Port au Prince, Haiti Day 7

The internet connection is still spotty. I have begun exploring the area where I am working and there are still places where the smell of death permeates my nose. I believe there will be 1/2 million people dead–some never accounted for. How many restavek children or elder Marchan w/o a home or w/o people just disappeared?

I have heard some strong evidence of resiliency and of spirit. In some communities, 45-100 families are all sleeping outside in a shared space, taking turns buying food for all, cooking, providing security. Those who still have jobs give more.

I met several mental health professionals yesterday who came to a meeting I convened to begin to identify local resources for the many requests I receive for “trauma counseling”. They sat through the meeting and asked if I could meet with them afterwards. They asked if I could “evaluate them” to see how much they were affected, and if they should work. They are all sleeping on the streets They all work at local ngo’s and are tasked with tending to their staffs fear and trauma. They are all beginning to provide psychosocial programs in the tent cities. No rest, no time to process their own experience, and the demands of an entire country mourning the loss of an estimated 90% of schools, thousands of schoolchildren, a significant percentage of Haiti’s professionals crushed in government buildings, schools, hospitals.

Today, a local security guard and gardener, who lost two children when his house fell and has never found them. Sleeping in the road near his former house, still waiting for his children. He tries to sleep, sitting up; he is too scared to lie down. He starts awake all night, thinking he hears them calling him, or walking towards him. He waits each night for them to come home, or for the proof that they never will.

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