It sounds odd to call a ravine full of trash beautiful but some days, I am truly struck by a strange beauty there. It lives mostly in the good-hearted people but also in the water, the tents, the sunset, even the trash.
I have read reports that less than 2% of Port-au-Prince has been rebuilt since the earthquake. Remarkably, houses have been reconstructed in the ravine! Every week, I see men laying blocks and mixing concrete, building not only homes but also walls along the narrow ravine walkway.
In April 2009, one of the ravine parents stopped me because his infant daughter's leg was swollen, hot and stiff with infection. It was serious enough that I sent them straight to the hospital. Over the following months, I checked on that baby regularly as the infection went away but the affected knee stayed stiff and immobile. We sent the child for x-rays, had her seen by several American doctors, worked on physical therapy with the family, but saw no real improvement. I guessed that she would never walk properly on the leg. The last time I saw her was in the fall of 2009 - I remember we prayed for the knee that day - and then I didn't see them again until this past week.
My patient and her parents in 2009
We were walking down through part of the ravine neighborhood when I heard a voice yelling my name at the top of his lungs. It was the baby's dad and he made me wait while he ran around the corner to his little shack and came back with the little girl. She was walking perfectly.
My patient and her dad September 2010