Braden, of St. Joseph Family Medicine in Bryan, was recently part of a 21-member, medical mission team to Haiti.
St. Joseph’s sponsors, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio helped organize the group, which was a joint effort among Sylvania Franciscan Health, Lourdes University College of Nursing, Mt. Carmel Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and many generous donors.
Dr. Braden’s traveling companions included: nurse professors, a nursing student, a dentist, an ER physician, a pharmacist, an internal medicine physician, family medicine doctors and residents, a civil engineer and a mechanic.
“We had a lot of car trouble and needed the mechanic the most!” said Braden. “We had to change a flat tire every day to the point where we ran out of spares.”
The team was stationed for six nights at a guesthouse of Sister Josephine (Jo) Dybza and Sister Fidelis Rubbo, both of the Order of St. Francis, in the mountain village of Ferrier. Ferrier is a bumpy, 10-hour car ride to the southwest part of the country and about 180 miles from Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. Port-au-Prince was badly damaged during a deadly, 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010.
The sisters have been working in Ferrier and the nearest small coastal town, Pestel, since 2001. The area is poor, even by Haitian standards. The region suffers from Cholera, lack of clean water, malnutrition, parasites, TB, malaria and AIDS.
Sisters Fidelis and Jo identified four nearby villages and each day the team set up a makeshift clinic in a local school building.
“It was very rural, the villages had a few hundred people and others would walk in from the hillside or mountain,” said Braden.