October 4, 2010
This is gonna be a looooooooooooong one!
Slept good last night, so I knew that today would be a great day! We started out the day with a good breakfast of eggs. I really enjoyed the protein!
We then went through Port Au Prince on our way to Mother Teresa Children’s Hospital. It’s amazing to see what was destroyed and what was not by the earthquake. It’s like buildings just collapsed. I know that is what happened, but it’s so hard to explain. The walls seem to have just given way and everything fell straight down. I can’t even imagine how they can ever clean it up. I have a hard time even trying to figure out where they would take the debris. Space is limited on an island. So limited, that they burn trash whenever and wherever. It’s not uncommon to come across the smell and site of burning trash. It’s something you can never forget.
We then got to the Hospital. This hospital was actually founded by Mother Teresa herself! It is unexplainable. There are children lined up in cribs, all very malnourished. The lack of nutrition has caused multiple other problems in most cases. These poor kids not only had little or no hair, they had multiple skin lesions, fevers, severe colds and many other aliments. This location is run by 2 nuns and they are amazing human beings. It’s heartbreaking to walk in there and see the site. We weren’t allowed to take pictures out of respect for the patients. It’s sad, because I have no way to properly express the situation. The children beg to be held, and once you do, it’s impossible to put them back in their crib. Some children are not only clinging to you, but clinging to life itself.
We went to get some food after this visit and came across a nice surprise…a real restaurant with real air conditioning! I had pizza, fries and yet again another coke. It was a glorious meal!
We traded our bus in for a couple of rental vehicles for our trip to the mountains. We rode in the back of a truck and let me tell you---you haven’t seen Haiti until you’ve seen Haiti in the back of a pickup truck! The ride was unlike any adventure I’ve had. The good news is that the trucks are made for riding in the bed, so have built in hand rails. I held on for dear life. There aren’t really rules for driving in Haiti, so it is rather unpredictable. And did I mention there aren’t really paved roads either? We traversed traffic, potholes, pedestrians, goats, more potholes all while speeding up only to slam on the breaks. Then the rain came. And not a little sprinkle, but a huge massive tropical downpour. We were drenched in a matter of seconds. But we had an unexpected blast and I wouldn’t trade that experience for a million dollars.
It was also very unsettling to see how the rain affected the Haitians. They have nowhere to go when it rains. We saw masses of people running down the street to look for cover, then we saw even more people huddled into any overhang they could find. We passed a gas station that must have had 1000 people under the awning. I have never thought about not being able to find shelter when it rains, but for these guys, that’s an almost daily occurrence. We came across a few people affiliated with the orphanage, so picked them up as well. By the time we pulled up to the orphanage, we had 10 people crammed into the back of an S-10.
I forgot to mention what happens to traffic when it rains. It stops. Vehicles were breaking down, roads were completely underwater and there is no room to go anywhere. And then once we broke free, it got cold. Going 60 mph in a back of pickup truck soaking wet will cool you off fast! But again, I can’t begin to explain how enlightening it was!
When we got back to the orphanage, we were asked to start an IV on our sick girl from yesterday. They took her to the doctor and he suspects Typhoid. So Tony, amazing Tony, got an IV in her and we gave the prescribed antibiotic, along with some fluid. It was amazing to be able to give her this treatment that otherwise she would go without.
I felt that maybe I was helping today, although I still feel frustration that I can’t do enough. I will never be able to do enough and that is a tough pill to swallow.