28 January 2011

Making Sense

Beyond my every expectation...despite a dictator dropping by after 25 years...despite electoral limbo...despite my parents' visit...things are quiet. But again and again, I'm reminded that there's little method to the madness. There's not one reason you can point to and say, "Yeah, that's why no one's been protesting." It really makes very little sense to me...and that can be frustrating, since logic is clearly a cultural idol where I come from.

David's been flying doctors from Medecins Sans Frontieres, the French branch of Doctors Without Borders, who have been treating cholera patients in Port-de-Paix. I was reading an article by MSF today, and this paragraph struck me as something that actually did make sense.

A year after the earthquake, it is not very surprising that reconstruction has hardly or not at all started and the city is still full of rubble. It took two years to remove the rubble from the World Trade Center in New York. In the areas struck by the earthquakes in Italy in 2009, Pakistan in 2005, and Iran in 2003, most inhabitants still live in precarious ‘temporary' shelters or accommodation, waiting for their homes to be rebuilt. Indonesia completed major building programmes within 5 years in Aceh (coastline, houses, roads, schools, hospitals, etc., so that according to the press, the consequences of the tsunami are no longer visible), and is an exception in that matter, which can be explained by the determination of the central state and the efficiency of its administration. Those elements do not exist in Haiti. (To read the rest of the article, click here.)  

With so many people asking why reconstruction has "failed," I find that a helpful comparison.

And on an unrelated note, I had a scare with my posse today. Three of them came to the gate, asking for me, and over the traffic noise, I thought they were saying "cholera." I yelled for them to wait for me, as I grabbed Gatorade packets and hurried out with my keys. It turned out to be a miscommunication...but the feelings it stirred up showed me how much I cared.

"No, we won't get cholera," Sandal Kid informed me. "We wash our hands." As if on cue, they each put out their palms for me to inspect. Their hands are already weathered from a hard life, but their skin color allowed me to see all the minute creases in their hands, and I was impressed by their beauty.

"Very clean," I praised. "Do you drink clean water? Water that's been bleached?"

"Oh yes," Sandal Kid said, "we drink bottled water."

"And do you squat away from your house?"

Three little heads nodded.

"And I wash my head," he said. I'm not sure what that has to do with cholera...but it's a good thing. They ran off to share a coconut...but I'm sure I'll see them again soon.

1 comment:

  1. And here I sit, in my little bubble of Peace and Prosperity, while cholera rages amid the Haitian rubble, and my Cairo team manager tells me of the looting and gunfire he can hear from his home while we talked this morning. Hmmm. :-|