Natalie and her team traveled to Haiti past May to realize her winning trip idea of the “I travel2…” challenge on Facebook. We are happy to share Natalie’s story.
Our group of veterinary students, a veterinarian and translator traveled to Thibeau, Haiti to spend two weeks working with local farmers and providing veterinary care for the community. Many Haitians rely upon the livestock they raise for food and income but are hindered from getting the most out of their animals due to environmental hardships, parasites, and a lack of knowledge of basic veterinary care. Our team worked with three local farmers – Rodney, Tiwil, and Fritz – to educate them about basic goat husbandry and to provide some basic veterinary care to their animals, including vaccinations and dewormers. The farmers were very receptive and eager to learn how to get their animals as healthy as possible. Fritz, a school teacher, even took on a sort of leadership role and helped translate some of the knowledge we gave him to the two younger farmers, Tiwil and Rodney.
In addition to working with the farmers, our team provided a 3-day veterinary clinic for the community. The first day we had already treated a greater number of animals than we had been expecting, but amazingly the word spread quickly throughout the nearby city of Cap Haitien that a team of foreign veterinary professionals were providing care for the local animals and each day the number of patients we saw increased until we had seen over 200 animals over the course of those three days.
Our interactions with the community did not only involve the animals. We also participated in some activities with the youth and nursing students of the university in Cap Haitien. We helped to teach the children about respect for animals and animal health and informed about the process of becoming a veterinarian.
Our trip had a great impact and the community was so gracious and receptive to our help. It was a great start to a growing relationship our group is fostering with the Thibeau community.