26 February 2010

Haiti Day 5

Today was a long and hot day. We held a medical clinic in a small tent city near where we are staying. We saw 200 people in our clinic today. It was a loud, hot, high paced day. We ended up one translater short so my guy was moved into a more needed spot which prevented me from walking through the tent city and talking to the people. I still tried to communicate, but when all you can say is "what is your name?" "my name is Scott" "Hello" "Thank you" and "smile" it limits the communication. Most of the people we saw were children who had fevers, were dehydrated, and malnourished. It was sad to here the medical team telling mother after mother to feed their children regularly, or to give them bottled water, and to feed themselves so they would have breast milk to feed their babies. I can't get over the lack of knowledge of basic life skills or the lack of resources to keep a community relatively healthy. I have been totally spoiled by my middle class suburbia mentality.

I have been in third world countries before, but never anything like this. I have never seen this much poverty with my own eyes. I can honestly say that I will never look at world poverty the same again. The need is so overwhelming that it can cause us to want to just give up and go home, but in the end that is not an option. There is no way we could leave without doing EVERYTHING we can to help. That is why getting tents is such a high priority. When you look at where the people are sleeping it breaks your heart, but when you see the children living the same way it rips your heart to pieces. The photo above on the right is of a woman who recently had a stroke. This was the first medical treatment she has received. The bed she is sitting on is the same bed she sleeps in. Notice the mattress, it is a piece of memory foam, that's it. The picture below on the left is of a pair of bunk beds that the children sleep on. No protection what so ever. There is a building on the property, but it was damaged in the quake and continues to sustain damage with each aftershock. The locals will not sleep inside for fear of "the big one!" Every time the earth shakes they wonder if this is it. With rainy season around the corner it makes it difficult. On one hand they want stay dry, but on the other, they are willing to live outside in the rain if it means they will live. Time is running out for the Haitian people to have a dry place to live.

We have been promised a bunch of blankets, food, and fifty tents. We have also obtained an old wheelchair for the lady in the picture above so she can move around a bit easier. Our goal this weekend is to get tents to the twelve orphanages that we visited, distribute the food we have received, and get the wheel chair to the woman who needs it. We are expecting a big turn out for the medical clinic tomorrow. Please be praying for our team and the people we are working with, along with the numerous humanitarian workers we are camped with here in Haiti. I will be returning Monday, but only in body. I can't imagine I will ever leave this place in my heart. I will be back and will make a difference, that I can promise you.

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