Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Clinic—March 31, 2006

While Maria and I were in Haiti in December, ’05 we didn’t work in Sister Lila’s clinic because the travel would have been too dangerous. Car jacking and kidnappings occurred daily. There were 120 reported kidnappings in December, but only six reported in March. The Haitians that we talk to say the amount of violence has decreased due to the presidential elections that were successfully held on February 7.

When Yvon the driver picked us up today, we were happy to see him. He has been working for sister for years and is very dependable. On airport road, about one mile from where we stay, were concrete road blocks and we pulled over when motioned to do so by UN forces holding carbines. They just asked to see our vehicle's registration papers and were very polite. The soldiers appeared calm talking to the people that walked by. We were gone in two minutes. We saw about 6 white UN tanks on the way to and from the clinic.

Clinic went very well today. Friday is pediatric day and the census was down some (probably about 100 kids) due to the rains at night which fill the puddles in the dirt road and make it very difficult for public transportation to make it down the road.

On the way home, Yvon took a shortcut through Cite Soleil. We went down a new boulevard named after a young man killed by United Nations forces in the last few months. Everything in the slum looked normal to me except the buildings with their walls pockmarked by holes from bullets over the last several years. Gangs and UN forces had fought it out many times.

It was amazing traveling through this slum that is the home to an estimated 200,000 people that had been walled off from the rest of the world for months before the elections. Now kids played on the sidewalks and ladies sold their wares on the street corners as usual. Yvon had a big smile on his face as he drove through…Preval had won and Soleil was quiet for now. Haitians love tranquility.

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