Monday, January 25, 2010

Ants Invade My Kitchen

Ants marched across the kitchen counter yesterday by twos and threes. Sometimes half a dozen of them huddled around an invisible spot on the tile. Occasionally a scout found its way to the other side of the sink.
Although I crushed them with a relentless fingertip, they kept showing up. We've had eight inches of rain. They're desperate.
They're as relentless as my fingertip. They will find food, or they will die trying.
I spent Sunday "touring" Port au Prince with people I am starting to love, Troy and Tara Livesay, Dr. Jen, the McHouls, Casey and Licia. Troy's Tweets are essentially lines from the front of a battle against time and suffering. Tara's house is the makeshift Hotel de Livesay, putting up all the folks necessary to their little makeshift trauma center. Dr. Jen and her crew perform astonishing medical miracles ON PLASTIC FOLDING TABLES from sun-up to the wee hours IN A HOUSE. Beth and John McHoul try to keep the place running. Casey and Licia have charge over orphans in another backyard, trying to find a house for them.
I've never seen such heroic people. It's been two weeks since the earthquake, and the need is simply exploding. People are dying from infection in tent cities. People with major traumatic injuries are just now finding medical aid after TWO WEEKS of suffering, and they're finding it in a house in a suburb of Port au Prince, where the Livesays are.
They need morphine. Antibiotics. You name it. Troy and his team scrounge through the network of tiny emergency organizations (using the term loosely) and haunt the airport, looking for supplies. Diesel fuel is 15 dollars a gallon; the wait is five to six hours for that.
What are they eating? When are they sleeping?
A distressed pregnant woman showed up at their gate late Saturday night. Dr. Jen was able to do an emergency c-section and save the infant child, as well as the mother. It was their first birth, in a sea of injuries, death, poverty, misery, and they were overjoyed. Here's an article about the trauma center, from Minnesota public radio.
All of these photos are Troy's and John's and Beth's and Enoch's. Tara and Dr. Jen pose with their patients for Beth. John and Troy's cameras capture a tent city, where injured people are waiting, and a University of Miami field hospital at the airport, where conditions are a hundred times more sophisticated than they are back at the house.
I'm going to be like the ants in my kitchen: relentless. Please pray. Please give. Please don't forget Haiti.


Lou said...

I remember reading in A Purpose Driven Life "People may refuse our love or reject our message but they are defenseless against our prayers".

Anonymous said...

Are the money and supplies getting there yet? I saw an add yesterday that said please do not send any more water. It seems even more frustrating than Katrina.

Kim A. said...

I will spend some time today on this virtual tour and offer what help my husband and I can. Heroes in action, these dear souls are. My mini crisis of two lost dogs seems so miniscule but given all the animals that are abandoned and starving in Haiti, maybe finding my two furry kids is what I can do.

Anonymous said...

God is working through this fine people. It's going to be years before that place clams down, the saddest thing I ever saw.

Enchanted Oak said...

The aid organizations, large like the Salvation Army and small like the Heartline clinic here, all need cash infusions to keep buying materials already in Haiti or available in Florida. That's what I keep seeing.
When they need something, they have to find it and buy it or trade for it right then and there. They're going through massive amounts of medical supplies. I don't know what the Livesays and McHouls are eating, but they're crying out for antibiotics and amputations supplies, things I can't buy.
The problem with small shipments of supplies, unless they're going directly to a ministry address, is that there's no organized distribution for those boxes of stuff. No one knows they're sitting somewhere on the tarmac.
And how will we get the stuff flown in, and who will find it at the crazy airport and deliver it to the address?
It's a logistical nightmare. It's unbelievable in this day and age. So cash is what they're pleading for.

Syd said...

I don't want this to be forgotten and become back page news. It will take a long time to help these people get back on their feet. I will do what I can.

Tall Kay said...

Can you only imagine if something like this happened in the US? It would be front page news everywhere. Thanks for keeping this story on the front page, and a reminder that this disaster is far from over.

Shadow said...

the ants have spread here too. as has the rain. you have my prayers!

Beth Niquette said...

This is a gripping post. I will not forget. I will do what I can.

You have my prayers. God bless you as you spread healing among the hurting and dying.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Haiti is on my mind and heart relentlessly, it is up to us to remember them, and remember them often and with love and the money to share what we've been given only by the chance of being born in the United States. I pray, I give and I hope that others too don't forget, thank you for this grace filled post of sharing.


RNSANE said...

Yep, those ants don't enjoy all that rain, either, Chris and I'm getting a bit tired of it, too.

It seems like some of these helicopters could get some of the medical supplies inland to spots where it is needed. The big cruise ships that call at Labadee, Haiti have helipads on board...during their day in port, can't they be ferrying supplies in as a humanitarian act - they're sailing from Miami and the holds on ships like the Freedom and Liberty could carry tanks, for God's sake!

Karen said...

Chris, I admire your compassion. This tragedy is hard to even wrap the brain around. The saddest thing I think I've ever seen.

Julie said...

Chris, thank you very much for the information and the links. You are so right. We should never forget, and we should never stop donating. Haiti has had it rough for a long time, and I can't even imagine what it's like now. Thank you.