Theme parks and slums
Over the last few months we’ve had the privilege of working with USAID on three specific projects. This has included setting up our hospital with a new solar system, refurbishing the site, and continuing our cholera rally posts. I hope to do some news items on each of these in the coming weeks. As the deadline of 31st May for the completion of all these projects has crept ever closer, the hospital has been alive with a buzz of activity.
Alongside all this work we’ve also had BMS with us, filming the work they’ve helped us with. We’ve also had another team from the UK helping with the solar, and today welcomed Jubilee Action. It honestly has been one of the busiest times we’ve had, with an incredible and surreal mix of highs and lows, joys and frustrations. Within the space of a few days aside from the USAID grants, life has blurred into one surreal montage.
Tragically we lost one of our SCI patients. We always knew it was going to be battle to save him, as he arrived at our hospital in a terrible condition with huge pressure sores generated from poor care and neglect elsewhere. I was filled with such anger at the injustice of his death, knowing that yet again, the poverty stricken health system here had claimed another life which shouldn’t have been lost.
Whilst we came to terms with this, other rehab patients enjoyed encountering a training session with shot puts, javelins and discuss’ for the first time. It was part of the paralympic dream, and filled everyone with great joy and excitement. My old school (Langley Park Boys School) had kindly donated this sporting equipment which the solar team had somehow managed to get through customs. As well as being filled with excitement, I also quickly realised quite how rubbish I am at shot put etc, and how really, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I’m now on the search for an enthusiastic sporty person who might fancy a little trip to Haiti to help with this.
Between these activities I showed BMS around some of Cap-Haitien. Just 5-10minutes down the road from us is an area called Petit-anse. Built upon a rubbish tip, the community is one of the poorest in Cap-Haitien. The BMS team stood staring at this humble little community, exclaiming that despite their visits all across the world to places like Africa and Asia, this was probably the poorest place they’d ever visited. What made this little visit so strange was that as we drove into the heart of this community, houses surrounded by litter, stagnant water and mud, we tuned into an American radio station. On it we listened in disbelief to a news report about a new ‘Biblical Theme Park’ with a range of rides including a large Noah’s ark. Apparently, the new theme park had cost something like over 180 million US dollars to build. I don’t really need to say more on how ridiculous and unjust the thought of a 180 million dollar Noahs ark seemed, amidst the ruins of a community like Petit-anse.
It was a sad but all too real reality check as to just how unbalanced and crazy this world is. I guess HHA is trying to change that balance…as much as we can. And whilst I’ve been filled with great frustration at such injustices both in Haiti and abroad these last weeks, it’s also been one of the most uplifting times.
The solar team have been incredible! Every day, working from dawn til dusk to see this project fulfilled. Working alongside the Haitian community, serving them with all their heart and soul. It’s be such a blessing for Reninca and I, and another reminder as to what can be achieved with a bit of team work. One of our cleaners was so over the moon last week at all the work going on, that she was dancing in my office, singing with a gleaming smile, injected with new life at the reality that someone cares for her community. If we can touch a few lives like that each day, and re-inject this nation with some pride and dignity, then I guess we’ll be getting somewhere.