Earthquake and pestilence- disasters lead to boom times in Haiti. NGOs are sprouting faster than furniture factories in Szechuan province.
St Damien’s is not immune to this. Aid levels are high, and missionaries, with neither stock portfolios nor big landholdings, do not recall the tech boom or the real estate boom. The subsequent crashes were of vague interest to them- nothing personal.
So edifice complexes are inevitable. But aid levels are already dropping, so to me, their plans seem too ambitious already. Nobody trusts the government, and there are tsunamis with fallout in Japan, tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, and Missouri’s drowning. Haiti is yesterday’s news.
So the challenge is to do something discrete, something sustainable, and cheap.
When your only tool is a hammer…let’s build a GI lab.
First, fill the hangar with stuff begged, borrowed and bought cheap:
Then the plane:
If you pack your passport on the bottom, skip over Exuma, and go straight to Port au Prince.
The clouds are thicker over Haiti, it’s heating up.
Unload, and keep the reagents on ice if you can- but it’s a long way from Miami.
Resume tent life, and deploy Nancy K’s handsans. Ron Council sent DEET, and I used it like I liked it! Haitian mosquitos are innumerable.
Meet the elegant Dr Maria Gambirasio, AIDs specialist from Bergamo,
and look over the pleural effusion and cavitary TB in the AIDS guy.
Work the cholera wards til we can negotiate space for the lab,
Stumble across a portable sonography machine…I have got to get me one of these! Remarkable utility.
Finagle a whole container, with Knollenberg quality arctic air.
Of course, Haiti is rich in containers, but the air! I was feeling the love.
Notice the near wall of the container makes the wall of the hospital ward.
A little long and skinny- like me in 1975. Reminded me of my first real office, after a trial period in the old beauty shop, with its barber chair bolt holes in the floor- an opthalmologist’s eye chart exam room, 6X40 ft- what an echo chamber that was.
And get busy.
Discover awful gastric cancers we can’t do much with,
And several ulcers and some colitis we can.
Return to the cholera wards where there are some really sick ones:
And get back home through the magnificent Exumas,
managing to miss the entire Bahamas COPA crew:
But not all the weather:
It was a pretty productive run.