An Eyewitness Report (Calling for More Assistance)
Written by Petulia Blake
Maryse Adonis just returned from the island of Haiti. On February 17, she updated the members of the CT Haitian American Organization, Inc. on her experience in Haiti right after the devastating earthquake. Mrs. Adonis is a licensed nurse and the Executive Director of Arm2Arm, Inc., a 501(c) (3) organization based out of Wethersfield, CT. She coordinates groups to work in Haiti and also advocates for the human rights of Haitians and Haitian descents living in the Dominican Republic. Mrs. Adonis will be returning to Haiti in order to continue providing direct care to victims of the earthquake.
Maryse: Thank you everyone. I just got back from Haiti. I flew from JFK to DR (Dominican Republic) then took a bus to Haiti. It was a nine and a half hour ride. When we got to Haiti things were really, really bad. Right now Haiti is a complete chaos. Traffic is terrible. People are in desperate need of doctors and nurses, and medications. After two days, we ran out of medications. I was told to go to the airport to get more medications. I went on behalf of my organization, Arm2Arm, Inc. a 501 (c) (3) non-profit and was able to get meds. We had people with lacerations and dehydration. We didn’t have enough I.V. and had to use large needs to treat people. People are desperate. Trying to get medications to the right place is a challenge. Traffic is horrible. It is difficult to get from one place to another; and garbage is all over the place. The grocery store… kids are looking for food. The condition is so terrible over there. Bodies are still under the rummage. I have never seen Haiti like that. Whosoever wants to go must be ready. People are living underneath tents. Mosquitoes are all over. I came back with bites all over me. I have a list of what the types of meds are needed. People are catching cold. I noticed that a lot of children are coming in with vaginal infections because they are drinking water and bathing with dirty water. Please bring a translator when you’re going to Haiti. Sign language doesn’t work. I have been running to different places trying to obtain medications. Meds for worms is suggested. There was a dehydrated boy who had not eaten for five days. It is devastation and heartbreak… you want to give but don’t have enough. I advise you to please bring vitamins, Benadryl, and medications for children. They need tents and air mattresses with pumps. Bring as many tents as you possibly can. Food… The U.N. is passing out rice but not beans and sardines. Powder milk is essential for the children (in zip-lock bags). I think it works better. I had eleven doctors working with me. I have to go back soon.
Question: When you give money, where do they go to buy food?
Maryse: They have vendors selling beans, chicken, and turkey. Give them U.S. dollars.
Question: In treating some of the medical problems, how can we make sure that there is a follow-up when you give a medication?
Maryse: There are some clinics in the area. There is also a Turkish hospital. We know that some of our patients will need follow-ups and X-rays. We had patients with malaria and when we couldn’t treat them, we send them to the Turkish hospital. It takes a lot of paperwork sometimes.
Question: Do you think that it is useful that our medical team provide help under the supervision of larger organizations instead?
Maryse: You know, before we left some of our psychiatrists had a very difficult time to get volunteer work with the larger organizations. They will not accept you if you were not a part of the group before. The larger organizations are saying that they don’t need you—only money. It is important to work with small organizations to also translate. Language can be a barrier. We need to have Haitians who speak Creole and English working beside medical professionals.
Question: Has the rainy season started?
Maryse: I spoke with my sister who is in Haiti. It has been raining for 2 days.
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