Nurses in this area rarely encounter cholera, but one nurse from York County has treated nearly 5,000 patients for cholera in the past year and a half.
Sarah Grosh, an RN from Hellam Township, has been living and volunteering in Haiti since September 2010, nine months after the earthquake.
She graduated from Malone College with her bachelor of science in nursing degree in May 2010, and decided to pursue mission work to use her nursing skills.
"I wasn't necessarily looking for an adventure, since traveling has never been one of my dreams, but I still felt like I wanted something different before I moved back home," said Grosh, 23.
Post-earthquake Haiti provided her with plenty of patients who desperately needed her care. She was thrown into the work during a cholera outbreak one month after she had arrived.
She originally went to Haiti on an assignment with Eastern Mennonite Missions.
Different roles: The clinic she was working at in Saint-Marc received two Global Disaster Immediate Response Team (DIRT) members to assist. When that clinic closed in November, Grosh moved to Port-au-Prince to work with DIRT, and now serves as medical director for DIRT's Haiti project.
"Haiti is recovering, but very slowly," she said. "This is not to sound callous, but the earthquake was just another in a long line of hits to the country."
Physical effects are still
evident in the crumbled buildings, rubble piles and tent cities, said Grosh, but even more mental damage remains.
"About two weeks ago there was a small earthquake and, obviously, people were petrified," Grosh said. "After the shaking stopped -- it lasted only seconds -- people refused to sleep in their homes."
Haiti: She describes Haiti as a place that is full of contradictions.
"It's beautiful and it's disgusting. The people love me and they hate me," Grosh said. "People here have so much dignity. They always look their best to go out, and they take care of what little they have. I've watched women sweep stones off the dirt in front of their door."
Initially Grosh stayed in an area where she had to draw water from a cistern to bathe, flush toilets and wash dishes, but she has since moved into a home with running water, drained by gravity from large tanks on the roof of the house. Electricity is usually on for three to four hours per day.
Family: Her parents, Jim and Lorie Grosh, of Hellam Township, visited in March.
"Both of us thought the city was very chaotic," said Lorie Grosh, explaining that there are 3 million people in Port-au-Prince, a city of approximately 13 square miles.
She said they are very proud of their daughter for her bravery and the role she has played in developing a EMS system in Haiti and teaching Haitian people about basic life support skills.
"Naturally we miss having her here at home, but we are very supportive of the decision she has made to live there," Lorie said. "Our faith in the Lord and knowing that he cares for her are what help us cope with her being there."
To help in the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti, donations can be made to DIRT online at www.globaldirt.org. DIRT also offers a mobile medical care program, and anyone interested in volunteering can apply at the website.
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or email@example.com.