For a few hours before a meeting today I helped Tristan start to clean and straighten up the tent hospital Notre Dame ran out of the compound where I stay in the months immediately following the earthquake. Now, the various medical groups in the area can’t afford to mix cholera patients with their regular services, thus the old hospital out front has been targeted as a possible cholera treatment center. We wanted to jump ahead and see what could be done to convert it from six chambers of random shelves, supplies, and gear scattered all around, to five chambers ready to bleach down and set up with rows of cots.
At first, looking and the heaps of supplies so quickly dumped in the spaces the task seemed so daunting. But slowly, with each box, the piles got smaller. Bags of trash were removed and gold mines of IV fluid were revealed. Backboards created additional shelves. By the end of the day, the task was achieved and the sun still up.
If the community needs it, it is there. If not then that means the outbreak is controlled. The next few days will hopefully bring this good news.
I now know more people outside Notre Dame’s gates than I do down my own street. The kids come out to play everytime I walk by. Where do they do that anywhere in the States?
The work is not done–it’s never done. But I’m leaving for a week to tie some things up in the States. The program is evolving and ready to move forward. Gerson and Heather have the reigns while I’m gone and I have no doubt I will be impressed with the progress when I return. Yves and I walked through how finish out a third house by next Friday and wrap up the volunteer labor houses with the masons.
By the time I return to Haiti, another five completion reports should be on their way back to the office. Oh, and the houses at SMI are on track to be wrapped up then too.
It’s not just the finishing that feels good is the ability to start new again–to start with a piece of ground and finish with a home for a family. That’s the satisfaction that multiplies momentum and energy for everyone who looks upon it.
I compare this to a story Christina was telling of her last night in Saint Marc at the cholera clinic. A women lay on her death bed: eyes sunken in, skin cold and clammy, breathing and heart beat slow if even noticeable, skin tone grayish and white, and unconscious to the world. A passerby might think she was already dead. With another nurse’s help, they were able to IV both arms and push fluid into the old women, literally filling her back up with life an hour later.
The simplest attention and effort can render the greatest and most immediate return. I envy days like that. Especially on days when we may only have a hole in the ground after a tremendous amount of work. The beauty is that they represent two worlds and there is good work for all in Haiti. A land with much need and many opportunities. 🙂
Or donate to the project now. Help us get another family out of the unsafe tent camps and into a decent home.