Friday, April 2, 2010

Getting On With Life in Haiti?

The music is blaring in the physical therapy room, with a mixture of Haitian and Jamaican calypso songs. It's a beautiful day, the sun is very bright and very hot, everyone is sweating, but it doesn't matter, no one is complaining. All three therapists, including Project HOPE’s very own Claude Hillel who arrived from New York on Tuesday night, are working tirelessly and around the clock to accommodate the physical therapy needs of the patients. Occasionally there is a soft refreshing breeze that transiently cools the skin, how refreshing.

Amongst the tragedy, there is physical and emotional hurt, there is acceptance, there is healing and then there is life again. For example, 19-year-old V.C. has been living at L'Escale since February 19. She is getting very close to the completion of her therapy. Discharge planning is in progress. But where will she go? V.C., as she told me through an interpreter was brought from a medical site at the airport in Port-au-Prince after her leg was amputated below the knee. As she spoke with me there was no eye contact. The floor was her visual field and sadness was in her eyes and on her face as she played with her hands. I stooped beside her as she told her story. V.C. had no idea where her family was, whether they were dead or alive. No one had been able to get in contact with them. She had no means of getting in contact with them herself, as she had no phone and no phone number. V.C .was not even sure the house she once called home, filled with family, laughter and chattering, was still standing.

This to date will definitely be my biggest challenge. Where do I start? There is no official site or person to contact for a displaced person trying to reconnect with their family. No known registry in place as of yet, as noted in a recent leadership meeting. For now, the International Red Cross located in Port-au-Prince might be my best starting point. I will initiate the process in the morning.

During the afternoon we were visited by staff from the Boston Globe newspaper located in Boston Massachusetts. While here in Port-au-Prince on assignment, they were informed of the service that we were providing at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer’s (HAS) free of charge for the people of Haiti. The meeting was very positive as they were not only surprised but very impressed in what we were accomplishing, for those that are so in need.

Our day ended with the arrival of two large trucks filled with 112 boxes of supplies, that were donated to HAS and the Hanger Prosthesis Clinic. This is very exciting, because the long awaited prosthesis covers have finally arrived.

As I helped to sort through some of the boxes, two of the therapists went to L'Escale to provide continued physical therapy to our “home" based patients.

Thanks for reading- Joy Williams

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1 comment:

  1. Joy, thinking of you, especially this weekend as we celebrate our risen Lord! We are keeping you and all that is being done there in our prayers.

    We love you!

    Donna, Steve & boys