Hello dear medi for help team in Haiti,
Thanks so much for letting me share your day to day life for a few days. Thanks, too, for your warm welcome, and your open arms, and the warmness of your reception.
You showed me how you work and live, and how difficult everything is for you. And what you eat and drink too. I was able to visit Tscho’s house – we went to the market together.
Makile and Nicole showed me how they prepare breadfruit and other foods. Alix, Joel, Ralph and I drove together in the mobile clinic to Sankt Marc and Mirbailles. The journeys were adventurous considering the state of the roads and all that traffic, but we also had time for interesting talks and discussions.
You showed me how wonderfully you deal with your patients, but also how patient you all have to be, and how grateful the patients are for your help. That’s the very special thing about your work, and an invaluable asset! I saw how much is of little or no importance – and how little you actually need and still be satisfied.
But I also saw things that made me sad and angry: malnourished children, although the climate is good for growing everything, goats that are left unmilked although milk is imported from France, schooling that is still bad and only taught sporadically, the difficult hygiene conditions, and the omnipresent apathy. I had to get used to the rubbish and filth lying around everywhere. Water and electricity supplies still can’t be taken for granted although they are possible in the 21st century. The Haitians only know this way of life, and they accept it. Foreign aid – help for self-help – is still urgently needed.
But the people themselves are happy and in a good mood. That’s infectious, and encourages us to make self-help possible. We must support their will to live, improvements in hygiene, realistic chances for education, rights for women and girls, healthcare in towns and villages, and above all projects to establish long-term autonomy and independence!
I so wish that the medi for help project gets the chance to provide for the most basic needs over the next few years – the CPOs are all trying their best. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and follow developments with a keen interest, and pass on my experiences and opinion whenever possible.
My love and very best wishes to Ralph, Alexis from Puerto Rico, the Swiss girl Georgina, CPO Jimmi, the Canadians Kevin and Paula, the US and Cuban physiotherapists, the paediatricians from Colorado, and all the many other helpers I was privileged to get to know, and who gave me such a warm welcome.