promote population health. It is an opportunity to interact with the most remote populations as they carry out their activities of daily living. An opportunity to see the environment they live in and assess potential health needs. Siliac veers through many small trails, winding through the mountainside with his megaphone to announce a health agent and two nurses are here today to perform assessments and education for young families. Nearly everyone knows Siliac and gives him a warm welcome. Chairs and benches are always brought out as soon as the community hears his voice on the megaphone.

Seven hours of hiking up and down the mountains; in and out of homes; small assemblies of families in the village; education seminars; assessments and evaluations made for quite a full day. The afternoon rain showers made for quite the slippery and muddy descent back to the river. I was hungry and tired but Siliac assured us his wife had prepared a warm Haitian meal upon our return.

Being part of the Bahon malnutrition team has been truly inspiring. Delivering PlumpyNut to a very remote and difficult to access population is a trying task. Yet RoseLourdes and Siliac are a constant presence for these families and truly developing Haiti – one child, one family at a time.