Saturday, December 17, 2005


Samuel is a tall young twenty-something Haitian man that could "have made something of himself" if Haiti hadn't failed him. He appears significantly thinner than when we met him in the dark one night in the middle of a street in PAP. His facial bones are now more prominent but his smile is still perfect.

When Samuel was 8 years old, some other kids doused his pants in gasoline and they caught on fire when he walked too close to something hot. He suffered a bad burn on the lower aspect of his right leg which never really healed. It turned into a twisted, mangled piece of flesh which he was glad to show us in the dark that night. It covered much of his right calf.

We sent Samuel to a hospital on two separate occasions where he underwent skin grafts. The biopsy of the edge of his chronic wound showed cancer. This is not uncommon in burns that are not treated properly and never heal they way they should. The scar tissue makes repeated attempts to heal the wound but instead becomes cancer. Samuel and his leg tried hard, but those that control Haiti didn't do their job.

Samuel was very happy that the skin graft took and that his leg looked and felt better but that did not help the fact that the edges were hiding cancer. He would e mail often asking for as much as he could get from people that have everything. Samuel never stopped asking for more. This behavior can drive people away because enough is never enough for people "like Samuel."

Recently, he e mailed that he had an ulcer the size of a mango in his right thigh area. This only meant one thing to me...his cancer had metastasized. We hospitalized him again and paid for everything. His wounds in his right thigh didn't heal and another biopsy was done and was read as indeterminate. But it is cancer.

We change the dressings now on his large open thigh wound that causes Samuel to cry tears and he doesn't cry easily. We give him the cheap third world pain killers that help him for an hour and I slap some narcotic patches on him occasionally from a friend of mine that died from cancer at home.

Christmas is approaching. Samuel's roommate has said that he will throw him out on the street because of the stench of Samuel's open cancer wound. We gave Samuel 100 more dollars to help him with food and with rent if he gets pictched out. Even if he is trumping us for this money, it is money well spent because Samuel got trumped by Haiti.

I hate to see Samuel or to look into his eyes or hear him plead for more help. I don't want to "help" him anymore. I just want him to die peacefully, but I know that he won't. He asks me for a visa to travel to anywhere for help. I don't go to bat for him. All that nasty paperwork. I won't do it and no one else will either.

Samuel could have made something of himself.

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