News / Americas

Speaking Creole on the 'Comfort'

US Navy hospital ship 'Comfort'
US Navy hospital ship 'Comfort'

Multimedia

Audio

The U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort, currently en route to Haiti, has treated patients in the region before. Medical personnel who have personal connections to Haiti are preparing fellow shipmates for what is ahead.

There are more than 550 medical professionals on the hospital ship Comfort.  One of them is Haitian neurologist Mill Etienne.  He grew up in New York, and his parents spoke Creole around the house.  Now he is on his way to Port-au-Prince, the now-devastated city where he was born.

For him, the mission is intensely personal.  "Last I spoke to my mom was right before we left.  She was just overjoyed about me going down there, crying on the phone," he said.

He said one of his nieces was missing for a day, and a cousin was found alive after two days buried beneath rubble.  The discovery prompted excitement and another wave of concern for those not found.

That concern is shared by surgical-tech Hospital Corpsman Yves Henry on the Comfort.  He grew up on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, where his grandmother still lives.  "My mom, she finally got in contact with my grandma, and they told her that she is okay, so we are happy.  No, the rest of my family we have not heard from yet, so we are just praying and hoping they are all okay," he said.

He found out about his grandmother while he was aboard the Comfort.  He says his thoughts are with the many people in Haiti who cannot find their family members right now and what he can do to help them.

Henry says he is proud to be in the U.S. Navy and he praised it for its quick response to help the people of Haiti.  "Whichever, whatever job necessary that they want me to do, translate or work as a surgical tech or whatnot.  I am here to do whatever necessary to help," he said.

Translators will be boarding the ship once it arrives in the vicinity of Haiti.  The Comfort's director of nursing, Commander Mark Marino, told medical staff that translators will be available 24 hours each day.  "But even then, 100 translators amongst possibly 800, 900, even 1,000 patients, rotating shifts is going to be a super challenge.  Just be prepared for that as well.  You may have to wait to do something until you can get a translator," she said.

Doctor Etienne says there are about 15 people of Haitian-descent aboard the Comfort.  They have been gathering in the mornings to discuss ways to teach the staff about Haitian culture and history.

"When you are delivering medical care, one of the most important things is to have appropriate communication and understanding.  And that is what we are trying to do right now," she said.

Each day, a Creole phrase is printed on the ship's schedule so the staff can introduce themselves and communicate with the patients they are dedicated to helping.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Mexico Launches Special Police Force to Guard Economic Activity

New 5,000-member force will be part of federal police, and it will focus on protecting agriculture, mining, and oil and gas production against criminal groups
More

Colombia Army, Rebels Meet Face-to-Face at Peace Talks

Sit-down in Havana, Cuba, is first time in 50-year conflict that active-duty officers, FARC members have talked peace together
More

Peru's Congress Fails to Ratify Humala's New Cabinet

Key conservative allies withheld their votes, failure underscores president's waning political power as economy slows
More

US Judge Calls Argentina Debt-Swap Plan 'Illegal'

But, Judge Thomas Griesa stopped short of holding country in contempt, saying that would not help resolve dispute that led to nation's second default in a dozen years
More

Brazil Presidential Race Gets One More Candidate

Environmentalist Marina Silva to join contest for Socialist Party candidate; vote to be held October 5
More

Guatemalan General Killed in Copter Crash Near Mexico Border

General Rudy Ortiz was among five people killed; cause under investigation; weather said to have been possible factor
More