Thursday, December 20, 2007

People in the Pictures

A photoessay of Port-au-Prince is in the works on this web log. But will it do any good or is it just some evidence of "what I did on my summer vacation"? Will it help the people that live here? Or is it more of our technology that is "cool" but doesn't enhance the lives of the people trapped in the pictures?


debbie said...

Dr. Carroll--In one paragraph, I think I can feel your frustration. But I think the pictures people see of Haiti do help. After each trip, we share our pictures with whoever will look at them. By putting names & stories with the faces, they become real & personal to those who are not able to go to Haiti. Most of these people will make generous donations that we take to the Missionaries of Charity to be used in their work there.

Each member of the groups we've traveled with has felt some of the frustration you are talking about. How it feels like what we're doing is so small and does it really make a difference?? Father Tom said something at a Mass a few years ago that has helped me with this. "The care is more important than the cure." Our small group isn't going to change Haiti or cure its problems, but by going there and sharing our time, talent and treasure, those people we spend time with will see that someone really does care about them and does want to help in whatever way we can.

Thank you for keeping up this blog. As you are painfully aware, most of the world doesn't care about Haiti but for those of us who do, we are desperate to hear how things are going there.

God bless you & your work with His poorest people.

regalo1225 said...

Dear Dr. John,
I wish I could say it did help, but it doesn't. Poor people are trapped everywhere, including in pictures. Images of physical and structural violence have ceased to have shock value for our culture. In Cambodia, I visited the city garbage dump, Stung Meanchey, where hundreds of families try to live picking through the trash for recyclables. You wouldn't believe how many pictures come up when you search the dump online....and no one is doing anything for the people there.

But, maybe your pictures and words can help pull people in. They have helped pull me to Haiti, a draw that I can't really explain. I go for a week Jan 3. Someday, unfortunately a few years away, I might have something to offer.

Merry Christmas,

John A. Carroll, M.D. said...

Debbie, thank you for your comments.

You write, "...we share our pictures with whoever will look at them." I know just what you mean.

It took me at least 10 years of working in Haiti to finally realize that many people are not interested in seeing pictures that I consider very important. Even though I am still disappointed that not everyone wants to "see", I understand it better now.

I remember giving a presentation regarding Haiti at a Children's Hospital and the Executive Director of the Children's Hospital actually looked away during the entire slide show of Haiti. I think it was just too difficult for him to look at painful medical scenarios in Haiti realizing that he was advocating for private computers in each child's private rooms here.

Brennan, I can't disagree with you.

Keep studying...I know you will make it and be able to combine your work with a photo or two in the future. Your work will help and hopefully your photos won't hurt.

Dr. John