greetings from haitiland! i find myself with access so i'm updating. it is really hard to describe the country in a blog so i'm not even going to try. but some inadequate descriptions follow: in jeremie, the land, the views are gorgeous. from some vantages it even has a terraced/italian look to it. jeremie still has trees and they are wonderful, flowering, heavy with blossoms and fruit. roosters are everywhere as are skinny dogs (btw: total myth that roosters crow at dawn. they crow all the damn time). the poverty is beyond measure. dwellings built of concrete and corrugated tin and aluminum poles as people get money...so alot of people live in partially constructed homes. just a room sometimes with walls, sometimes with a roof. on the negative side, the people here even the small children seem so aggressive everybody wants something and the want it hard. you get followed everywhere. "asked" for a date, marriage, money, food, a treat, the shoes off my feet. i must look like a big white dollar sign to them. i've been to very poor places before but i don't know that i've felt so poked and picked at before. needled. there are a couple of returned pcv's from ghana and they say that in ghana, which is just as destitute if not worse, the adults have more pride don't assault strangers for things but the children will. i dunno. i've never been to ghana but i know what they mean.
today i went to an orphanage/respite home for children that was essentially straight out of something you would see ior imagine from dickens minus the evil care provider. some of the children there are orphans or abandoned, others are dropped off because they are sick or because their parents or care providers can't look after them because the care providers themselves are sick. it's hard to even describe it because it seemed so surreal that even though i only came back a few hours ago it's hard to even think about it. there were 4 large rooms filled with white iron cribs lined up front to back in rows, maybe 50 cribs per room. there was an infant room, a toddler room and two older kid rooms. the infants were all (every single one) way below weight for age. malnourished, no fat under the skin or sometimes the shiny skin from when the edema leaves after kwashiorkor, and the skin itself was absolutely covered in bites, scabies and eczema. most only had fuzz for hair. we went crib to crib and fed infants what had to be some kind of gloppy pumpkin porridge goo from a spoon. most were fed while in the crib on their backs. then they each got water from a cup. there was a baby i probably held for 4 hours straight while i fed and held other kids, i don' t know the name or age but i'm guessing a very tiny 9mos old? there was a blind older child from malnutrition and a really really sick 2-3 yr old with kwashiorkor, a massively edematous belly and feet. he let me rub his palms. all of the staff was so well intentioned but there were few of them and so many children.