Ailish O’Reilly, our Programmes Manager in Haiti, keeps us up to date on the emergency and recovery efforts going on in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
SUNDAY | DAY TWENTY-ONE
On Sunday morning, I hit the road for Grande Plaine. I want to visit Jean-Nexon and I need to get out on the road and get some gently physical exercise.
In the heat and humidity of Haiti, most people walk at a steady pace, trying not to sweat too much for both hygiene and health reasons. Even at what I call a gentle pace, I’m getting jokes along the road as to why I am in such a hurry. The first quarter of mile from the house takes careful navigation, and then I’m off to the local path for better footing. It is still very slippery underfoot and a passing moto offers me a lift; there is no way I’m chancing it.
Jean-Nexon looks improved and is sitting up and out. Deulita is in better form; the tarpaulin is tied down a bit better, and it has been a help during the past few days. Afterwards, I head off to meet the medical team that are staying at De Gras school. I figure I’ll be there in time for most of Mass, and the patterns of prayer and song go well with my reflective mood.
Afterwards, we plan Monday’s clinic with the medical team, arrange some follow-up on cases, and then they walk with me to see Jean-Nexon. While I feel he is better today, I am much happier to get the free home visit and reassure myself that we have a good handle on his situation.
It is over a year since I have seen the team; they were last here for a wedding – 21 couples married on the same day! – so it is nice to reconnect. The chat is good; Monty Python references have us laughing and we have time to ponder if the Chicago Cubs made the World Series. I happily accept an invite to stay for lunch – jumeau [squash] soup, which is a local recipe and a firm favourite. With my belly full, and heart and head a little lighter, I take a more Haitian approach to my stroll back home.
The lads have spent all morning organising a barbecue at Damien’s. We have a lovely and a lonely afternoon, full of emotion, so I’m glad of my morning’s mindfulness. The day is filled with ‘Mastercard memories’ – priceless.
It is a story that I will keep for ye for another day; the ending is not yet written; it is a book that none of us want to see finish.