General News About Haiti

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The Doctors Get To Work.. Saving Lives

The Doctors Get To Work.. Saving Lives
Project Change: Bermuda Volunteers working in conjunction with Feed My Lambs. Dr. Christopher Johsnon, Derrick McLin (OR Tech), Derrick Washington (OR Tech) and Dr Alicia Stovell-Washington (Opthalmological Surgeon), Phillip Rego and Others Including US Rangers.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

103 Operations...

Bon Repos, Haiti. January 30th, 2010

Today we operated on 6 patients bringing our total number of surgical procedures performed during this mission to 103. We treated a 5 year old with 2nd degree burns of the abdomen. She fell into an open fire whilst playing. Her mother and 3 other siblings have been living in a car since the earthquake. Our unsuspecting patient fell into a fire used for cooking. The mother was hungry, exhausted, and nursing an infant of 2-3 months in age. We had purchased rice, onions, and noodles for our lunch but these were quickly passed on to this family that needed sustenance more than we did. (See photos below..)

Our clinic ended early and I took a motorcycle ride to the center of town. As I moved closer to the epicenter, I felt as though I was descending into Dante's circles of hell and suffering. The excessive magnitude of the earthquake is underscored in the accordion-like toppling of multistory buildings. Whilst the world has seen the front of the Presidential palace with its fallen domes and collapsed central roof, few have seen the back of the palace which looks as though an enormous machete simple surgically sliced off the posterior walls. You look into the offices as one would a doll house that has missing walls. The number of shattered buildings is overwhelming and I did not realise how affected I was until I felt moisture on my cheeks, which much to my surprise proved to be tears.

In the vicinity of the Presidential Palace are tent cities set up in the Parks, known as the Champs de Mars. If Port aux Prince is Dante's Inferno then the tents cities are incarnations of his Purgatory. The people are calm though visible worn by either trauma or hunger or perhaps both. This notion that we need security is simply ludicrous. There is order, as can be seen with the vendors, port-o-potties, and areas to wash. Statues of the heroes of the independence movement of Haiti (Henri Christophe, Jean Jacques Desaline,Pontion) loom high above the tent cities; they appear like shepherds mourning over troubled flocks.

Dante's final canto in the Divine Comedy is Paradise. Though it is imagine that anything other than despair could exist at the Heart of Darkness of this earthquake;I can say I found hope in the smiles of children playing in the tent city. I saw expectations for better times every time I heard someone shout God Bless America to a US Soldier. This moment, this tranquility, this honeymoon period will not last forever nor is it unconditional. Haiti will need partnerships in rebuilding for a long time and we shall all be held accountable. When CNN, the BBC, FOX News all turn their attention to some more newsworthy event: Haitians will still be caught somewhere between the Inferno or Purgatory, unless the world take this on as long term project similar to the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after WW II.

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