Friday, February 12, 2010

Prayer, fasting, and ideas

Katie earlier wrote about the 3 days of fasting and prayer. This is the church outside our window. That is the crowd. Not trying to get in- that is the crowd standing outside on the steps and on the sidewalk for church. I have to admit, initially I was skeptical. What sense does it make for a country of starving people to fast? Isn't that like every other day? But the turnout is undeniable.
 
Across the street from the hospital is an open space where people are living in tents. They were also using it to hold church today. The pastor, above, delivered a powerful sermon in Creole. They sang for hours. I was inside the hospital working with a PT from Hattiesberg, Mississippi, and I joined along when I could. I sang along to "Nothing But the Blood", and took part in their liturgy, repeating "Thank You Jesus" and "Hallelujah" as a congregation.
Haitians make anything they can into a seat for worship, including this broken down dozer.
I spent the morning with Carol, the PT from Mississippi. He is a giant of a man. He was easily 5 inches taller than me and 30 lbs heavier- most of it solid southern muscle. He is the 1st physical therapist I have seen in the country. We went around the hospita,l exercising the legs of patients who have external fixations. We worked for two hours and must have visited with 9 patients- all of them with scary metal contraptions sticking out of their femurs and tibias. 
Most Haitians are afraid of being indoor,s so all of the patients we saw were in tents in the hospital's courtyard. Kate had the camera and was busy loving on babies, so I have no pics, but imagine this: 20 camping tents with 2-4 patients in each. They eat, sleep and go to the bathroom in the tents. It smells of urine and there are flies everywhere. They also sweat in there. It has been more humid lately, and the camping tents are not the breeziest place. The stench is still with me.
I have seen a lot in the last month that will stick with me. Each time I see something new and terrible, I am shocked that it still gets to me, but I am quickly thankful that I have not become desensitized to what is going on. The hospital was a hopeful place, but it was also a place of terrible, quiet suffering. It reminded me that it will be a very long time before life is "back to normal" here.
This is CNN anchor Anderson Coopers blog. I have seen very little news coverage of Haiti, but everything I have seen and read from Cooper has been spot-on. He is telling about the Haiti I know, and his feelings about the last 4 weeks are close to mine. I respect the hell out of anyone who has been here voluntarily for as long as he has been, and Dr. Gupta too. (Apologies to my dad, who is a strong Fox News viewer).

This is an article on Haitian sovereignty. I am generally against the idea of any nation giving up their right to self-government. Pay close attention to this issue, there are a lot of rumors here in PAP about what might happen, but this is the first time I have seen it mentioned in a news article.

Ben

1 comment:

  1. I hope you're having an enjoyable, relaxing time in Santo Domingo. Just dropping by to let you know you're missed. :-)

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