Sadness and Hope
[author’s note: please excuse the delay in this blog post as we had a technical difficulty which prevented the timeliness of this posting]
Today marks 6 years since Haiti’s devastating earthquake that captured the worlds attention and changed a nation incomprehensibly. When asked this morning about how people feel, the head of our partner hospital said ‘people will reflect, some with sadness, some with hope’. These are two abundantly strong characteristics in Haiti (sadness and hope) which we witness every day, not just as a legacy of January 12th 2010, but as a legacy of the daily struggles and triumphs of life in this beautiful but desperate nation.
Perhaps what has struck me most on this last visit as I reflect on this blog, is the challenging ethical dilemmas our team in Haiti face week by week, which reflect this intimate balance of sadness and hope.
Dr Genett, our inspiring head of maternity who works tirelessly, shares in our leaders training last week, a recent challenge. Two women, both requiring an emergency C-Section at exactly the same time, with only him available to do both procedures…with only minutes to decide which to choose. The sadness of life in Haiti…and yet…alongside these desperate decisions, his team provided support for over 1,000 deliveries in 2015, saving the lives of hundreds of women and babies…the hope of Haiti.
Then there’s our Rehabilitation team. We have one long term paraplegic patient who has been at the hospital for years, with an infection too severe to overcome in Haiti. His desperate desire is to return to the South of Haiti where he can spend some precious time with his elderly mum, who seems to be entering the final season of her life. If the rehab team agree, his wish of reunion with his mum, who he hasn’t seen for about 5 years, will be fulfilled. However, the risk of his infection worsening without regular medical supervision will place his future at risk. Do the team seek to meet his emotional needs or physical? In a country like Haiti, it would seem both are not always possible? And yet, before January 12th 2010, this amazing man would have likely never even survived his initial spinal injury, or this subsequent infection. There is sadness and hope in the lives of most here.
However, with out doubt, whilst hope here can’t restore and resolve every sad situation, it is certainly the triumphant force that dominates these two conflicting emotions. It is in Haiti, both 6 years ago and today, where I have met some of the most hope filled and inspiring men and women in my life so far. Their sadness is tragic, but their hope is heroic. It is an honour to work alongside and serve the amazing Haitian people, and we will continue to do so for years to come.