Below are excerpts from reflections on Haiti that Sr. Curin wrote about arriving in Haiti and excerpts from an article on Sr. Valle written by Carina Farreras for Lavanguaria. You will want to read the full texts which are attached to the Bridges email in both English and Spanish.
Sr. Curín García Calvo, RJM – in Jean Rabel:
A week after arriving in Haiti, I can only tell you that: IT’S ANOTHER WORLD! Everything seems so new and at the same time so familiar … It’s very curious … It’s as if I had been preparing for this moment all my life, and it has finally arrived.
The trip here was quite an adventure, and it went very well. During the flight I thought at times about what I was leaving behind and at times about what awaited me. (And well, sometimes I also wondered how that small and unstable device could hold itself up in the air …). The landing was spectacular, on a dirt road that is a landing strip that they recently made. There we were received by a lot of people from the surrounding villages who were coming close… Many children, some women, young people… I couldn’t believe it. Neither did they, as it was the third plane to land in that area since the runway opened a few weeks earlier.
The people here are very welcoming. At first, the faces of some people seemed very hard to me and harbored a lot of suffering. And it’s true. But, it is also true that as soon as you greet them and smile at them, their faces open and they give you the kind of smile that leaves you smiling for a while.
I am very impressed by the landscape. Everything is like “heightened reality” … the trees are gigantic and leafy, the fruits impressive, the animals are everywhere, some bugs are huge, even the sky seems to me to be higher and wider, the sky full of stars, the rain torrential … roads that connect remote places through which motorcycles, donkeys and people walk, with perfect coordination that I admire.
Sr. Valle Chías González-Blanch, RJM – in Jean Rabel:
Chias explains that the rivers are dry and there is a lack of water, and when it arrives, it falls in the form of strong precipitation that in the absence of trees, due to abusive logging, descends in the form of waterfalls, devastating the countryside and flooding the houses. Illiteracy is 80% and life expectancy barely exceeds 60 years. Cities are dominated by criminal gangs. Life is of little value. “How heartless will everything be that even now, with the earthquake, they kidnap doctors and steal ambulances.”
In Jean Rabel the earthquake had no affect. It’s very rural, very poor, it’s very far from everything. It takes 8 hours by car to get there from the capital, in muddy tracks.
The same difficulties challenge the inhabitants of Gros Sable, Akadiyen, Colette, Cotton, Fonramadou, Lakeme… They have no health care. So Chias (left) jumps every day into her SUV turned mobile clinic, sometimes also ambulance, and goes to look for them. Together with Sherline (right), her assistant, she leaves at dawn and returns at dusk. Long queues of patients await them… “We charge something, a small amount, to prevent them from thinking that because we are white we are obligated.