Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Violence in Soleil--March 5, 2012 (Updated)

While entering Soleil yesterday morning (Monday, March 4, 2012) my driver Jean Claude and I  noticed hundreds if not thousands of young people walking in the streets. This seemed unusual and looked like a demonstration was just ending.

Jean Claude grew up in Soleil and always has his ear to the ground.  I asked him what was going on. He said he had no idea and pulled over on the main road.

Jean Claude stuck his head out the window and asked people walking by what was happening. We were told that there was a shooting of a man in Bois Neuf that morning. Bois Neuf is a section of Soleil just a few blocks away. The victim was taken to a hospital and was in critical condition. And the victim just happened to be a school director for a group of very popular schools in Soleil that provide education and hot meals for over 6,000 children every day.

The people from the slum were enraged with the shooting of this man and attempted to set shacks on fire in Bois Neuf where they thought the shooters could be. MINUSTAH stepped in at that point and stopped the place from going up in flames.

None of this sounded good.

Love--March 6, 2012--Photo by John Carroll
So we proceeded to the pediatric clinic in the back of Soleil and hundreds of patients were waiting like usual on a Monday morning.

The pathology in the clinic was the same. One of my little patients was a 10 month old baby girl named Love. She was brought to the clinic by a lady that is not her mother because her mother is "crazy" according to the caregiver.

Love had been sick for 15 days with fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. She lives in a tent.

The baby did appear quite ill--dehydrated, hot, and lethargic. Love needed to be admitted to St. Catherine's Hospital in Soleil which is only about 50 yards from our pediatric clinic.

However, because of the shooting of the school director earlier in the morning, St. Catherine's had sent home their entire staff of doctors and nurses and advised other doctors on their way not to come into the slum. So the patients in the hospital were on their own and I could not send Love to St. Catherine's for an IV and antibiotics.

So I told the caregiver that she needed to leave Soleil now and go to St. Damian's Hospital in Tabarre right away. And if she did not do this Love would probably die. The caregiver was excellent and agreed to leave right then for the Tabarre hospital.

The slum has so many problems with violence being one of them. Violence and fear closes things down and people like Love can die easier from stupid deaths.

(I will verify what is posted above and update with any additions or corrections as soon as possible.)


Tuesday Night, March 6, 2012

I heard from very reliable sources that it was Jean Nelson who was shot and killed. Mr. Nelson was Fr. Tom Hagan's right hand man in Soleil and director of Hands Together Schools in Cite Soleil.
Another teacher was killed at the same time and Mr. Nelson's brother was shot but was not killed. I do not know the extent of his injuries.

Hands Together has over 6,000 children in their schools and feeding programs in Cite Soleil.

Apparently 15 men were involved in the shooting in Bois Neuf early yesterday morning.

Mr. Nelson was also director of Boukman Radio Station in Cite Soleil. He had lost both his wife and child during the 2010 earthquake.

The pediatric clinic today was only one quarter full by my count. Three of our doctors did not come to work today because of the violence in Soleil. Another man was shot in Bois Neuf today...I don't know his outcome.

St. Catherine's Hospital, right across the field from our pediatric clinic was essentially devoid of medical staff again today.

We know who died form the terrible shooting yesterday but we don't know the many others who MAY have died because they could not venture out into the streets to get to the clinic or to St. Catherine's Hospital today.

A manifestation is planned for Soleil in the morning in honor of Mr. Nelson.

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