16 January 2011

Some super smart decisions were made this week...

Super smart decisions like deciding to stay out until 2am on Thursday night because my old boss was in town, when I had my alarm set for 5:30am the next day because I had to be at the office early. Yep, smart decisions like those. But it was a good night and it was great to catch up with people from the past.

So, this past Wednesday was the 1-year anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake. On 12 January 2010, a 7.0 earthquake struck just outside of Port-au-Prince causing massive destruction and displacing over a million. 

Now, 1 year later, 800,000 people are still displaced and a cholera epidemic has struck the country. But that does not mean that there was not extensive amounts of work done in this past year. Despite all the media criticising our response saying it was too slow, that cholera should not have happened, that we should learn from other emergencies, being here I can see how difficult it is to get things done. Especially in this insecure political climate. Development is not some easy formula and if you want to fix one thing (such as getting rid of cholera), you have to fix lots of things (like the sewage system - which should be the government's or corporation's responsibility; depending on who owns them). Its a slow, long, arduous process and is not something that can be easily measured in a year.

Houses in Port-au-Prince's hills
In my humble opinion, we are doing some actually very great work in response to the cholera epidemic. Cholera is a fierce disease; it can take a life in less than half a day. But when you look at our (as in all NGOs) response, yes people are getting cholera, but not many are dying from it. Which says something about our treatment. And in the North of Haiti as well as in PaP, transmission of cholera is decreasing, which means that we are doing something right with our hygiene promotion...

Anyway, this week was a busy week for lots of people because of the 1-year anniversary. Wednesday, the office was closed in remembrance of last year, and we had lots of visitors doing field visits. My week was spent working, of course, with very little socialising. Except for my super smart decision Thursday night. haha. 

My Friday was spent mostly in a car, taking a trip out to our activities at the Border, where we have a CTC - Cholera Treatment Centre - as well as some hygiene promotion activities. It was great to get out and see some of the amazing work we are doing. Although I was exhausted by the end of the day, due to lack of sleep... I am trying to get out of the office as much as I can. This helps with relationships with people, as well as just appreciating the work we are doing. 

Our CTC at the Border
All in a week's work. 1-year anniversaries, visits from Sean Penn and Bill Clinton (my flatmate saw them at the Lebanese restaurant here), trips out to the field, catching up with an old boss. Someone I was talking to this week said that their first field experience was in Haiti and they have felt this connection to the place ever since then. I have a feeling that this will happen to myself as well. Haiti is definitely growing on me...

PS. other actual smart decisions were made this week. Like taking next weekend to go to Turks and Caicos for instance. And other work-related ones of course...

The Beauty Outside of Port-au-Prince

1 comment:

  1. you jerk, i wish i were headed to turks and caicos. say hi to bliss for me. - a