I continue to meet the most appreciative, grateful people here. Dieubon Lucien is a man in his 30's. His wife and three daughters survived the collapse of their house. All they have are a few clothes and some photos they pulled from the rubble. They were a middle class Haitian family. Dieubon is a driver for a businessman in Port Au Prince. He had his own home.
His wife and girls live on the side of the street in PAP under a piece of plastic. I gave him some coloring books and crayons for the girls, he picked out a shirt for each one as well as his wife. I gave him some energy bars, tuna fish, crackers and each of them toothbrushes and toothpaste. I also gave him some St. John Mercy Hospital canvas bags so that they can carry belongings they acquire.
Dieubon's family has friends who moved to Montreal several years ago. The woman in Montreal is very ill with kidney disease. None of the family in Canada is a match for a transplant. Dieubon was asked if he would test, he did and is a match. He and his wife were going to go to Canada for the operation, but now everything is delayed and they are unsure when they will go. They hope that the Canadian government will expedite things and also allow the whole family to emmigrate.
It's sad to see people in a state of limbo knowing their future and the future of their children are just hanging there and could go either way.
Port au Prince center city is in ruins. There are collapsed buildings everywhere. Tents are pitched whereever there is space. Some buildings are pancaked, some are twisted and some pulverized. Some areas look like those pictures after a tornado has gone through with personal items lying everywhere. The difference is that it's an entire city and there are over a million people surviving in the streets.
As we drove up into the hills, you could better see houses that had slid down the hills.
Tonight I talked to several businessmen. Their biggest fear is that people in the US will soon forget about their country. They asked if we knew in the US how much CNN was charging advertisers for a minute spot during the height of their earthquake coverage. They weren't sonmuch pessimistic as much as realistic. Some other event will replace the horror in Haiti and the help will dry up.
We talked about Haitian independence from France in 1804. In exchange for thst independence, Haiti paid France the equivalent of US$ 27 billion in today's value. After the earthquake, France pledged $500,000,000 of aid.
Many nations have pledged tents before the rainy season, they still haven't arrived to meet the need. Cuba has 500 doctors in Haiti. One of the business men I spoke with today has warehouses in PAP. Today the Cuban government sent in containers of medical and school supplies. The Venezuelan government forgave Haiti tens of millions it owes Venezuela for subsidized petroleum prices.
I hope the Pope comes forward and announces that the catholic church will rebuild the country's national cathedral. With all the money Rome has, you would think they would step up. Wouldn't that be something to start? A petition to the pope asking him to rebuild the national symbol of his faith in Haiti? Hmmmmm, anyone like that idea?