Haiti Vasectomy: The Last Day and The Haitian Mind Trick!
December 1, 2015
We awoke at 6am to complete our last day of vasectomy procedures in Haiti.
Previous article: Vasectomy Haiti: Afternoon Vasectomies then Happy Hour!
We packed our bags and ate breakfast. We were not sure if we were going to have any patients because we were returning to the same place the day before and we were not sure what the demand would be. We then got the call that 13 guys were waiting for their vasectomy procedures!
We loaded up the Toyota Cruiser, checked out of the hotel and headed back to the clinic. Today was my last day in Haiti and I would learn my most important lesson about how Haiti functions.
I would learn the Haitian way of coercing more donations from international aid groups. I call it the Haitian mind trick!
Haitian mind trick? A carefully orchestrated plan
When we got to the hospital we set up the room to start seeing the 13 patients who were waiting. The Haitian mind trick began.
We started performing vasectomy procedures in the well air-conditioned room until all the power suddenly went out.
We soon learned the newly purchased, newly installed, and absolutely brand new air conditioner was not working. It was stifling hot in the room. We asked why it was not working and we were told the hospital was on battery back up because of an electricity outage. The air conditioners were not on battery back up line because they require too much electricity and are not a necessity during an emergency or random power outage.
We asked the hospital administrator if they would run their diesel generator so we could have AC and continue with our vasectomy procedures. The hospital administrator then informed us the generator could not run because it was out of gas!
Of course we were told if we purchased gas for the generator then we could get it running again. To provide additional insight, our vasectomy mission group had already purchased a $600 air conditioner and the vasectomy mission team was paying the hospital a facility fee for each vasectomy performed. Now they wanted gas for their generator.
How the Haitian mind trick works
This is how the Haitian mind trick works: attract any aid group into the country, get from them what you can get, and then figure out a way to make them feel extra sorry for you and squeeze, even coerce, a little bit more from them. Often very sophisticated plans are used for the squeeze.
I was told a story that clearly illustrates the Haitian mind trick in operation. Keep in mind international aid is one of the top three industries in Haiti.
One important Haitian domestic organization purposefully keeps the main bathroom broken in an area where donors come to visit the organization. When donors visit the organization and ask to use the bathroom…they are directed to use broken bathroom.
The bathroom, I was told, is utterly disgusting and the toilet is filled to the rim with what toilets are typically filled with. When the donors leave the local organization they often donate extra money because of the deplorable conditions they witnessed. This is great example of the Haitian Mind Trick and how it works.
I found myself thinking if I lived in a developing country and people were constantly coming to help and donate…and then leaving me in desolation in my home country while they turned to a more comfortable lifestyle then I might do the same thing.
Breaking the mind trick and finishing vasectomy procedures
Drs. Suarez and Stein pitched a fit. They told the administrator the group was not going to pay for gas for the generator and we were leaving without performing the vasectomy procedures for the day.
We had a plane to catch in 3 hours and we did not have time for games. The hospital stood to lose out on the facility fees for procedures performed so they did have something to lose. We packed up our equipment and were ready to go to the airport. This was the doctor equivalent of a 2 year old temper tantrum.
Apparently some phone calls were made and the generator magically turned on. It seems as though the generator was not out of gas as we were informed. The generator turned on and we hammered out the remaining vasectomy procedures. We finished the vasectomies in under three hours and then we packed up as fast as we could and headed off for the airport.
We were cutting it close and we thought we were going to miss our flight. Thankfully the airport was only ten minutes away.
For the last and final article of this mission: Vasectomy Haiti: Returning Home With A Lot To Think About…
Help provide vasectomy procedures in the developing world by contributing to No Scalpel Vasectomy International.
You can donate directly through their website:
No-Scalpel Vasectomy International
For less than $50 you can help a man have a vasectomy procedure. In doing so he will be better able to provide for his family and their future.
Dr. Monteith is an OB/Gyn who supports NSVI and participates in vasectomy missions with the organization. Dr. Monteith participated in a NSVI sponsored vasectomy mission trip to Haiti. The first article about the vasectomy mission is Vasectomy Haiti: No Reservations
Dr. Monteith performs No-scalpel vasectomy in his office in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can learn more about his vasectomy practice: A Personal Choice: Vasectomy and Vasectomy Reversal