At another tent city there is a nineteen year-old boy, one of many, with a blood pressure reading of 160/100. A young girl, 14 years old, cannot eat. Her diagnosis: mental anguish. There is a mother whose thoughts run wild and sometimes escapes her as she searches for the son she placed in an orphanage, so that he could be properly fed. Is he missing? Is he dead? Is he alive? Was he put up for adoption without her knowing. Daily, she wonders.
How do you soothe such people? Is the prescription Atenenol for the boy-man? Do you gently tell the girl that her loss of appetite is due to depression? Do you tell the mother -- Kenbe fem?
Upon my return, many asked if I was emotionally drained. The answer is an unequivocal no, but I was physically tired. There is a law at work in the universe, as you give out you will be poured into. My trip to Haiti was a no holds barred deal. I would listen fully and give all that I had to give. Every morning, upon waking, I found I had more to give. More love. More mercy. More compassion. The people deserved all I had to give.
Haitians are living in a land that is impoverished and stripped of life, and lonely -- though it teems with people. The earthquake exposed the subterranean barrenness. Is there a prescription for Haiti? How do you save a life?
Are the answers found in vitamins, deworming pills, and cough syrup? You help one child, but his neighbor you cannot reach. Port-au-Prince needs triage, emergency medical care in the form of renwed government and intensive care in the form of education. The treatments we bring to Haiti right now are primitive, we have not even stepped into the realm of primary care.
It appears that the nation has a severe case of gangrene. How do you treat it? Many who go to Haiti to help are at a loss at how to stop the confusion and chaos. The answer lies in closely examining the terrain, in this case, all the weakened infrastructure, and removing everything that does not work. All things that are dead must go, and must be replaced with systems that are alive. Many of these structures have already been identified. Let us hope that 2011 brings honest rebuilding and restoration.