60+, married, working as an engineer in manufacturing industry, daughters that are both military veterans, 4 grandchildren
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Hey! Haven’t seen you for awhile. When you get time, you might be interested in answering
November 20th, 2012
Partners In Health (PIH) is run by a great guy named Dr. Paul Farmer. He is one of the finest people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. We met years ago when he was a young doc working out of Brookesville, Florida. Google him, I think you’ll like this guy. He started out developing AIDS clinics in Haiti long before the earthquake. Google PIH as well. It’s one of the few American orgs on site in Port-au-Prince that are not affiliated with a church. They are there purely to help.
I arrived in Haiti less than 30 days after the earthquake. There was no potable water for most of the population. None where I was in Cité Soleil. All we had was brought in from French and American aircraft carriers on choppers and luggers. They brought in some MIT engineering students who immediately scavenged pieces of pipe and plastic jugs, etc., and we soon had little household water purifying plants. I was incredibly impressed with these men and women who could make anything out of garbage. In-fucking-credible. We rightly predicted a cholera epidemic as soon as the rains came. Fresh water is still a problem, but of course large water plants are the focus now. Sewage is a huge problem, especially in the Cité, but all over Port-au-Prince as well. Everything was chopped to bits during the earthquake. The following summer we were hit by a hurricane. Your skills are greatly needed and you will be working with the very best. You will be well protected and provided for as PIH understands the need to take care of the their people in order that they themselves don’t become part of the victim population and add to the problem.
Corruption is endemic in Haiti. We ran out of pain meds a few days after my arrival. We were doing field expedient amputations without anesthetic. There was plenty on the carriers, but transport was shut down because nobody knew who to bribe to allow them to come in. It was soon fixed, by Farmer, who was made UN Special Envoy to Haiti by GW Bush at the insistence of former president Clinton, but we lost a few patients in the meantime due to shock. Things are much better now. They are building a huge modern hospital right now, the biggest and most modern the country has ever seen, and as you know, this requires infrastructure. There is always plenty for a civil engineer to do, not just in the capital city, but all over Haiti.
Haiti is a tragic place beginning in 1804 after their liberation from France. As the only black colony to successfully revolt and form a Republic with sincere attempts at democracy of their own, they were abandoned by the rest of the world and bled dry through reparations to France. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries they were raped by every country that ever dealt with them. They didn’t earn first place on the list of the most poverty stricken nation in the Western Hemisphere by themselves. The fact is, if you treat people like animals (I was going to use the word dogs, but that animal is too noble to use here), they will act like animals. In spite of this, the people are good and the culture rich. But their leadership is depraved. Here is a little Haitian history that I wrote up in 2004 on their 200th anniversary:
Since its inception in 1804, the Republic of Haiti has had forty-three presidents. The first was assassinated in his first year in office. The second committed suicide. There have been four assassinations and five others are officially listed as having died in office, two in their first year of service. One was executed after due process while still serving and another twenty-three were overthrown in either military coups or popular revolutions. Only nine have been able to serve out their terms relatively unmolested, four of which were under the protection of the U.S. Marines.
In the thirteen years between 1902 and 1915, there were nine Haitian presidents, eight violent and successful revolutions, and three assassinations in the same amount of years. All three presidents were assassinated in their first year in office. One, Cincinnatus Leconte, was blown to smithereens along with the Presidential Palace. Another, Tancrede Auguste, was poisoned. The funeral was interrupted when two generals began fighting over his succession at the gravesite. And yet another, Vilbrun Sam, with revolutionaries bearing down on him from the north, took refuge in the French Embassy when the people of Port-au-Prince exploded in rage after he had his chief of prisons slaughter 162 political refugees the day before. They burst through the doors, dragged him into the street, beat him mercilessly, and, while he was still alive, impaled him on the spikes of the embassy’s wrought iron fence. Then they tore him to pieces. As if Haiti didn’t have enough troubles during this period, the director of the National Bank fleeced the treasury of over a million dollars (about 25M in today’s dollars). Three former cabinet ministers were his accomplices. Each one eventually became President of the Republic.
In 1913 Germans owned most of the important public utilities and German shipping carried the bulk of Haiti’s trade. When Haiti entered into a ruinous loan from the Kaiser, the U.S. sent in the Marine Corps to prevent Haiti from allowing Germany to build a naval base at Cap Hatien at the dawn of the First World War. This began the sometimes brutal U.S. occupation that lasted for the next nine-teen years ending when Roosevelt brought them home in 1934. It also began the longest period of stability Haiti had ever known, lasting 27 years. The next four presidents were able to serve out their full terms.
You know the rest of the story: along came Papa Doc then his son Baby Doc and eventually the Aristide debacle, then a series of ineffective presidents under the control of the ruling upper class minority supported by foreign governments. The good thing is, you won’t have to deal directly with the Haitian government in order to do your job.
I sincerely hope you do this, Ron. And please keep me posted on the developments.
October 19th, 2012
I sailed into Tarpon Springs, FL, on April 9th from Dominica and took a job as a medications nurse at a mental facility to earn money to re-tool for this winter’s sail. Just left the job last week and now headed south to Chockoloskee to work on the boat. Bought a new laptop while I was in Tarpon and the moisture seems to be playing hell with the keyboard all of a sudden. I have to cut&paste my g’s & h’s & ‘s, so you probably won’t be seeing much posting from me. No wall of words, anyway. It’s a real PIA, let me tell you. I hope all is well with you and yours, my friend. I hope you’ve recovered from your Thanksgiving Day’s accident.
September 12th, 2012
Regarding your answer:
July 11th, 2012
Regarding your answer:
But is that really a way to go about a marriage?
January 23rd, 2012
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