Friday, 26 March 2010

bienvenue haitianne

i arrived in haiti yesterday. it is only 1.5hrs from miami, but a world away. it is actually shocking how close it is and how destroyed it is. here are some photos and a few first impressions etc.

this is our tent

my part of the tent and all my junk

our delegation consists of this
teabelly power-ranger

and alyson , a presidential management fellow
alyson was an intern with me in 2006
i stole her from the national cancer institute
about 4 weeks after the earthquake

this is port au prince

estimates of the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) vary widely
it is at least 1.2 million
they live in tents
even people whose houses still stand live in the tents
#1 reason, because it is scary to be in a building
#2 there is food, water and medical care in the camps

this makes estimating hard, because the IDPs are fluid
moving from one camp to another
and not living their during the day.

our first visit was to the ministry of health and population (MSPP)
their entire building collapsed. many of their staff were killed.

this is me in the minister's conference room
i had to use the toilet, but the door wasn't so awesome
also, it was in the conference room
we were very very please to have the minister himself show up to our meeting
it was incredibly productive and we will be seeing him again monday.

we didn't take any photos with him

on the way from the airport to the embassy we learned that a couple of the reasons the destruction was so devastating was because of the type of rebar they use and how they use it
you can see from this photo that it is just a pretty thin rebar. and it is all a tangled mess everywhere. they use thin un-ridged rebar . . . it just doesn't hold.

reason #2 . . . the binding agent in the concrete is junk. you can tap the cement walls with a hammer and it will crumble. you can pick the stuff up in your hands and turn it into powder . . . that is not going to keep you safe in a 7.2 quake.

these bulldozers are everywhere
it is really hard to describe, or even really fathom all of the rubble
people are working around the clock to get rid of it
i am hoping they can figure out a way to reuse it
there is just no good way to dispose of all this rubble

one of the red cross camps
mountains beyond mountains

we had meetings at the UN "log camp"
this afternoon

the health cluster
this nurse is working in a camp of 60,000 people
she talked of:
8 year olds with sexually transmitted infections (STI)
100% vaginal infections
(most just vaginitis, but about 25% are STIs -- gonorrhea, syphilis rates are high)
mothers attempting to kill their infant children by feeding them bleach because they have no way to take care of them
80-90 yr-old women being "dumped" at the camp dehydrated and malnourished
at least 1 reported rape a week
no condoms
no rape kits (they are making their own,
but don't have post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV)
malaria rates are increasing
etc etc etc

this is the guy heading the PAHO health cluster right now, anju

i am exhausted . . . lots more to say, but too tired to say it all . . .

Monday, 22 March 2010

tickley head

last night cheryl and i were talking about music and we got talking about song that you can feel on the top of your head: tickley head songs . . .

this is now one of the mixes coming with me on my trips this spring . . . iTunes kinda bugs, because if they aren't selling the song you want on your mix, they won't put it on your mix . . .

ombria mai fĂș by aria is missing . . . and i would have just put all of picture in an exhibition on, but i had to just choose one movement. this is the happiest and lightest, so it seemed to be a great place to start . . .


Sunday, 21 March 2010

a weekend of great qi (chi)

this weekend has been one of the best on record. HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM just passed! the weather was stunningly perfect. i swam, road, and ran and did yoga twice. i gardened and planted pots of bulbs and even gave some bulbs away . . . spreading the wonder of gardening flowers.

here are some photos from today . . .

considering the lilies, well actually sweet peas
i believe we planted over 50 pea seeds today
(which are just little dehydrated peas)

when we pulled out the last of the corn stalks, we found some freeze-dried corn.

we brushed some of the kernels off
and planted those too
we will see if it works

joe and i went on a 45 mile bike ride . . .
on accident.
we thought doing the loop would be a little bit longer,
but turns out it was alot longer
supposedly i burnt 2102 KCAL

we stopped at the capitol to see the big anti-health insurance reform protest
there were about 100 people there

most of them cops

the philosophies of men mingled with scripture

then we ran into a real protest
thousands of protesters headed to the mall to demonstrate their
support immigration reform

i road by a group walking to the mall
sat up tall on my bike
and chanted "¡Si se puedes!
i got the whole group to start chanting

just a humble cyclist, doing her part

as we looped around and got inside of rock creek part,
i was struck by the wabi sabi of the park
i learned about wabi sabi from the utne reader when i was living in kansas city
it was a perfect place for me to learn it.
i spent hours driving through the fields of kansas and nebraska
and the rolling grasslands in missouri and iowa

i think it is really beautiful
"Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include
asymmetry, asperity, simplicity, modesty, intimacy,
and the suggestion of natural processes."

i think wabi-sabi is a good principal for me to be thinking about right now.
there is beauty in the imperfect.
we are all imperfect, yet all are beautiful
everyone has something to give
and everyone is in need of something.

for some reason i think this is going to be an important principal to carry with me to haiti.
i am not sure why . . .
hopefully i will be able to see the beauty in the process.
there is beauty in the process, even when it is painful.