I look up and a little 7 year old girl is, literally, running and screaming out of one our clinics. I look at Dr. Mike bewildered. “she had a cut on her finger and when she asked my interpreter if I was going to cut it off, trying to be funny, he said ‘yes’.” The girl was terrified. I went outside the clinic to look for her; up and down the block, she was GONE. About an hour later, I see her again. She makes eye contact with Dr. Mike and begins to run and another patient, an older Haitian lady, grabs her and doesn’t let her leave. In the middle of seeing another family, I stop and start talking to her and even convince her to sit on my lap and start building rapport with her. In less than 10 minutes, I learn her name is Kimberly, we have the old, nasty dressing off (with lots of saline and, at her direction, I have to “blow on it”. LOL), have evaluated the wound (it has partially healed crooked and there is nothing corrective to do now), cleaned it and dressed it. I, then, proceed to explain to a seven year old how to perform proper wound care.While true, this story reflects so much of Haiti. Needing help is a fact of life in Haiti today. They desperately need help. They are a proud and desperate peoplewhose only mistake was to be born on the wrong continent. Like, Kimberly, Haitians are a strong people. Imagine being seven, being told that a white doctor was going to cut your finger off, knowing you needed help, then mustering up the courage to go back….on your own….by yourself. I was not that strong at 7 and am not sure I am that strong today. Kimberly is that strong. Haiti is that strong and more. To see the absolute devastation, misery and daily strife these people have endured, and still they go on, is humbling to me.
Like Kimberly, they need help, direction, guidance and instruction. And before any of that can happen, they need people to care. People who care enough to give. To give of their time, give of their expertise, give money or just give love. If you want to contribute to your brothers and sisters of this planet, join People For Haiti. Help us serve them.
Robert J. Ferreira, MD
Co-founder, People For Haiti