Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Secret of Everything

Since John has returned from Haiti, he has been repeating a statement that I think is the secret to life, to happiness, to many problems, to . . . everything. It may seem too obvious or too simple or too incredible. But try it; you'll like it. Here it is:
"The only people who are happy are those who are helping others."

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Cite Soleil Photographer

I know I'm biased, but my husband John is the best doctor I know. He has dedicated his head and his heart to learning medicine; to be a great doctor, it takes both kinds of knowledge.
But if he ever wanted a second career, he could be a professional photographer. I won't waste your time with words. Just look at the pictures that follow.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Good Communication

John has been working in Cite Soleil at the clinic run by the Daughters of Charity. He has also been inteviewing people on their experiences with cholera and reporting on what he finds at his blog with the Peoria Journal Star. He received an interesting comment about this post from someone called Hait8T. Here, in part is what they said:

"You should stop acting like there just misery in Haiti. . . the Canal has been abandoned for years. . . quit making things appear worst than they seem. . . there more gang violence in the US a million times more than in Haiti. . . The Haitian government plans to bulldoze it (Cite Soleil) completely, they haven't done it yet because of the housing situation which still remain complex in Haiti. . . you are getting your information from 2 females who are not educated who are illiterate and cut off from Haitian society and remain in one place."

The comment goes on. You can read it in full at the above link.

I thought John made a really good response to this comment.

"You are an anonymous, well-to-do Haitian. Sign your name and don't be afraid. I will meet you in Soleil. I can show you the pediatric clinic and Saint Catherine's Hospital and we can drink coffee and talk. And you can be part of the solution. Thanks, John."

The point is that no matter our perspectives, it will take everyone in Haiti working together--the government, the rich people, the NGOs, the poor people, the churches, the middle class--to build a better Haiti. We have to listen to each other, too.

Someone else thought John's comment was good also. Hait8T left a follow up comment:

"I am in tourism and by 2017 to help Haiti progress in its tourism in the town of AQUIN where we own land which will be developed. . . It's not about being judgmental about your work because you could have chosen not to get involved period but you did and I'm sure its appreciated by a lot of people in Cite Soleil where I personally would not go, not because I do not care about Haiti, but my family's plan is different. . . I thank you John either way, I am glad that you replied, and you have replied well, all I am saying is that although you are speaking the truth, but Haiti can be presented differently."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Remember and Honor By Serving Redux

John has been in Pestel, Haiti the last several days. In my last post, I used the word remote to describe Pestel and its environs. Even though Haiti is only 600 miles from the United States, the whole country can see isolated, given its disastrous infrastructure, its scarce government, its disjointed relief efforts; when you are bumping along a road in Cite Soleil, a slum in the teeming capital, you can feel like you're on another planet. But Pestel takes the remoteness to a new level. Surrounded by the ocean and mountains, the town/area on the northern coast of Haiti's southern peninsula is difficult to get to, and then, once you're there, difficult to get aound. In traveling between Pestel and the surrounding mountains, John said he rode on the worst road he has ever been on in Haiti. That is saying something, as many of the roads there eat tires and axels for snacks, and John has had a lot of opportunities to ride on these roads in his 30 years working in Haiti. People in Haiti who are trying to make contact with John are calling me, at home in the States, figuring I might have a better chance at getting ahold of him.

John gives an excellent account of his trip on his blog at the Peoria Journal Star.

Most of the cholera patients at the small, dirty, and understaffed hospital in Pestel are coming from these mountainous regions, where patients have to walk or are carried in by their families. This journey can take several, arduous hours.
One of the men who was laying with calm resignation on a cot in the hospital said to John, "I'm waiting on God." I'm continually amazed at how poor Haitians, those who we would say have gotten the short end of the earthly stick, at least from a material perspective, those who might have less reason to believe in God, believe with such peaceful strength.
If we could give a good answer to "life's most urgent and persistent question" posed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we could help validate this faith.
"What are you doing for others?"
Pictured above, the crowded port at Pestel.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Remember and Honor by Serving

I heard on the radio this morning that Michel Martelly, president of Haiti, has made today, January 12, the second anniversary of the earthquake, a holiday.
Also today, my husband John is making his way from Les Cayes to Pestel, a remote town on the north coast of Haiti's southern peninsula. Cholera is hitting the Pestel area hard, including in the difficult to reach mountains surrounding the town. A recent report stated that 55 people have recently died of cholera in this area and that there may be more than 300 cases. Because of the difficulties of data collection in Haiti, the numbers are probably underreported.
John will work with cholera patients. He is also going to gather information for public health officials working in the U.S. and Haiti who are trying to limit the deadliness of the cholera epidemic.
Perhaps the best way to commemorate the lives of those who died in the earthquake is to try to help save the lives of those who are suffering from this new disaster.
Pictured above, John working at a Cholera Treatment Center in 2011.