Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Sunday, January 30th
***I think all my other dates off been off.  Whoops!****

Slow day! I learned from my last trip to appreciate these days, so I did.  We played some games and got to know each other a bit more.  In fact, I’m not so sure I wanted to know all I found out! J

 It wasn’t all fun and games today though, as we did go over to the hospital that serves this large tent city.  It includes room for 8 “admits”, a maternity unit, triage, womens’ care clinic, a pharmacy in a container, and an isolated Cholera clinic. We didn’t go in the Cholera area as there was only one patient and he was being well attended to.  Once you enter, you must go through a rigorous washing procedure before exiting, so we 
steered clear for today and saved some highly valued water.

Luckily, for the residents, the hospital was patient free.  We did see a girl come in with a leg wound from sheet metal who was tough as nails.  Her gash was at least an inch wide and she barely was crying.  These kiddos are tough.  Sheet metal is used in almost every tent here.  I thought it was a miracle the hospital wasn’t full of more of these injuries.  I also wonder what the tetanus immunization stats are here.

As I stated yesterday, the organization is experiencing a great transformation these days.  They have been so successful in training and educating the Haitian nurses and doctors that we have become much less needed.  Instead of doing procedures and administering care to patients, volunteers now serve as mentors. It’s really phenomenal and a large step toward making Haiti more self-sufficient.

We then got a tour of the tent city.  It’s probably a little more than a square mile and more than the mind can comprehend.  More than 55,000 Haitians call this area home and keep it in pristine condition.  The Army Corps of Engineers and UN helped design a drainage and trench system in the hilly terrain.  It makes for a very thought out development of sorts- not a development that I could ever imagine living in, but a development none the less.

I wish I could have a tape recorder to document the sounds of a tent city.  It’s not that I heard unusual or abnormal sounds; it’s just that the sounds are so close together.  It’s absolutely indescribable.  Within five footsteps I heard celebratory music, laughter, yelling, crying and the standard hustle and bustle of everyday life.  It’s almost over stimulating in a way.  I wonder if these dwellers ever get a moment of silence.  I wonder if they ever get to hear what I’m hearing now, nothing  but the sound of my pen on paper and the occasional buzz of a mosquito.  I wonder how they would respond if that moment ever were to occur.

As we were walking, it was common for children to run out and yell, “Blan! Blan!” which means “white person” in Creole.  It reminded me of my mountain trip were kids would run out from a thick forest and point at the strange white people riding in the back of a truck. Those memories put me through such an array of emotions and I hope they always stay this fresh and vibrant. 

Part of me wants to yell back words such as “survivor” “inspirational” and “amazing” to these folks.  Sometimes it seems that they are in awe of us (and my skin’s amazing ability to turn red in an instant), but it seems so unwarranted.  I don’t think there are many of us that could survive these conditions for over a year and still have that sparkle in their eyes.  I am in awe of them.

We had a house meeting tonight and were updated on the plans for the week.  We have heard the Haitian gov’t is supposed to make an announcement regarding the election sometime this week.  Last time an announcement was made regarding the election, rioting ensued and all the volunteers were put on lockdown.  We were told to be prepared for similar results and to have a “go bag” ready in case of an evacuation.

I’m prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best!

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