| Oct 28, 2010
I was asked by many “what time are you leaving on Thursday?” I replied, “When my ride shows up” knowing that schedules do not really work in Haiti, but figuring it was going to be sometime in the afternoon. Well, things changed as they often do. Dr. June alerted me late the night before that I was going to be heading out at 8 AM the next day. So we pushed off close to that time for our half day journey back to the capital, Port-au-Prince. I had been planning to work that morning in the clinic to say my goodbyes to the so many that I had worked with and helped me the last couple of weeks: the interpreters, the clinic helpers and the patients. It is sad not to be able to say my goodbyes, but cannot be helped as getting places when you need to is difficult.
I had some interesting company on the ride with two expats who had worked in Haiti for over 20 years, one a Jamaican Nurse Practitioner, and another, an American large animal veterinarian, who was also involved with agricultural development in Haiti. It was interesting to get their perspectives on healthcare, culture, work developments and rebuilding efforts in Haiti. Through the lush landscape, we passed many “tent cities” each, with a distinctive look depending on what country donated the tents.
I arrived at the Medical Teams Guest house after 6 hours of a bumpy ride into and around Port-au-Prince to be greeted by a Seattle team who had just returned from working a cholera clinic in Northern Haiti. It sounds like that was a very harrowing experience.
Thirty minutes later, after a quick PBJ lunch, I was in the packed van with them for a tour of Port-au-Prince. What once was a ½-hour trip into town now was a 2-hour journey after the journey, taking back routes and navigating road destruction. It was interesting, but tragic -- to see the massive damage that had occurred from the earthquake to having treated the results of it the past couple of weeks.
Many years ago, to withstand the effects of hurricanes that Haiti had been rattled with, housing was constructed with cement roofs without the needed rebar reinforcement. As a result, the roofs just collapsed in from the quake. Some rebuilding efforts seemed to be in progress, but still have a long way to go if ever it will happen. Knowing the wage levelts, the cost of supplies, and the multiple agencies involved, it will be a long time for Haiti to rebuild itself.
The general election of the presidential term is weeks away. Posters promoting candidates were everywhere to be seen. Without primary elections, in all there are 42 candidates vying for the position! It will be interesting to see the results of the election.
Five hours later, we were back in our guesthouse for the night, having traveled a distance of 20 miles round trip!