The Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Be sweet, and do awesome stuff all the time

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?

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Just when you thought it was safe to live outside October 31, 2010

Filed under: Haiti,New kinds of hell — themadmadmadmadworld @ 3:51 pm
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Hey, remember last week when Haiti was going through a horrible cholera epedemic? That sucked. Now this week we’ve got ourselves a category 3 hurricane headed for our messed-up little tropical paradise. It’s getting to the point where there are no longer separate disasters in Haiti…it just is one.

I’m not exactly stoked about the idea of living through a hurricane, although who better to do it with than a disaster response organization? I’ve signed up to be on the “emergency preparedness team” so that when the storm hits I’ll have a specific task to focus on, instead of just freaking out like I’d planned on doing. There are quite a few people here who are from hurricane-prone areas and they’ve all assured me that although we prepare for the worst, it’s never all that bad. And on the plus side, very few people die from the hurricane itself, it’s more the flooding afterwards that does the most harm.

This is a plus? OK! So instead of killing a bunch of people right off the bat with a swift impact, people get to suffer slowly through drowning and the (even further) spread of disease through the massive quantities of contaminated water that will be flying around the island? Great! And with all these people, some of my friends included, who are still living in tents and shanty towns (or IDP camps, for those in the know), a little flooding is going to affect their lives in a huge way.

Not that I’m panicking…(!!!!). I guess like everything here, we have to take this a day at a time and see how it plays out. The Haitians don’t seem nearly as worried as us Blancs do. I guess they get warnings like this every year, and sometimes it turns out really badly and sometimes it’s OK. Just in case it does get ugly, I’m supposed to let everyone know that they are not to worry, that we have a safe place to ride out the storm, and that we are as well-prepared as we can be. We might lose mass communication for a while, but our families will be updated as soon as possible whenever we’re able to get news out. So keep an eye on the news, and if you don’t hear from me for a few days assume that I’m fine. I will most likely be locked tight in a bunker playing charades and eating Kraft Dinner, which realistically is what I do at home all winter anyway so it won’t be so bad.