Just a few random things I've been wanting to blog about since I've been here:
I'm not bringing my sneakers home. They've been places that I couldn't even describe. Including the locked "VIP" toilet in Bolosse. If that was the clean toilet, then I can't imagine the general-use toilets. So, Fred, I will be wearing my sandals when I come home. It would be nice if someone brought me socks and shoes. And a warm coat to wear in Pittsburgh. It's another sunny, hot day here but I understand that things may be different back home.
No make-up for me? No problem! I'll admit to missing my mascara a bit, but the folks here are used to seeing me bare-faced. And my Haitian friends don't seem to mind a bit.
If at any point you have donated to the relief efforts in Haiti, trust that your donation will get here. Every day, more boxes of supplies show up at the hospital, and I know that I barely see the tip of the iceberg: I have no idea how many NGOs (non-government operations) have established centers in Haiti. But interesting things arrive now and then, such as the dozens of canvas bags stuffed with hygiene supplies (towels, soap, feminine products, shampoo, wash basin) that were at IMC quarters yesterday. I took a few bags (they are quite large) to the Bolosse clinic. So, to the anonymous people of the world who are gathering whatever you can to help here... school children, churches, civic organizations... please know that every tiny bit that you send is appreciated by the Haitians.
The hotel where we are staying is actually quite nice, and in better days, it would have been pretty expensive. It may be expensive now, I don't know because IMC is paying for our time here. But it's the kind of place where I would choose to stay if I was in Haiti on vacation. The rooms are spacious and clean; there is a nice, cool pool (my balcony overlooks this area), there is a tasty buffet every night (though I still can't bring myself to try goat; I've gone vegan several nights) with great desserts including plantain, and the air conditiner works great. When the power is on. At some point during the day, the power will shut off; I don't know exactly when that is, but I will find out today, since I'm hanging around. The power stays off till around 7PM, when it's getting dark. Then the a/c comes back on, and the water runs again. That's right, the water is off when the power is off. I'm told that there is a cistern or reservoir here, and to get water into the hotel it has to be pumped in; pumps need power, so no power, no water. The power stays on until midnight; then it's off until 5:35 each morning.
I will always regret that IMC decided not to establish a clinic at Grand Ravine. This place is so desperate for help, and too remote from the city for its residents to come down to a clinic or hospital. But the feeling is that it is too unsecure; we learned that this is the area that the jail's residents fled to, after the earthquake. And there is absolutely no police presence or monitoring there. In retrospect, it makes sense that IMC is looking out for our safety; but what about the residents of Grand Ravine? I heard last night that another NGO will be holding a clinic there, once a week. That is something, but not nearly enough. And there are countless unserved areas like Grand Ravine, which will possibly never see help.
So there is my paradox: I sit in air-conditioned comfort at a hotel, my biggest worry today is that I will lose power for this laptop, and the people of Haiti go without food, water, vaccinations for their children, decent primary care. How can I complain? I hope, once I get home, to never complain about my circumstances again.
Pray for Haiti.