The clinic in rural Haiti is a small stucco building with no electricity or running water. The temperature inside the clinic is 103 degrees, and there is no breeze. The examining-room walls are only seven feet high and afford no privacy.
This is my fourteenth trip to Haiti as a volunteer pediatrician. My twenty-fifth patient of the morning is a three-month-old infant named Joceylyn Marquee, who is completely swaddled in a dirty blanket and is carried in by her mother, Lucie.
“You ever work with vets?” asks the young man sitting across from me in the hospital waiting room.
He’s been sitting there all morning. So have I. Since 5:30 am, my father-in-law, age eighty-eight, has been undergoing surgery to remove a tumor in his lung. The surgeons just sent word that they’ve finished, and my wife and her mother have gone to the post-op room to see him.
Waiting for them to return, my wife’s sister and I have been talking about her son, who’s thinking of joining the Air Force.
“Warn him about the recruiters and their shiny promises,” I say. “Tell him they’re all a bunch of liars.”
“That’s for damn sure,” the man says.