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Haiti

Last Friday I got a short-dated and surprising offer to join one of the transports that bring goods and aid from the NPH home here in the Dominican Republic to the hospital St. Damian in Haiti. We started Friday at midnight: one bus, 2 pickups and the truck with me as the co-pilot and Colin (a relaxed guy from California) as the driver. We have almost 9 hours of road to go and that is much. It’s dark, the lights of our truck are badly adjusted and that’s definitely shitty when there are bumpers and deep road holes appear every once in a while. And sometimes there are more potholes than paved part on the road.

Dominican soldiers in “desert storm” uniforms control the roads; however there is no control when entering Haiti. No stamp, no visa, no nothin’. The border area looks bizarre. The white dust from the unpaved road covers the trees, bright rocks and a lake that flooded areas that were uncovered before give me a surreal impression. Now there are more trucks and transports going towards Port-au-Prince. At the same time there are groups of people walking towards the border. To the right we see a fort of the UN with a tank ran by blue helmets. We are not entering the capital but to Tabarre where the NPH hospital is located. On the way we pass a couple of tent camps. Obviously just build out of sheets. There isn’t that much devastation here but the damages get stronger the closer we come to the city. We reach the hospital at 9 am and it’s much bigger than expected! Some walls have come down and elevators and such things are not working. There are many people being busy: Italian civil defense, volunteers from all over the world (many Italians though), doctors, nurses, coordinators, tents outside, many patients inside. I meet a couple of people I already now. It’s not as chaotic as I thought but I can see that these people have worked hard to get everything organized in the last weeks …

In the next couple of hours I try to gather as much information as possible and to take some good photos as well. At 2 p.m. we start heading back. I am already tired. And we still have 9 hours to go …

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