The morning was spent seeing patient at St. Vincent’s School for the Handicapped with the team from Homeopaths Without Borders. Mostly new patients but a few that came back for follow ups, with big smiles. Fevers were gone, pains were improved. In the afternoon I connected with an acquaintance I had previously met in India that is a native from Haiti-it’s a small world. After a wonderful lunch at her home, we walked along the streets from her home, farther up the mountain side. The street turned to paths and sometimes trails as we wandered through a hillside suburb of Port-au-Prince. There are dead cars periodically along the roads, hit by debris and crushed. They now become a car-parts store for others, and some are simply being slowly consumed by growing piles of rocks, trash, and new plants and trees. Power lines hang low enough to touch, some are cut. We are headed to the home of a family friend, who is 72, and has an injured knee.
We pass by a large rubber bladder, about 10’ X 20’ that is filled with drinking water, connected to faucets. This is where the people in this area come to fill buckets of water, and carry them back on their heads for the days use. Pigs, along with the occasional dog, or goat are seen foraging in the trash piles.
We find our way in the maze of twists and turns to a tiny hut with 2 beds and a table. She is here, and has her left knee bandaged. I ask to have a look, and her son first washes his hands with rubbing alcohol, and then removes the bandages, to reveal a 2 inch ulcerated infection, which she says is improved since now it is draining, but it is still difficult to walk. I promise to return with something to speed the healing tomorrow, and give some general advice.
During this time a beautiful little girl stood by closely and watched. All the girls here wear colored barrettes and ribbons in their hair. I asked to take her picture, and she is excited, and starts to pose-there is beauty everywhere.
Many children can’t attend school because it is not free. Grade school costs $100/year tuition, add-on the costs of supplies and uniforms, etc and it costs about $250/year. This is beyond the reach of many families, so these children will not even have a chance for a future. My friend mentioned that many of her American friends want to know how to help, and one of the best ways is to pay the tuition for a child. She had recently received money for just this purpose. And, as we were walking back to the house we saw a girl and boy carrying jugs of water. We stopped to talk with them, and it turned out they lived in the area, and didn’t go to school because their parents couldn’t afford it. She sent someone to follow them home, and meet their parents, and check out their story.
As I snapped a picture of them I said—this was their lucky day.