Finding a Frame of Reference

March 8, 2010

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Sarah Case, a member of the medical team currently in Haiti, is blogging about her experiences. Here are some of her reflections:

It was hard to know what to expect as the airplane descended into Port au Prince. Such a familiar experience, and yet after seven weeks of continuous media coverage depicting a Haiti split apart at the seams, I no longer had a frame of reference…

We wound our way through one side of the capital city, noticing how much was the same: roadside markets with trinkets for sale, barefoot children, cinder block houses with tattered metal roofs, colorful tap-taps laden with one too many passengers. And then, in the midst of what would seem to be an average Port au Prince street, the remnants of a two story building, pancaked and abandoned. Or an ad hoc encampment with a few dozen tents and a sign posted at the entrance asking for food, water, medicine. In the midst of ongoing city life were these severe reminders of the destruction that is around every corner. Our route took us through the “better” side of Port au Prince, and we’ve had no opportunity to see what the worst truly looks like.

Farther out into the countryside in barren, hilly fields we saw hundreds of tents spread out for acres and acres. Along the national highway, countless truckloads of rubble, just piled mound after mound after mound. What does one do with the remains of a city? What can be done with an ocean of crumbled concrete?

Read more from Sarah’s blog.

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