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Haitian Winter, Part 2: From C to Shining C, Handy Around the Clinic (Photo Essay)

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Meet Jean "Handy" Tilbert

Handy Tilbert is a celebrity in Haiti. Haitians know him for such artistic endeavors as this:

Yes, Handy was the male lead in Barikad, a tale of forbidden love crossing the often strict class and cultural lines in Haiti. This and other films have won him widespread popularity, not to mention adoration from his female fans. He was also assistant director of another Haitian film,  I Love You Annie , so he has been expanding his skills in film-making to both sides of the camera, even establishing his own film studio.

The film industry was hammered by the earthquake. In fact Handy was teaching a class on video production when it hit, forcing him and his class into the street. And at that moment, his horizons began to change. Of course the first thing he did was race to his mother's house in Petionville to check on his daughter and other relatives (his own house is actually in the mountains of Thomassin), and then, after finding everyone and even the house still in tact, he had to strategize. As friend and sometimes employer, freelance journalist Frank Thorp put it in his blog, On the Goat Path :

He quickly thought about his options, figured out his next move, and told his family to follow him.  After the earthquake everyone who wasn't digging out friends or family members was simply looking for a safe, open area to stay.  The medians of streets were filled with people with nowhere to go, so an alternative had to be found.  The golf course at the Petionville Club was the first thing that came to mind.  It was open, safe, and clean, and let's be honest, there's no chance that a building can fall on you while sitting on one of the fairways of PAP's only golf destination.

The family walked the short distance to the course, put down the possessions they carried with them, and relaxed for the first time all night.  Handy looked around, and there was no one else around.  They were the only ones on the golf course, but in just a few days more than 40,000 displaced Haitians would be calling this their home in what is now the largest tent city in Haiti.  They slept through the night, and when they woke up, others had taken his cue and filtered in to spend a night filled with screams and sorrow on the lush grasses that have now been trampled to dirt and mud. (source)

Ironically, this is the same camp that another actor, Sean Penn, became manager of under the auspices of the J/P Haitian Relief Organization sometime later.

Handy, with his own movie studio destroyed, found himself initially working for the ongoing NBC News crews covering Haiti as their "go-to guy" - driver, translator, "fixer", and a man who seems to know everyone in Haiti, rich or poor, important or everyday. Eventually, however, he became more and more involved in straight-out humanitarian relief work, until he is now the director of the new women's clinic we had come to investigate, and he was eager to show us around this new addition to the annex complex.

The first thing Handy did was show us around the outpatient clinic a bit on the way back to the women's clinic. Here is the waiting room:

And in the rear is actually a 40-foot shipping container that has converted to a small children's clinic. Amazing what you can do with shipping containers, as you will continue to see!

Here are two of the staff at work at the front deck:

Handy next led us back to the actual women's clinic in the rear, a bit small, but a needed addition to heathcare in Port-au-Prince. It has only been open since November, with an official inaugural ceremony following this past December:

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I am a student of history, religion, exoteric and esoteric, the Humanities in general and a tempered advocate for the ultimate manifestation of peace, justice and the unity of humankind through self-realization and mutual respect, although I am not (more...)

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Thanks.... by GLloyd Rowsey on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 7:36:32 PM
Loved finding out about C2C- such an inspiration! ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Friday, Mar 25, 2011 at 12:27:26 PM
Tanx, Meryl... by Mac McKinney on Friday, Mar 25, 2011 at 4:05:45 PM