Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday in Haiti

Fun in the sun, the hot, hot sun continues. The clinic, with Monica at her chair, continues to see patients. Audrey did exams on more than 500 children today at St. Pierre School. The flouride team treated more than 700 students. This is one sign of the earthquake's effects ... the people coming in from Port-au-Prince to move in with relatives in the country bring their children and swell the schools.

Eric is still hanging lights in the orphanage. He was playing soccer with the kids yesterday and took a spill in the gravel, cutting his chin. This morning there were at least three docs examining and irrigating the wound. He is fine.

I was with Doug on the away team today. We went to the school and church at Trianon, where more than 250 people came through to see the doctors. Until 2 p.m., I was the keeper of the door, and only once channeled my inner Roger Matthews. Young men were trying to slip into the line ahead of crippled old people and feverish babies, so I had a good yell at them, with the help of an interpreter.

In the afternoon, Audrey and I -- along with some other folks from the flouride team -- continued our English conversation sessions with teenagers and young adults from the St. Pierre church. A young man I have known for three trips now -- Alexei, really led the sessions. He is a wonderful teacher.

And here is part of the real damage of the quake. Once you acknowledge the terrible losses of life and limb, the long-range effects on these young people are going to doom a generation. Alexei is 24. The past two trips he has told me of his deep desire to attend university and become an Episcopal priest. Thanks to Pere Jeannot, he had taken ONE SEMESTER at university, beginning last fall. The university is now destroyed, with no immediate plans on how to restart, and Alexei is back in Mirebalais with nothing to do.

Or the girlfriend of Dr. Tony, the HOM clinic dentist. She has been helping in the dental suite this week. She was ONE SEMESTER away from graduating as a full-fledged dentist. And now she is in Mirebalais, almost a dentist, but not quite, with nothing to do.

There are also lingering stresses. One of our drivers, Isaiah, lost his wife in the quake. He is now a single parent of five little children. Pere Jeannot's wife jumped from a balcony with their three children as the building fell. Her injured foot is almost better, but she still refuses to sleep indoors. The backyard of the rectory is a little campground of tents. When the wind blows, suddenly and hard, everyone at the clinic gets nervous, because apparently there was a sudden wind just before the quake, and everyone is afraid it will happen again.

Everyone is grateful for prayers. But soon it will be time to begin to imagine solutions for some of these problems. As the Rev. Lauren Stanley told us last month, Haiti is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Some of this will require lots of money, lots of ingenuity, and lots of commitment over a long time to repair.

+ Kit


  1. Excellent report, Kit. Thanks for taking the time to post...

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