They warned us that it would be strange to return. The guy at the camera store wondered if my pictures of Haiti were obtained when my cruise ship stopped there. People prepare for the festive long weekend ahead: some off to Florida to play golf, others to celebrate carnival in Trinidad. Teenagers struggle with their acne breakouts. And thousands are without power in the cold and buried in snow.
I am reminded of my first glimpse of Port au Prince as we arrived at the end of the day to see well dressed people emerging from offices, students in uniform in the streets, and vendors selling fresh fruit on the sidewalks. Where, I wondered, is the catastrophe? I soon discovered that many of these apparently unaffected people were sleeping on sheets in courtyards and parks, but putting themselves together and going to work anyway.
And so life goes on.
In addition to sleeping and napping and managing my photos, I have been trying to email and fulfill promises made to Haitians to get them supplies, to connect students with opportunities abroad, and to thank the countless people who made my ten days there so special. Back at home, I want to thank the following for helping to get my trip off the ground:
- Eastern Mountain Sports for the discount on my boots which carried me over dusty, rocky terrain
- Maggie at CVS in Larhmont who facilitated the purchase of much needed medications to take along
- My sister, Rose, who organized me during the 24 hours before departure
- RedOak transportation who ferried me to JFK for free
- Jet Blue who gave me a break on my last minute flight home from Santo Domingo
- Greenwich Hospital for the supplies they sent which I have taken and shipped
- Children of the Nations International who drove me to Barahona from SD and allowed me to work briefly with the 12 precious patients in their clinic in spite of our religious differences and motivations
- ProVision which housed me in Jimani (on the border) and in Port au Prince so that I could work with their team and mine to set up the Pernier clinic (now seeing over 200 patients a day)
- Real Medicine Foundation which went out on a limb to send me out on their first mission to Haiti/DR.
- Robin Kaufman who as usual held it all together in my office
- Drs Ross and Avvocato who covered my practice
- Countless friends and family who cared for my kids and home while I was absent
The stories are circulating in my head. They will emerge on paper soon. Stay tuned. Meanwhile,
senses for the day:sight: bare trees and my pictures of the tropics
sound: my crackling fire and flush toilets
smell: cold winter air and bath oil
taste: homemade chocolate chip cookies and white wine
touch: my clean hair