October 3, 2019
I have now spent one week in the countryside. And I am seeing another Haiti, a Haiti a lot poorer than what I have ever imagined. Here people really do not have anything, only what nature allows them to have, like avocados, guavas, bananas, plantains, etc. There is hardly any commerce here, and now that there is no gas, vehicles are not coming through. It is an hour to the nearest market, and no motorcycles that can bring people and goods back and forth.
People struggle to send their kids to school, and even the small fees they need to pay they are unable to pay.
I realize here, where there exists abject poverty, that the more serious gap between the poor and the people that have enough is not just the economic gap, but much more serious is the knowledge gap. The poor here have hardly any knowledge about the outside world, and the lack of that knowledge is filled by superstitions and odd beliefs. While their children do go to school, and people are justifiably proud of that, whatever knowledge they receive is quite outdated. It seems as if it will be impossible to catch up. In other words, Haiti is left further and further behind.
I never once thought before this how important gas really is. We had a medical delegation of surgeons coming in the last week of October and had to cancel, because there is no gas, no oxygen, and no nitrous oxide for anesthesia. I feel so bad for the patients who had to wait a whole year for their breast cancer surgery, and now have to wait some more. The other day there was an explosion of propane which burnt 22 people, and they were unable to get into Port au Prince for medical care. Everywhere you look, people are suffering. Stores in Jeremie are empty, because goods are not coming from Port au Prince. While there is gas in the country, the trucks are unable to go over the road to deliver it to the pumps. I have never seen anything like it. Even when Aristide fell it was not like this.
How will this end and when?
Yesterday Jeremie was in chaos. 6 people shot, 3 houses burnt down, and fire department employees pelted with rocks. Korega has taken over the city, and they do not shy away from using weapons. Now the opposition is mad, and it looks like we will have more conflict.