Monday, October 11, 2010

Gound Zero

October 7, 2010

I’m winding down after another busy day.  We opened up a clinic next to a tent city here in Bon Repos.  We were able to stop at a pharmacy to get supplies on the way.  We walked into a small pharmacy.  It was maybe 10 ft by 10 ft and had an array of odd supplies.  We even saw other people’s prescription medications there.  Bizarre.  We were able to get some worm medicine and other supplies in hopes to make today successful.

We had an open structure to set up camp in.  So we set up, just like yesterday, but with a lot fewer supplies.  Once again, the people were very gracious and appreciated any help we could give them.  We saw a big need for eyeglasses, but didn’t have any.  Maybe on future mission trips, this is something we can include.  We were able to give everyone at least a bar of soap and bottle of water, and we could tell that they appreciated that as well. 

In what must have been some of God’s work, we ran out of supplies and patients almost simultaneously.  We worked for about 3 hours and saw over 100 patients, so I’m gonna mark that as a productive day.  The heat was more tolerable today, with overcast skies and the breeze going through the open structure really helped. 

After we cleaned up, we took a stroll through the tent city.   Let me tell you, Haitians know how to make the most out of a tent.  These were elaborate structures and impressive, but still cannot compare to a house or even shack.  We started to hand out candy to the kids, as well as our remaining hygiene supplies.  Again, we had to make a quick exit, as the people came quickly looking for goods.

By now, we had traded our trucks back for our bus, so the fun of riding in the back of the pickup was over.  We made a quick stop for drinks; a lukewarm sprite and the most delicious thing I could imagine at that point, and made our way into downtown Port Au Prince.  We drove past the epicenter of the earthquake continued to be in awe of the damage the quake has caused.

As we drove through a pile of rubble, Pastor Ron told us that it used to be a 7 story building- the post office. As we continued further into downtown, the piles of rubble just grew and grew.  It’s disheartening to know that there are most likely still hundreds (at least) of bodies buried under there.  As we looked out at the busy market, I was reminded of the hustle and bustle of Times Square in NYC.  The idea of an earthquake occurring and all these buildings becoming demolished in a matter of seconds was horrifying as I imagined how many people died in this very spot.  I immediately compared it to the NYC Ground Zero. 

The next stop was the National Palace - our version of the White House.    The second level had fallen into the first floor.  The image of this happening to in Washington DC brought me close to tears. 

We then stopped at the “markets” for a little souvenir shopping.  I’m thinking we must have stood out, because the high pressure sales were in full force.  After much bargaining, I got a few things.  I’m now the proud owner of some beautiful painted canvases, as well a handmade drum for the boys.  I can’t wait to show them, and even more, give them a great big hug.

Today was a weird day for me…as we were driving by the miles and miles of tent cities, something changed in me.  I don’t even know what to write.  I want to say I fell in love with Haiti, but that doesn’t sound right.  Maybe it sounds better to say that I know that I will leave a peace of my heart in this country.  It’s a weird feeling, but one that I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life.

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