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Haiti, 3rd time around

A quick look on my calendar tells me that it’s already 2012. Hard to believe that the devastating earthquake in Haiti happened already 2 years ago! On my last journey through different countries in Latin American and the Caribbean I had another opportunity to visit to visit this country. On my 2 earlier visits I’ve always chosen ground transports. This time I was flying into Port-au-Prince coming from Santo Domingo. Needless to say that it was so much more comfortable than hours and hours on bumpy roads. The pediatric hospital of nph is pretty close to the airport but the ride it was another brief chance to soak up impressions from the capital. It’s hard to describe as I am quite used to poor places in Latin America but Haiti is different. People seemed to have returned to normality but there is still a lot of destruction and poverty and UN peacekeepers at the same time. And traffic, loads of traffic with loads of traffic jams. People I was dealing with were incredibly nice and open minded. I just wished I spoke more french of creole. Security is a huge issue — at least in the capital. So leaving the hospital was not an option and I spent most of my time there. I remember how I was looking for some diversion and started to jog back and forth behind the hospital building … about 300 meters from the place were they put they lay out the corpses of the dead to the kitchen place of the volunteers and brigades.
And I especially remember this one night when it started to rain like crazy. The water was increasing quickly every minute and I had to hurry up to hang all my belongings under the roof of the tent (big military tent I shared with a medical brigade from Minnesota). Luckily that that rain stopped with the water level had almost reached my mattress! And I remember how I traveled to the orphanage in the mountains. Such a beautiful place!

Even after my third visit I wouldn’t say that I know much of Haiti. With all those huge problems it seems a place with a stunning landscape and such nice people. As for me I will keep my fingers crossed for the country’s future development. Haitian people deserve so much better!

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