Sherri – Blog 1 – Touchdown

After 4 previous missions I still find myself in the Toronto airport with butterflies in my stomach. In the air flying over Haiti for my first time, my first thought is how calm thing look down below, untouched, I took a moment to admire the colours of the Caribbean city which will be my home for the next 3 months. As the plane descended I was horrified to see that the colours I had been admiring were instead the plastic sheeting people had used to construct these tent cities so numerous and huge that they were visible from thousands of feet in the air. It is estiimated that 2.1 million people are living in the streets of Haiti, either because their homes were damaged or destroyed or because they are too afraid to return indoors. Life’s difficulties are nothing new for the people of Haiti, but I am struck by the fact that prior to the earthquake most Haitians rented, meaning that even if they had the tools necessary, these homes are not theirs to rebuild. The land where their previous homes stood is not theirs to use for the rebuilding of their lives. There is a lot of discussion about the coming months and the weather they bring, the small rains we are having now are wreaking havoc on the tent communities, how will they survive the true rainy season? Or worse hurricane season?

I have finally learned that I will be working in the city of Carrefour, which melds into the southern border of Port-au-Prince along the coast. Only a few kilometers from the epicenter and with a population of almost 1 million, Carrefour was in many ways devastated by the earthquake. I will be responsible for MSF’s nutritional program in the region. As a population who has always been at risk for malnutrition, the force of the earthquake seems to have tipped the scale. MSF is taking a proactive approach to malnutrition, as my colleague put it, treating the indirect consequences of the earthquake. My role here finally clear, briefing finished, I begin tomorrow in Carrefour, what will I find there?

Read my bio here!

3 Responses to “Sherri – Blog 1 – Touchdown”

  1. Aunt Mitzi Says:

    What an excellent writer you are Sherri.I am so happy to get this,your dad sent me the info..I had been trying to find you on the MSF website and had no luck.
    The trauma person I told you about is David Berceli and the website is http://www.traumaprevention.com
    It is a bit of a misnomer because it is actually a way to help people release trauma from their bodies not prevent it necessarily.It can be easily taught and passed on to others when their are not a lot of psychologists and therapists around.Have your trauma people check it out.
    I wish I was there to teach it.
    How are you coping with such an overwhelming disaster?
    Are you with a good group of people?
    Did you know Michael Jean was in Haiti for a couple od days?
    She looked in shock from what I saw on the news.
    I send you lots of love and wishes for the strength and compassion to be truly present to the people of Carrefour and to yourself.
    I love you, Aunt Mitzi

  2. Bruce Parker Says:

    What is the security situation in PAP? I have heard that 2 MSF workers have been kidnapped in PAP on Monday the 8th? Are there any restrictions on movement in PAP?
    Thanks,

  3. joanne rowland Says:

    Sherri,i am envious that you have an obvious job to do in haiti.i just returned from Port-Au prince last week,where i helped A better World do some work with food, water and medicines in a small camp Delmos 33;we also tried to help some in Delmos 60 where a group from DR was attempting to help the camp of 4000.The overriding emotion was frustration as people constantly complained of being hungry .Delmos 60 was promised 1 bag of rice/family /week but at 6 weeks post quake they had received 1 bag total…we heard there was a lot of food not getting distributed…as paul Farmer said..giving people medicine and no food is like washing your hands and drying them with dirt!! Is food getting out any better??i would be so grateful for a response..I was so happy to see the MSF hosp in PAP..Joanne Rowland(Physio)