Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Haiti: poor is what poor is....

Haiti. The poorest country in the western hemisphere. And from what I saw, there is no doubt the statement is true. I came back recently from doing a health needs assessment of the children there, in preparation for our medical team trip the end of October. I’ve been to some poor countries, but this one seems to stand out a little bit more. The reason is simple: isolation. Due to the political turmoil, the bad publicity, the violence, the uprisings, and the attitudes, there is a sense of isolationism, somewhat self imposed, that prevents many from the outside of entering. Mission of Mercy has taken on 1000 children in 10 projects, all but 2 are isolated, wilderness confined, and poor beyond poor. And that’s where we’re going. The children for the most part have the usual maladies, degrees of malnutrition, and a sense of longing. Their faces where either bright and happy, or empty and drawn. Nothing in between.

I visited the Justinian Hospital where there is a pediatric residency program and saw this baby who was dying in front of our eyes. I gave them a quick bedside lecture on resuscitation and within a few hours, he had some life in him. We’ll be using the hospital as a referral hospital for the sickest children we see.

Dirt is dirt. Pollution is pollution. Filth is filth. All of that is in Haiti. We’ll need to pick through all of it to find the clean hearts of those who know to whom they belong. The children, all 1000 of them that we’ll be seeing, are reaching out. I can’t wait to hear their hearts sing.