Monday, February 1, 2010

Just a few more

This is a lovely Catholic church which has been on the campus of University Hospital for years. My roommate Nicole, who was born at the Hospital, was baptized here. It is no longer safe to enter, thanks to the earthquake. But this was the scene last Sunday morning as worshippers gathered to pray. We saw similar scenes as we drove to Bolosse that morning: makeshift churches on street corners and in alleys, with people gathered together to worship. Directly across the street from the church, this is all that remains of a nursing school. I am told that there are at least 50 bodies in the rubble. This breaks my heart, as does nearly everything I see here.

The woman in the wheelchair is the sister of Dady, a Bolosse native who speaks pretty fluent English. She has been paralyzed for many years "from a fever;" she is now 32, and depends on Dady for her daily needs. (That's Dady standing next to me, in the striped shirt.) I am going to try to find her a decent wheel chair before I leave, but that will probably be difficult; all wheelchairs are probably spoken for by the new amputees. And where will all the leg prostheses come from? So many are needed just at our hospital; and I understand there are countless new amputees all over the affected region.

Here, there is some semblance of normalcy: men play cards in the street in Bolosse, laughing and talking. There are a few active daily dominoes games that I see whenever I walk through the neighborhood surrounding our clinic, but I can't convince any one of them to deal me in. No doubt they have heard of my prowess at dominoes, and fear me.

Here is the current clinic staf at Bolosse. That's Lylie, the de facto mayor of Bolosse, on the far left. When she talks, believe you me, people listen. For now, everyone is a volunteer at the clinic, but IMC will be interviewing soon, and will hire six nurses to be the full-time staff. I hope I'm gone by then; I can't bear seeing the faces of the nurses and other volunteers who won't be offered jobs. It will break their hearts; they are desperate to work. And they have all worked hard to get this clinic up and running.

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