Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cholera in Haiti

A few nights ago I was talking to a friend of mine from Haiti on Facebook Chat. He asked me if I had heard about the Cholera outbreak in Haiti. Nothing had reached the news at that point. Of course the next morning I woke up to find a New York Times article about the Cholera Outbreak. On Friday morning the New York Times said on its Haiti Recovery page that it wasn’t a disaster at this point, yet by Saturday afternoon there were fears of it becoming a disaster as the disease continues to spread and more people get sick. As of this morning (Sunday) there are reports of Cholera cases in Port au Prince.

Just in case you do not know, Cholera is cause by a bacterial infection in the small intestines and is usually spread through contaminated food and water. In this case it is thought the disease started due to contamination of Haiti’s Artibonite River. Since the

earthquake thousands of people have used this water source for their washing and cooking. According to one of the seminarians I worked with, it is still very difficult to access clean water so even though they know they are risking getting sick they might not have any other option.

(Photo from the New York Times)

While there were fears after the earthquake about disease epidemics, until now there have been none. It’s also the first time in a century that Cholera has been reported in Haiti. I’ve included a link to one of the New York Times’ articles here and to the Partners in Health website that has more information and photos of the outbreak here.

I am not educated on this topic enough to add much of my own commentary except to say that this disease seems to be moving fast and I hope it can be stopped before more people die. Haiti really doesn’t need anymore tragedies.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grounded in the States...

I feel like I am always starting a blog entry by saying “sorry I haven’t written in so long, I promise I will do a better job”…So here I go again…Sorry I haven’t written in so long but I promise I will do a better job.

For those of you who don’t know, I have finished my time with the Young Adult Service Corps, the group that sent me to Haiti, and I am now living and working in Washington DC…This is part of the reason I haven’t blogged in the last couple of months. The moving process was a bit more daunting than I realized both for me and my dog.

By moving to DC, I have realized I am going to be grounded on US soil for the next couple years. I thought of this recently as I celebrated my birthday. The first time I have been in this country to do so in what seems like a long time. I also have been so enamored with fall because I haven’t seen the leaves change color or been able to get a pumpkin spice latte in a couple years either. With these perks of being grounded in the US there is also some sadness in the knowledge that I won’t be living in Haiti or anywhere else abroad for a long time. Living in Haiti and Uganda gave me this kind energy that made you thirst for life and excitement and the desire to make a difference in a way that I can’t seem to feel in the states.

In my new “grown-up” job I’m not able to do all the much involving Haiti. Don’t get me wrong I like my work, it just isn’t Haiti. I think because of this I am increasingly feeling the need to grab on to Haiti. Holding on to the memories of my experiences there, my Haitian friends, and to any chance I have of a future with Haiti in it. If I had only known when I started this blog “Holding Haiti” a year ago how true that expression would be in my life…

In light of all this I have a new commitment to this blog. I will continue to write about the experiences I had in Haiti and those I hope to have, my opinions on what’s happening now and anything else that may arise…if for no one else but me.

I hope that there are those of you out there that will continue to read and share your view points on Haiti and perhaps how you are holding on to your memories of Haiti.