The youngest HELP student in medical school at Haiti’s prestigious University of Notre Dame, Lourdwige returned to Port-au-Prince a month after the earthquake to start her orthopedics internship at a local hospital.The upperclassman student probably wouldn’t have returned otherwise, she says. “If I was in first or second year, I would have stayed away. I’m having a really hard time accepting the situation. But I’ve come this far, and I want to finish school.”
Indeed, Lourdwige is so devoted to medicine that, while others took personal effects like jewelry before fleeing their houses when the earthquake struck on January 12, 2010, she rescued her medical books from the rubble. “I love books,” she says. “Thanks to HELP, I have my own medical library. I always show off my new acquisitions when people come to visit.”
A native of Cap Haïtien in northern Haiti, Lourdwige is a natural leader, participating in meetings about her university’s future and heading up her internship group. She has yet to decide on her area of specialization, because each course teaches her something new. Lourdwige is anxious to get some real-world experience to go along with her stethoscope. “How to handle the parents of a sick child isn’t something you can learn in a book,” she says.