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Life Arts    H4'ed 2/16/11

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

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On February 4th independent journalist Georgianne Nienaber and I flew into Haiti for a five day whirlwind investigative tour led by our driver and "fixer", Andre Paultre, a journalist's best friend in Haiti. This is the second piece in my series, "Haitian Winter".


We left you peering out the window of our (Andre's actually) Toyota 4Runner in Part One, in my first return to Port-au-Prince since last May, so hold on, we have a ways to go still to get to our destination:

What has changed since my last trip? One thing you see are more signs of reconstruction, although only the surface has been scratched thus far, and only something like 5% of all the earthquake rubble in Haiti has been removed, if that much. Here is one building going up:

But much of Port-au-Prince and its outlaying suburbs still consists of shanty towns and tents:

But that is not to say that there is not plenty of enterprise in Haiti. In fact everyone has to hustle to survive, so there are small businesses everywhere, whether entrepreneurs have roofs over their heads or not. Indeed, omnipresent open markets are one of the key hallmarks of Haitian society.

And Haitians, it seems, particularly in the metropolitan centers, are always on the go, whether it be by the public taxis called Tap-taps, or by the myriad motor scooters flying out of nowhere everywhere, or as you will see later, by horse or donkey.

Below, several Haitians climbing in or out of a Tap-tap:

There are trucks galore everywhere as well:

It is a wonder that everything keeps running, with so many shortages in Haiti. Well, almost everything:

Now we are getting closer to our destination:

Really close:

Finally, our destination:

This is the refurbished annex compound of nearby, earthquake-damaged Grace Children's Hospital, whose inpatient clinic was condemned because of the Great Quake and later demolished, although, fortunately, the same fate did not befall the entire hospital, which lay caddy-corner across the street behind me as I was taking this picture. Grace Children's was founded in 1967 as the flagship ministry of ICC or International Child Care, and, as the name implies, the hospital specializes in the care of children, particularly the treatment of  tuberculosis (TB), and, because it is so important to children's health in Port-au-Prince, efforts are already well underway to rebuild and even expand it.

Moreover, ICC medical personnel, dauntless of the January 12, 2010 earthquake that rocked the entire city and most of the country, continued to work out of tents on the campus to provide what services they could in any way they could during and after the disaster. And fortunately the hospital's satellites have also continued to function in various ways. What we are looking at above is actually an outpatient clinic, although it too suffered damage. However, generous donations to Grace Children's have helped restore and expand it as well:

Yes, you are reading the words "Hockey for Haiti", and this does not refer to field hockey, but ice hockey. This plaque actually acknowledges an ongoing program set up by the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) and World Vision Canada to help rebuild Grace Children's Hospital. From the World Vision Canada website:

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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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