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Recently in Haiti Category

What Does It Have To Do With You?

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These are three Haitian individuals in the aftermath of the earthquake--more than one generation of Haiti looking at the camera. They may look fine and safe but we cannot know the loved ones they have lost, the pain they are experiencing.  In my last blog regarding Haiti, the early estimates of fatalities were at 50,000.  Now estimates are anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000.  And how will Haitians ever know what happened to their loved ones?  No one is recording numbers, taking names.  The dead are being carted off in bulldozers.  Cemeteries cannot hold all the dead. Many are being cremated. It is difficult for me to imagine my partner, mother and father, mother-in-law, my sister, daughter, nephew, my friends carted off in bulldozers.  But I try.  I feel I must try to imagine this kind of deep anguish in order to have just a faint semblance of understanding--what these individuals are suffering, enduring.  People are dying from broken arms, from simple cuts that can be healed quickly with antibiotics.  But antibiotics aren't getting there fast enough.  

Last night George Clooney organized a telethon which was broadcast from London, New York City, and Los Angeles.  Actors read testimonies, singers sang.  Sting sang, "How can you say that you're not responsible?  What does it have to do with me?"  ("Driven to Tears"). In my classroom, I often hear "What does it have to do with me?" regarding issues in history or current events.  I try to bring my students into a globally-linked framework of thinking.  It's so difficult when we are so far away both geographically and mentally. I am hoping that now with texting, Facebook, blogging, skyping, etc.--people will feel more linked, closer, neighborly, connected.  

Partners in Health and many other medical organizations are awaiting your help:


I post Partners in Health because of their longstanding connection and presence in Haiti.  Below is a picture of one of their medical doctors inside their makeshift medic tent.  Just $5, $10, $25 will contribute in the effort to help them construct many more medical areas and will also help these medical personnel have access to medicines and supplies their patients sorely need.  

In his song, "Driven to Tears," Sting sings:  "My comfortable existence is reduced to a shallow meaningless party/ Seems that when some innocent die/ All we can offer them is a page in some magazine/ Too many cameras and not enough food . . . What's to become of our world/ who knows what to do."  I think many people have thankfully responded and for those of us who cannot get out to Haiti, supporting Partners in Health and other organizations is the answer.  


Mountains Beyond Mountains

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Tracy Kidder's 2003 book (Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Could Cure the World) is in focus right now given the horrific tragedy in Haiti.  The paperback just came out this past August.  The New England Journal of Medicine published an enthusiastic review of the book and praise for Farmer:  "There remains something miraculous about Paul Farmer.  Not only is it an enjoyable book, but it is also very likely that a part of the $25.95 (hardcover cost) spent in purchasing it will find its way back to Haiti."  Dr. Paul Farmer along with Ophelia Dahl, and three other doctors/health care workers founded "Partner's in Health."  Their mission statement:  offering a health care organization providing a "preferential option for the poor."  And now, more than ever, "Partner's in Health" is vital to the people of Haiti. This is one non-profit that is legit.  You give them money, it WILL be spent on those who need it.  

I've been in 6.0 and above earthquakes.  I was raised on jittery Los Angeles ground, tenuous southern California slabs called  crustal plates.  In the early morning hours of February 9, 1971, I woke up to find my bed had traveled across the room.  I got up and ran/danced to my mother.  We clung to each other under the doorframe of my bedroom.  I felt the earth beneath me, heard the sound of clattering and smashing dishes, creaking door frames, furniture falling and everything in it or on it, crashing to the ground. As I held on to my mother, with every crashing sound, my whole being wished it over, wished the ground to stop. Realizing that ground is not static is a kind of existential crisis.  However, I was in a place where one can survive 6.0 and 7.0 magnitudes of movement because most structures have been built to withstand seismic waves. Fifty eight people died that morning in a city of three million.  Haiti, not so fortunate.  The latest estimate stands at 50,000 fatalities.  Even before this latest disaster, the geographic area has been devastated by deforestation, soil erosion, poverty.  

Mountains Beyond Mountains.  Here's your chance to help.  Click on this link to "Partner's in Health" and give Dr. Farmer and his health care providers the finances they need to save as many people as possible right now.