Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I find myself sinking into a depression lately. I can't sleep, which is part of it, and when I do, wake exhausted. Sleeping pills aren't cutting it. The nightmares aren't scary, just very disturbing. I wake up at 3 a.m. shivering and not wanting to fall back asleep and when I do, the nightmares begin again.

Next Tuesday I'll be back in Haiti. The hotel we are staying at is closing the day we check out. It's too badly damaged to stay open. How weird is that, that we're staying at a hotel that has earthquake damage and must close?

I know what I'll see and I'm not looking forward to it. But it's my job and what I must do.

Friends tell me, "Did you see the news about how there are still dead bodies down there that haven't been buried? That there's still rubble on the streets?"

I want to tell them, "No s**t." Do they honestly think that a disaster of this magnitude, with a government that had little capacity to handle any KIND of crisis, would be totally cleaned up in one lousy month?

They're STILL recovering bodies from the Hotel Montana and will be for a long time.

Then there are the well-meaning, but clueless people who tell me, as if they are experts, "Oh it was all shoddy construction down there, that's why those buildings collapsed."

Ah, no.... The Hotel Montana was solidly built. So was the Cathedral. Those buildings became rubble. It was a freaking powerful earthquake, people. Why must you try to put blame somewhere?

I just walk away from those comments before I blow my cool. Then there are the people who don't ask, don't care, and act like everything is "normal" for me. Right.

The only encouraging thing I'm looking forward to seeing is that our NGO is building pit toilets at one of the camps. Sanitation is so important now.

Haiti cancelled Carnival. First time ever. I think of the mocking, scary masques at the Cap Lamandou hotel in Jacmel I saw last February while we were there. The hotel is destroyed now.

One day at a time. I keep telling myself, one day at a time.


Patti O'Shea said...

Bonnie, there's absolutely nothing I can say, but I'm offering you cyber hugs FWIW. You are an incredible woman and you're doing something important at great personal cost. You're truly one of the people I'm proud to say I know.


Bonnie Vanak said...

Thanks so much, Patti. I'm feeling better now that I've gotten some sleep. I'm taking vacation time when I return, so that will help as well. Good luck with your books!