Today was very emotionally draining and the extent of what we saw is just beginning to set in. Quite frankly, I’m not sure it ever “sets in” but I guess you begin to digest it. We went to Jerusalem, a tent city about 40 minutes outside of Port-au-Prince. You basically take a left off the road into a field and you’ve entered the maze of dirt roads called Jerusalem. I’m not sure how many people live there but its a lot; certainly in the thousands. And, these are truly tents; poles and vinyl. This tent city was set up after the earthquake. Most of the tent city residents of Haiti have been resettled but this one seems to be turning into a permenant community.
How do these people get money? Jobs? Water? We would normally says, “God knows”, with a bit of scarcasm. But, really, after today, I’m not even sure that saying holds true. All I know is every child we saw today was hungry. And, all of them probably have worms that are causing terrible tummy aches. How do you deal with that? The problem is so overwhelmingly enormous that all you can do is continue the conversation, hoping you are making forward movement on behalf on the Haitian people. I truly believe that it’s our obligation as their American neighbors. Slavery and history got them there and it is our obligation to help them improve their lives. They can’t do it alone. But, we have to help them help themselves so that it is sustainable.
On the hopeful side, thanks for Medical Aid for Haiti, these beautiful people are receiving basic healthcare once a week. I think everyone in Connecticut should know what MATH is doing. MATH was started in a church room by a dedicated group of individuals on a shoe string budget. MATH does more with it’s limiited budget than I’ve ever seen any charity accomplish. All the MATH employees in Haiti are Haitian and the clinic goes off each week without a hitch. And, progress is being made. The clinic used to be held in a tent. As of two weeks ago, it is held in what are the beginnings of a church. There are some walls, rubble on the floors and tenting material as the roof. There are separate rooms. This is extremely helpful today because we were able to separate triage, patient care, the eye clinic and eyeglass dispensing. And, on our way back out, one of the main roads into Port-au-Prince that was dirt in the morning was paved by the afternoon! That is major progress in Haiti.
Thanks for reading and keep this lovely nation in your thoughts and conversations.