Monday, January 25, 2010

From Haiti

Brother Jim's reflections for 24 Jan 2010

Today started out as any other day this week. We went to our site, found the wounded and set up camp. The usual wounds and the usual infections were there. NPR visited us so maybe you'll be able to hear about it on the radio. Three things stick out in my mind today, the cases of diarrhea, the orphan, and the transportation of patients.

Diarrhea is now starting to take over the camps. Many many mothers came in with their babies, and adults came in as well. We offered them water with sugar and salt. There was little else we could do. My guess is that soon the entire camps will be infected. We also saw a case of conjunctivitis, which as any school teacher can tell you spreads quickly. To this point my previous third world experience has shown me that a child can be playing one day, get diarrhea the next, and be dead the following day. As we were leaving the camp I noticed a number of children playing. What is in store for three days from now?

While we were seeing patients a taxi driver came up to us with a small boy. He told me that the boy's entire family was killed in the quake, and that he had latched onto him for the past week. The driver was nice, but had three children of his own and could no longer afford the small boy. I flagged down a couple from the Dominican Republic and convinced them to take him home for one month. From there I will try to put them in contact with the Jesuits in Santo Domingo to see where we can go from there.

Finally, our Neurosurgeon told us today that there are three of the worst wounded people in town who are at a clinic and needed to get to surgery. We had no way to transport them and did not know what to do. At that moment someone noticed a large flatbed truck with the front window broken out. When I asked who owned the truck I had to laugh... it belongs to Fe y Alegria, the school I work for. In essence, it was my truck! We drove to the clinic, found the patients and transported them. The will never walk again, but they will live.
Brother Jim Boynton, SJ

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