When I imagined my blog out of Haiti, it had the sweeping look of a reality show. I was going to be able to upload daily moving tear inducing video, coupled with pithy and inspiring comment by the brilliant well-meaning me. What has happened, of course, is so far from the reality of my imagination that I am humbled once again, to admit that my ego was trying to run the show. And if there was ever a place where my head would ultimately be vanquished Haiti is it.
And this is a good thing, but as most of you know, in between helping to treat almost 400 of the sickest, poorest people I have ever met in my life on Friday, with helping to train 17 midwives the proper techniques to save just born babies who don’t breathe on Saturday to visiting and trying to feel hopeful about the horrifically battle-scarred Port au Prince, to doing yoga with sweet sweet sweet poor poor beyond poor kids, I managed to lament my Academy Award winning (in my own damn mind) blog post.
I have many pictures and some excellent funky video to upload, but all of that is going to have to wait as the internet connection is so sketchy in this country, I’m afraid the whole blog could be eaten! Plus, of course, (feel free to laugh out loud at this comment), I’m going with the flow. Here’s to hoping this flow-thing is finally a lesson well-learned.
as I write this post. I am sitting on my bottom bunk in a dorm room that I share with my friend Cindy Alloway, just an awesome person, and three lovely nurse practitioner Grad . students from the University of Pennsylvania. Tomorrow, we are headed to a remote lakeside village about 45 minutes outside of Port au Prince, where we will attempt to treat almost 500 people. I am one of the people in charge of intake, because I speak French. Most of the people who come to these clinics are in extremely poor health overall. There is over 90% unemplyment in this town of over 800 people. The majority of them have never ever seen a doctor. They range in age from newborn to about 70. A lot of their illnesses are caused by the water they drink.
In fact, not to get too harpy or crazy, but there is no clean water in this entire country. We were told upon arrival at the Foundation for Peace Headquarters not to even open our mouths while we shower or we would be sorry! All water in Haiti is treated before it is consumed. Many poor people live here, and subsist in such squalid conditions that disease and chronic awful ilness is rampant.
Much yoga is practiced however, and when I am not doing intake tomorrow, I am in charge of the kids, who love me, follow me around as if I were some endlessly amusing Pied Piper. They are the leaders, however, fighting over one of my empty hands, taking me on tours of their villages to see the lone pig or cow, their tiny dirt floored, two room huts the latrine, the weirdly spooky burial place for all of the many people who die. They imitate my French accent, do Tadasana, try downward facing dog, laugh at the breathing, find me endlessly funny, and keep hugging me and telling me how pretty I am.
I tell them right back that they are as well, and more. And it is within that connection that a hope for the future of Haiti is ignited in me. These kids are amazingly resilient, fiercely devoted to their villages and families, brave and smart. They need better water, that would help them a lot, and I’ll reflect and implore more on that when I return to New Jersey. I am so grateful to be here; to be caught up in this crazy swirling vortex of a country, trying my best to make a difference; achieving success, one loving lovely kid at a time.
Huge week for me so far. Thanks for hanging in and reading the support is much appreciated.