most obvious cracks and apply a fresh coat of paint. About half an hour before the health fair was scheduled to start, Joseph, my lead student, called me over to see the handyman. “I think he’s got typhoid,” Joseph said.
One glance confirmed Joseph’s diagnosis. The handyman was lying on the dispensary floor, sweating profusely and clutching his stomach in pain. Next to him was a foul-smelling pot of fish stew.
“Gather up the rest of the students, Joseph. We’ve got our first patient.”
I asked the students to find some Cipro, mix up some oral rehydration therapy, and start giving the antibiotic and the fluid to the patient. After they started treatment, I explained: “One picture is worth a thousand words. See that fish pot? We don’t see typhoid in the states anymore because of things we all take for granted—clean water, sanitation, and refrigeration. Here in Haiti, even in prosperous Labadie, there is no refrigeration. So our poor patient brought a pot of fish stew with him and tried to nurse it through his two days of work here. It’s a good thing we came when we did. He could have died. Joseph, check his vital signs every half hour and make sure he keeps up on his fluids. Everyone, let’s pick him up gently—his abdomen’s exquisitely tender—and move him to the back room, out of the way. We’ve got to get started. The line of patients already extends to the center of town.”
Joseph and I were the only bilingual members of the team. Joseph, being a Haitian-American second-year student was an invaluable resource. I had enormous confidence in him, as I knew him well. As a first-year student, he had been assigned to me in the clinical skills course. So he was my protégé. I actually didn’t have to teach him that much. He had intuitive people skills. He spoke French, Creole, and Spanish, fluently. He had only started learning English when he emigrated to the United States at the age of 14, so his English was marred by a heavy accent. When stressed, he stammered to find the right words, but it took a lot to stress him.
During Joseph’s first year, I had him work with Phil, whose