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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters 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.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Relatives Doubt 42 Men Died in Mexico Ranch Shootout

The lopsided death toll and photographs from the scene in which bodies appeared to have been moved have raised questions
More

Pope Beatifies Murdered Salvadoran Archbishop

Hundreds of thousands of worshippers converge on Salvadoran capital to witness papal declaration for late Oscar Romero - now one step from Roman Catholic sainthood
More

Scores Killed in Western Mexico Gunfight

Officials say almost every person killed in Michoacan state shootout was a suspected gang member
More

Latest US-Cuban Talks Ends in Washington

Both sides cite progress on restoring diplomatic ties, but no final agreement reached
More

Tutu Lends Support to Age Campaign

Help Age International has launched Action 2015 campaign
More

Colombia Kills 18 FARC Rebels

The bombing raid took place in the Cauca region of western Colombia
More