Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Today was filled with many “Only in Haiti” moments.
I went to walk with Anise this morning and found little Isaac lying beside her and nursing. (Yeah!) He was dressed in 2 layers of t-shirts, with thick sock booties on his feet and a blanket over him. I was hot just looking at the little guy, as it was like a sauna in their hospital room. I suggested we at least remove the booties, but Anise would have none of it. She showed me today how to squeeze his nose to make it grow in a more pointy shape as wide flat noses are not considered attractive in Haiti. I suggested that maybe she was hurting his little nose and that I did not think that would actually change the shape, but she looked at me like I was just clueless. I can’t say I’ve ever seen any nose re-shaping take place anywhere before. Thankfully, Isaac is nursing more and seems to be stronger. They will most likely have to leave in a few days and I hope Isaac can grow just a bit more before they need to leave. I held him for over an hour this afternoon and marveled at what survival against the odds looks like. He is only about 5 pounds but has a head full of hair and the sweetest disposition.
I watched a 9 year old pull a double-edged straight razor blade out of his pocket and begin to carve a piece of wood into a top. I asked him if he was worried he might cut his finger and he showed me where he had done just that in the past. You don’t see too many kids in my neighborhood playing with razor blades.
At lunchtime today I watched two large pigs sprint up the hill beside me, and 2 baby goats graze on the scrub grass. I watched people carry chickens home holding them by their feet upside down and swinging them as they walked.
We had to eat lunch in shifts today as the kitchen had plenty of rice and beans but limited plates and spoons. And, JoAnn and I were so thrilled today to find a place before lunch to actually wash our hands with soap and water. We found a garden hose attached to a spigot near our clinic! Hand sanitizer only goes so far with the grime we deal with daily. Somehow there is black stuff under all my nails by noon everyday and I wear gloves often! Every sink we could find in the hospital is broken or without water including by the nurses station and in all the patient rooms. We keep wondering where (or if?) the staff wash their hands. Running water, even non-potable water is a luxury here.
While waiting for our ride home this evening, I asked Guibson, one of the translators what he was planning to cook for dinner. He looked at me in a confused way and answered, “I cooked and ate this morning before I arrived for work and I ate lunch here at the hospital.” Only in Haiti are 2 meals a day considered fortunate.
I have to keep telling myself to stop thinking like an American. We just take so much for granted.

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