Haiti Day 8 4/7/13
We left Mussotte this morning on the same bus that took us there. I got a better view of the mountain towns this time. So lush, Carla, one of the other attendings, wondered if those who lived there knew how incredibly beautiful it all was where they lived. Before we left Emanuel (our cook) and some other locals were picking carrots right next to the house. Cabbage was one of the more identifiable crops.
Emanuel took me, Sangiita, and TJ (third year students) for a walk and little tour last night. He pointed out a limestone quarry that is dug up for making cement (for cinderblocks?) , he pointed out various crops, horses stood in the sunset, goats with their baby goats close by, we took a picture of one man walking his goats back home. He was pretty pissed and made us delete the pictures. Emanuel explained that the people here are pretty proud and do not want to end up on an American magazine cover as the picture of poverty. Of course that was not our intention, although I must admit the purpose of some of the photos are to express what we are seeing in one of the most impoverished countries in the world.
This morning after we got to the bottom of the mountain, we drove through the slums of Port of Prince again. As I suspected,Susan confirmed, the slums appeared the same before the earth quake as after. An endless road of trash, cinderblock homes, people wandering around aimlessly. Today is sunday so lots of dressed people going or coming from church. More and more trash on the streets and in the canals, water occasionally running through the canals, people washing themselves in this same water, only slightly higher ground were the water is slightly cleaner (I guess). Everywhere you look there is a half constructed cinderblock building with no evidence that there is equipment nearby to or workers to complete if.
We picked up David, Joel's brother and dropped off three of our translators. They were so great. They really worked hard along side us. Really funny too, their constant chatter and giggling in Kreol is now feeling missed from our group. From the bus we bought banana chips from the street vender, still hot and salty, delicious. Joel yelled out to this guy who had a basket of them on his head. The vendor was laughing with joy when we bought 25 bags of the treats. Now at the resort walking into an air conditioned room is very very luxurious, but jumping in the Caribbean ocean is outrageous. Lynda was worried she would feel weird going to a resort after all of our time working as we did, but now it seems the right thing to do. Everyone is exhausted. A shower with water pressure was needed. The red dirt and dust that accumulated in every crease of our clothing and skin feels good running off. Its OK, no one ever expected us to stay in Mussotte forever. The pasture sons are both doctors and will continue to see those patients, as a haitian , not us “blan” should. We left them with any left over medications and some supplies. The goal was to give the students an experience of caring for the underserved, encourage them going into primary care. They got more hands on experience here in a few days than they did their entire third year. I think we made some brief difference in those we served. Maybe prevented a few strokes, prevented heart failure, alleviated pain, treated infections, prevented malnutrition through worm therapy. Anyway, I am justifying my pina colada, and day at the beach.
(Blan is the Kreol word for foreigners, from the french word for white blanc)