Bon Fwa Day 5 Update 10p Becca

Bon Repos, Jan 26, 2010, 10:00pm — Spoke with the rest of Ekip Bon Fwa.


Bugz is taking lots of pictures and is thinking about how to most respectfully be in this role. She has been recording a lot of video as well which she will process when she returns to the states. She talked about "being conscious about removing images from their context. It will take time to organize and add captions." She will send photos to our e mail list list and to BIC's website.

Bugz says that they are eating powerbars all the time and everybody in the whole country sleeps outside. For the last few nights they have stayed in the compound of Claude's family. It's a stone house with a big circular driveway, mango and palm trees, and two Doberman pincer guard dogs that don't "hang out with people." She said that Claude lost a couple of cousins, but most of their family is OK. They have been staying in a wealthy area and are moving tomorrow. Claude's family "has been very very good to us. Easy entrance in to potentially chaotic space."

She talked about differences with respect to the "safety bubble" and added "how can we actually work with people if were not talking with them and living with them." She is "curious about the UN." Described it as a "separate world, very tactically oriented, romantic, and full of themselves, people there have lots and lots of skills."

She discussed the possibility of staying longer "to orient a new team and build something stronger" and discussed the need for the team to "critique ourselves" in this decision making process.

Today she learned about physical therapy and basic amputee care and exercises to "keep muscles from atrophying." She said there is "a lack of physical therapists and a lack of counselors who need to know how to speak Creole." She says she has seen people in the mentality of "we have to laugh, we have to smile to cope." She talked about the 2008 hurricane and reminded me that most of these people have been through trauma recently.

She noted that daily interactions are full of issues of class, language, history, being American, etc. When asked how her Creole is coming she said "the best phrase ever is kembe fem." (stay strong)


Roger said that today they first went to a hospital in downtown Port au Prince. It was on the fringe of the city. There were lots of patients and lots of amputees. Claude (Physical Therapist) was talking with staff about exercises for recent amputees. He tried to get staff to write down instructions because the staff lacks info on physical therapy and the importance of long-term effects of therapy. He may go back to the hospital.

(suggestion: resource on PT and long-term amputee care for aftercare team, both 1) immediate simple instructions that can be written down and 2) contact of practitioners willing to train local Haitians in PT related to amputee and long-term wound care).

Roger then went to a clinic staffed by 3 American paramedics and one pediatrician. They got there at the end of the line of patients, but Anne provided care to a few people. They took the temperature of one patient and sent the patient to the pediatrician because of an elevated temp. One patient had toes amputated before the earthquake, but needed the wound debrided. They then went to a tent city where they changed dressings and observed more care.

Overall Roger described a "shift from immediate injuries to primary care." Since his skill set is immediate trauma, he was frustrated that he could not be more useful.


Anne says that people are getting infected and graffiti is becoming more political. Today she and Roger have been taking supplies to places they know need them. Requested introductory surgery textbook, in English and/or French. Would be a very useful resource for they types of wound they saw today. Requested that someone look in to political information gleaned from think tanks. Would someone savvy be able to work on this? Anne reiterated the need for a truck for BIC.

For future teams:

  • UN and Ministries of Health are now asking for teams to make a "minimum-term commitment" of one month, preferably 6 weeks or longer.
  • When you get here, "go immediately to the UN for meetings for a couple of days and TALK with people afterwards. When people need to network, they look for it here." She said the UN is like a convergence space.
  • You "NEED some French and to put a lot of work into Creole." Again the Pimsleur language series was recommended.
  • Recommended to spend a night on the border and enter Haiti in the morning.

DHL is the only shipping currently reliable. Supplies people are going through fast are:

  • IV fluid
  • Antibiotics
  • Tetanus serum (This is in high demand and needs continuous refrigeration)
  • Antiretrovirals (Team 2 is NOT equipped to distribute antiretrovirals. If you are able to obtain any, please contact the following e-mail address: [redacted])

There are two local Haitian cell networks: Digicel (works well), Voila (not as well) She said that a local number is important to have and many UN teams don't have local numbers, putting another barrier between Haitian and international aid, since local Haitian organizers talk to each other constantly.

There is a gas shortage. Gas is being sold on the black market, which is people selling gas in bottles by the side of the road. Anne said that "luckily it is all color coded" Price is about $15/gallon

There is a lot of rebar mining, which is very "efficient". She has seen three story collapsed buildings entirely reduced in a day. The salvageable cinderblocks are being resold. Anne wants to solve the mystery of where all the rubble in PAP is going.

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