Archive for the ‘Haiti’ Category

Noah funeral 4b.jpgTwo funerals this year so far; one shocking, one elegiac. Both with foreign condolences; one military, the other medical.  Both with plenty of food after; one pushed down with tea, the other with vodka.  Both with memories of lives lived; of 11 weeks, and of 96 years.  Both funerals are worth a thought.  But I’ll tell you of baby Noah’s now.

How can a funeral capture both the sense of loss, the genuine loss; and the sense of hope, confidence?   And also a mysterious third dimension- that it is better to have genuinely loved and lost, is better than never having loved at all, so never suffered the loss?

Lament
This funeral did work us for the tears: ♫Benedictus, Karl Jenkins; ♫Jealous of the Angels, Katherine Jenkins; ♫ Brahms’ Lullaby, Celine Dion. (more…)

2_Stacey-Dooley.jpgStacey Dooley – “White Saviour” in Uganda. ?
Bill Lovett – “White Saviour” in Uganda. Really?
The charity I work for -“White Saviours” in Uganda/South Sudan. Really? Really?

The fuss has gone, but the issue remains.  Was Stacey Dooley, and so many other white folk flying in to “do good” actually do bad.  Reinforce racial stereotypes.  Emote.  Post “look-at-me doing good” pics on FB and Instagram.  Then fly off, leaving those village Ugandan’s no better off whatsoever.

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web3-gaurdian-angel-public-domain.jpgMy grandson surprised me a few weeks back.  We were drawing “spooky” drawing, when he suddenly turned and told me ghosts did not exist.  Well do I agree, so he does not have nightmares?  But then condemn his imagination to sterile literalism?  Is what exists, only what you can see, measure, touch?

It’s not true either.  Beyond sight there’s a world of spirits, unusual presences (which we give names like angels, demons, archangels).  And beyond them – God.  Kids see or sense more than we do.

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World Cup 3.jpg

Germany about to go out. As watched on Hospital Cashier

A shout goes up from the Hospital Cashiers.  Here in Haiti, I have heard shouting in Cashiers before. Angry patients, or cries of despair over the death of a loved one.  But while grappling deeply with a knotty problem, my concentration was broken, and the shouting went on and on.  It was not consternation, but excitement.  South Korea were about to knock out Germany in The World Cup, and the queues in Cashiers were watching it on the Cashiers TV. Shrieking and shouting.

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women-haiti-phoneRing, ring, ring – and the thread of your discussion goes ping!  We’re discussing a complex accounting issue with my Haitian colleagues, in three languages (English, French, Creole).  Then … a shrill jingle… the phone is picked up.  And poof! The thread of thought is broken.  On another day I was in a personal 1-to-1 conversation with a Haitian friend … a shrill jingle… the phone is picked up.  And poof! A sheepish smile “sorry, I won’t be a moment.”

If I’m honest – after many visits to Haiti, I still get annoyed.  For a people who value personal relations so highly, I wondered why is an incoming call given such priority over face to face conversation.

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2131adf2-945a-453b-aa21-94eb453b7052.jpgIn light of the recent Haiti aid scandal and on-going questions over international aid, the Medical Director of Hospital HCBH, Dr Paul Toussaint, has written the below reflection.  It’s a longer blog than normal, but a very insightful reflection from the perspective of one of Haiti’s leading Paediatricians:

Charities work in many sectors: Water, sanitation, health education, human rights etc. But why so many organisations?  What are the results?  We are asking these questions perplexed.

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Embassy Visit

HHA team with UK Ambassador and Hospital leadership. Us in our DFID T-shirts. team work. no abuse. May 201

Orgies, sexual favours – all part of Oxfam’s 2011 Haiti crisis. And in South Sudan also.  We were in Haiti in this period too, and also help in South Sudan.  After the cataclysmic 2010 earthquake – Hope Health Action and The Baptist Hospital swiftly repurposed buildings to take in spinal injuries, and later cholera victims.  Working intensely with other agencies and of course, the Baptist Hospital, many lives were saved, though many many more were beyond our reach.  It was a desperate time.  And Oxfam, with its hugely larger funds, backed with UK-Aid was able to reach more. 

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