Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Finding the Cure for What Ails You

A few people have written to me asking about my mental and psychological well-being after seeing the devastation and spending so much time in hospitals here. First, let me say thank you for thinking about that aspect in all this. And second, the only word I can really think of to describe the way I feel every day is overwhelmed; and that doesn't even really do it justice.

But I think those who had been to Haiti before the earthquake would say the same thing. Life here in general, is overwhelming. The anger over government corruption and ineptitude, the absolute poverty (especially on an island where the other half is doing just fine), the crowds, the noise, the constant feeling of claustrophobia, the crappy roads that turn what should be an hour drive into a five hour drive, the number of kids begging on the streets, the lack of any kind of infrastructure to create schools or hospitals, and the general feeling of hopelessness that things will get better soon; it's all overwhelming. And then the earthquake hit.

It's typical to hear stories from people who were walking through the streets minutes after the quake hit and could hear people yelling from underneath the rubble and were not able to do anything about it. Parents with their kids underneath. Brothers with their sisters. And students with their classmates. The far too casual manner in which these stories are told make you think that these people have not fully processed what has happened and I know for sure that there aren't enough therapists in Haiti (read: zero) to deal with these long-term mental health issues.

As for me, I have no doubt that some of these things will stay with me for the long-term, but in hopes of gleaning something positive out it, I'd say that it will help me keep perspective in life. For the time being, the thing that's been beneficial for my own mental health has been staying in this house with people who are working in a medical clinic down here. We are all seeing things that don't leave you very easily and it's been great to come back from the day and discuss the things we went through that day.

That, and the fact that last night a new person came down with a two-day old Dashound/Yorkie puppy and after spending some time with that little guy I was ready to go out and fight the world again. I think you just need to figure out your own cure and last night, this was mine.


  1. love this post. very well said. thanks for doing the most difficult work.

    I'm thinking puppies can work miracles.

  2. Truly amazing, thank you for sharing. I love this picture, pure joy exuding from your face and the puppy's!!!

  3. great news re. the new shipment and the fact that it's already been allocated to where it's so disperately needed. Great, graphic photos of the magnitude of the latest shipment and truck delivey sytem. Keep up the wonderful work! Clarendon