| May 02, 2010
Most of the team went to church this morning with Max, one of our interpreters, who’s also a pastor. Max grew up in an orphanage near Leogane and now has his own church, school and orphanage there.
Fred and I headed to La Colline to take a bunch of supplies for the team that is at the small Son Light Missions hospital there. It is a delightful drive to an area untouched by the Jan. 12 earthquake. Fred had been going to rotate 2-3 member teams through there on a weekly basis, but the team that is there now is doing such a splendid job, that he decided to leave them there for the whole three-week rotation (to the dismay of other team members who had wanted a chance to experience the place).
Doctors Leo Criep and Peter de Schweinitz and RN Sandy Murray have been assisting the local doctors and doing a lot of training. They put on a hysterical play for the local school kids promoting the use of bug nets. Sandy fashioned a “mosquito” face for Peter by using a tongue depressor and a surgical face mask. Peter skittered all over the place in his best mosquito style. They’ve also got three mobile clinics planned using a small 4-wheeler for transportation.
On the way there’s a new road being built through the mountains to replace a paved road lower down that had been washed away by the rising waters of a huge lake fed by mountain streams. Many locals, who believe in voodoo, think this flooding is caused by evil spirits angry with the Haitian government which is being forced by the flooding to pay lots of money to build the new road. I don’t quite understand the logic here, but I don’t comprehend a lot of what we hear.
We detoured briefly to look at the damage and saw many ancient boats being used to ferry people across the flooded area. The old road is still visible underwater and on the other side of the flooded area.
By the time we got back, rain was threatening and there was a tremendous deluge that the locals say marks the start of the rainy season. Lightning splattered the sky with almost continuous thunder and rain so hard it beat down a banana tree in the backyard. We found out, to our dismay, that the roof where many volunteers have pitched tents to sleep in cooler conditions under the stars, floods in heavy rain. Water poured down the stairs.
We had several team members visiting another mission and they got stuck in downtown Leogane by the downpour. We went to get them after the rains stopped, but unfortunately there are no drivers at night and Fred and I got completely lost in the earthquake littered-streets of Leogane.
Several Medical Teams International staff members had been scheduled to arrive from Port-au-Prince. They were supposed to be there by the time we finally got back, but they were also missing. Their vehicle was trapped by rising flood waters. Trash and debris and human waste had poured down the hills into the streets and people in small vehicles were being washed away. The staff said people were fighting their way through the water with children in their arms, disappearing when they stepped into potholes. What a mess!
We’re afraid this marks the start of the long-threatened disease season after the earthquake as people living in squalid conditions will be further victimized by malaria, dengue fever, and typhoid.