Second post today. Not going to be a long one, but a clarifying note for myself. A while ago, I posted a post, where I stated
It’s hard to see people who are at times, just so unwilling to make the minimal effort to help themselves.
I understand that a little better now.
A key difference between this trip and last is that I have been living with only Haitians, interacting with only Haitians, and really living a Haitian lifestyle. We travelled to Mirebalais, in the central plateau, this weekend to retrieve some supplies for our project and to do some shopping (not for dresses, but for hoses and hammers and etc) in Port-Au-Prince.
Mirebalais is where most of our other projects in Haiti currently are in. It is also where cholera started back in 2010. The river, Artibonite, is what originally carried the disease downstream to Mirebalais. I stayed at a house right next to Artibonite. After bouncing in the back of a tap-tap, then another tap-tap, then a motorcycle from seven in the morning, I was ready for a shower, but far too tired to retrieve buckets of water. So we swam in the L’Artibonite to shower. Was I aware of the relations between cholera and Artibonite? Wi. I was. Was I just being dumb and lazy? One can see it that way. Certainly, I saw it that way. But what the old me failed to comprehend is that sometimes, it’s really difficult to imagine and be concerned with these invisible little bugs that some blan is telling you about when what is present in front of you is your exhaustion.
Almost every family in Plaisance that we’ve talked to still cooks or cleans with water from their stream. They are fully, completely aware of the danger of the river. They would never drink untreated water from the river or anywhere – but it is difficult to get the energy to make the 1.5 hour trip for pipe water when the river is 10 minutes away. The system has failed, not the people.