Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Can I scream now?

Still in Haiti.I need to scream to release all my frustration. Pardonez moi.


I should feel better now with a cyber scream. I don't.

We're in Cap, and today, after one frustrating delay after another, we made it to a slum where the children slog through mud flats and fish for these tiny fish, like the size of guppies. For food. Not fun. They eat them because they are hungry. There were large groups of people, as we always attract them, like we're people magnets, people coming out of their houses to see the "fou blancs" who are visiting. So there's a woman with a toddler, a beautiful child who is crying and crying. He's naked. She shows us. This kid has a hernia the size of a small golf ball. It was horrible. And to fix this, it will only cost $80 US.

So I told C that I would pay for the operation. I told her this as an aside, on the quiet, because I can't stand to see this poor baby suffer and it's in my price range.

And then, this is what kills me, these kids come in from fishing. They have these fistfuls of fish that won't barely touch their hunger, just sort of take the edge off. One girl told us this was all they were eating today. Their daily bread.

I saw the toddler's mother start collecting all the fish from the kids. It puzzled me, but I was distracted with something else, so I didn't ask about it.

We followed one of the fishing kids home. This little 11-year-old girl. We go into her house. Her mom had been in bed, sick with a fever. We asked to see the fish and how her mom would cook it. Then this little girl tells me that the lady who took the fish has them. She took all teh fish from all the kids and they had to hand them over. I had thought the woman was holding the fish for them for some reason.


She took them for herself for dinner. The mother of this toddler with the hernia. And if they hadn't handed them over, she would have beaten them. Their parents can't do anything. This woman is the village bully.

Laws of the jungle. Survival of the fittest.

I was so upset I wanted to rage. Instead, I said that no way in hell am I paying for this kid's operation when the mother is such a bad ass, stealing from these hungry kids! And then I realize that if I don't this toddler is still going to suffer. Yet if I DO pay for this operation, what kind of message am I sending to the mother? The "rich" (interject laugh here, hahahahahahaha!) blanc paid for my son's surgery and saw me take the fish, and rewarded my behavior with this surgery.

But if I don't the kid will still suffer.

I can try to send a message that I will pay for it if she stops stealing the fish. Uh huh. Sure. When pigs fly, that's when it will make a difference.

I don't know. I'm so tired and upset right now... I can't think about this anymore. This is the frustration I live with on the job. And yet it's just a tiny part of what takes place every day.

I keep telling myself, "Look, the good you can do outweighs the bad you will encounter. You can't change everything."

I can't. But damnit, why must it be so damn hard?????

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