The Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Be sweet, and do awesome stuff all the time

Lapli te tombe…soti soley! November 8, 2010

Filed under: Haiti — themadmadmadmadworld @ 2:42 am
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I figured I would update on the situation in Leogane, as I’ve gotten a few requests from people wondering what’s going on. Overall, the flooding only affected certain areas of town, and (according to the locals) was pretty normal for after a big storm. All Hands is going out this week to do “mudding”, which is what they did in Gonaives, Haiti, after a hurricane in 2008. Basically volunteers will be going to affected neighbourhoods with buckets and shovels to help people get all the water and mud out of their homes. It’s a fairly simple (but messy) job that most homeowners have been doing themselves, but people are grateful to have the help. Tomorrow a team of volunteers will be cleaning up Hopital St-Croix, the only hospital in town, which has been temporarily shut down due to flooding.

As for how I’ll be involved, unfortunately I am a rat deserting a sinking ship and can’t take credit for any of this good work going on: about a month ago, my friend Alice booked us a vacation in the Dominican Republic for this week. Although the timing isn’t great, it’s also non-refundable, and we’ve decided to go ahead with our plans. I’m not leaving Leogane without a certain amount of guilt, but that’s an emotion I’m getting pretty used to carrying around on a daily basis. The next time you hear from me, I plan to be well-rested, well-fed, well-tanned and well-boozed, and more than ready to get back on the hard labour train.

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Lapli ap tombe November 6, 2010

Filed under: Haiti,New kinds of hell — themadmadmadmadworld @ 2:32 am
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I’ll hopefully have a more complete post once I have some time to wrap my head around the situation, but I just wanted to send out a quick update to let you all know that although the situation is far from ideal, it could be a lot worse in Leogane right now. Hurricane Tomas brushed the far Western penninsula of Haiti, and the only effect we felt here in our area was relatively heavy rainfall. Leogane is a fairly low-lying area notorious for flooding during tropical storms, and today was no exception. Although the neighbourhood our base is in wasn’t directly affected by the flooding, some of our friends and other people we know in the community were hit pretty bad. I went out this afternoon to visit some friends, and at some points in the streets I was up past my knees in fast-moving water. The sewage canals are all overflown, into the streets and into people’s homes. You just couldn’t think about what was in the water or else you wouldn’t be able to keep going. For the most part, people seem to be handling things as they always do. There seems to be a prevailing attitude of “Yep, this sucks. But what can we do? Cry about it?” And then everyone gets on with their daily lives, as best they can with a river rushing through their living rooms.

All Hands will be back at work tomorrow. We’re not sure what exactly we’re going to be doing, but it’s been a weird week of sort of waiting and preparing for a disaster that sort of ended up happening but not really, and we’re all dying to get back out in the field in whatever capacity we can. The worst thing about being here is the impotence you feel when you see something terrible happening to someone else and there’s nothing you can do to help them. It’s a daily occurence, and this week it was exponentially worse. On the flip side of that, we are here to help, and we wouldn’t still be here if there was absolutely nothing we could do. The thing to do this week will be to focus on what we are capable of doing, and getting out there to do it well. Because what else are we going to do? Cry?