14 June 2019

Lunch in midtown: unsaid

Hey!! It is so nice to see you. How have you been? How is your family?

I've been back from Haiti for about a year now and I'm so happy to be home! Yeah,  I know, Haiti- how crazy?

What's that? Oh yeah, the earthquake. So terrible. They are still suffering. The aid following the earthquake was so mismanaged. 

You know what's crazy about Haiti? Like when you have a birth center, and it is the only source of maternal healthcare for thousands of women, but it is on Catholic church land and the priest that resides there is literally the worst person you have ever met in your life? Yeah it's wild. Like when you don't sleep for days on end because he cuts off access to electricity and water because you aren't paying his brides? He doesn't care if women and babies die because of his negligence, because he deserves like $50 a month just for being a priest in that village. I always dreamed of being all alone negotiating with a terrorist, totally in my job description! You know how it is. How you have to navigate the terrible relationships that have been established before you got there, and finally start to scare him straight, and it has been a year of hard work against the corruption, hours and hours face to face with an egotistical oxygen thief, and then- you get this- the new executive director comes to visit and just agrees to his bribes, without you, the first time she meets him? Yeah Haiti is wild. 

So how is your new job going? How is your commute? Oh man, that is so annoying! 

You know the thing about Haiti? Its like you have this staff member, who is a teacher in the midwifery school, and her daughter gives birth to this seriously disabled child? And they ignore him? You know, just like put him in corner for a couple of weeks? And he almost dies, in pain since the moment he was born? And then, you know, you find out about it, and you start to question if she should be on staff of a midwifery school when this is what she has allowed to happen in her own home. Right? Obviously. But the executive director just ignores you? So your program manager adopts this poor child, because his wife has had so many miscarriages. And you hold him, but every second he is grasping for air. His eyes are bulging. He is just this tiny little life in your hands, and he has never experienced life without suffering. And his adoptive parents are doing everything they can. But of course he dies. And you know? When you go to the funeral with the tiniest casket you have ever seen. And at the cemetery they reach into the crypt and pull out old bones to make room for it. You get it, right? Yeah, so crazy, they just throw them to the side and manhandle that little casket in there! 

Oh you are gluten free now? I hear that is a great move. 

So you know what's wild about Haiti? How you are the director of a maternal health organization, and one of your students dies, right after giving birth, the week of graduation? How your clinical director and volunteer coordinator spend all night in the hospital trying to save her, but she still just dies? Because the hospital is filthy, and has no running water, and is run by a sociopath? And the class comes to rehearse for graduation, and they find out, and their cries literally echo throughout the house where you both live and work. Wailing. Screaming. It shakes your room? That is so Haiti. And then afterwards your volunteer coordinator, who works 14 hours a day, and is 20 years old, asks to sleep in your bed with you because all she can hear when she tries to sleep is that student saying she doesn't want to die? Yeah, Haiti is wild. Oh yeah, it was graduation, so the executive director was there but she didn't do anything for the staff to try to process it. So Haiti! 

So what are you doing this summer? Any plans?

Well for me, I'm just working through this whole "air quotes PTSD" thing! LOL. Yeah I have been drinking a lot, and gaining weight, and kind of compulsively shopping since I've been home? Yeah you know. And like, getting into a normal hygiene routine. Yeah, having hot water is awesome. It turns out that you can eat things other than pringles, coke and rum! And apparently my new job doesn't require me to work 24/7 which is so so nice. Hahah yeah you got it. 

Anyway so good to see you! Thanks for listening, haha I'm so crazy right now. Absolutely this hour went by so fast? Haha yeah you are right, its just the tip of the ice burg. Yeah, happy hour sounds great. Just text me. See you then. 

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