Friday, February 26, 2010
The Ravine post-quake
My Ravine on Delmas 31 also suffered badly in the earthquake. Many of the tiny homes lost a wall or a roof, and some were completely flattened. Some rebuilding has already started, but most people are living in camps all over the area. Others have fled to their families in the provinces, but are starving there as the little villages cannot support the influx of refugees.
I visited 2 of the many camps in the area around the Ravine and saw several of my regulars there. They were very happy to see me and I was very happy to see them. It is hard to not be able to do more for them, but I just don't have the tents, tarps, food, and jobs that they need. Of course, I did not only treat my usual patients; there were many that I had never seen before. It changes the program - instead of a consistent pattern of seeing the same children every week and being able to stay on top of each individual's health, I am seeing crowds of kids in each camp and may not be able to return to any particular camp more than once a month simply because of the quantity of camps and the high demand for medical care.
I have heard confirmation of 4 deaths among my little patients: Memene, Orel, an unnamed newborn, and Lovenide. Lovenide was one of my favorite kids. She always sat on the stairs beside her house or behind the grate on her porch and watched me coming with her big eyes and a quirky smile. Her mother, a charcoal seller, was more concerned with my health and my well-being than with her family's needs, which clearly were numerous. Their house collapsed so completely that I almost didn't recognize it. A neighbor told me that everyone died: Lovenide, her mother, and her older brother.
Life is not fair. Why did that sweet little girl and her darling mother and her shy brother not survive? Why did they lie rotting under concrete blocks and scraps of metal for days until someone dug them out only to dump them on the street where a truck could pick them up and take them to a mass grave miles outside Port-au-Prince? Why do things like this have to happen?
I hate the word "earthquake".