Well, today I got to work. First thing in the morning, I headed out with Marc and the work crew to check out houses in the community. It's sometimes hard to decipher what damage is a result of Hurricane Matthew and what is left over from the earthquake. Weaving through small narrow pathways into the neighborhoods of midtown, we quickly gained a following of homeowners anticipating our visit. My job was to capture the scenes, talk to people, learn their stories. The first home we came across saddened and frustrated me, as I found myself face to face again with a failed attempt of international aid to a handicapped woman that had to drag herself across the floor. Her home was constructed after the 2010 earthquake, #0060 of who knows how many shelter-homes that were built in a partnership between American Red Cross, Handicap International and 3 other organizations. The structural design was not lacking, but the wall and roof materials definitely did. The woman had to take upon her own initiative at some point to mud the interior walls to keep wind and rain from breaking through the slatted weaving. The roof, though looking thick and in fairly good shape at first site, was some kind of shingle cardboard material that suffered a gaping hole in the middle. To redirect the pour of rain that came through, she had placed a sheet of tin under the hole. I could rant for paragraphs just on this one home and everything wrong about this type of aid, but I think you can get the picture here.
We then proceeded to repair 5 homes with the remaining supplies left of tin and lumber. My favorite recipient was a young man who was orphaned when he was young and had basically raised himself, working hard to build his own house. At some point he had fallen from a coconut tree on his head and it damaged his hearing. He was so grateful, he bought us all a round of soda. I love being in the community, visiting with the locals and learning of their stories. I ran into a young girl, 7 years old, that was carrying water home. She looked like her skin was that of an alligator. She told me she was not in school because of her illness. We asked around and were able to get her mother to bring her to the clinic for treatment. I told her she needed to bring her to Haiti ARISE and get her into school. Beautiful young girl.
After lunch, a woman with a severe hernia needing an urgent operation came into the clinic. Through connections of the team leader who's spent significant time in Haiti, we were able to get her airlifted by helicopter ambulance to PAP for immediate surgery. Pretty amazing and a great show for all of our team and school kids at the children's village campus.
It was a full first day of work. I've collected some stories to share by video. Here you go. We'll see what we capture tomorrow.