Thursday, January 21, 2010

HAITI CHERI: Over a week later and how to absorb the tragedy that has struck the joyous, courageous, delightful people of Haiti? I visited during the eras of both Papa and Baby Doc. My mother was a volunteer many times for the Sisters of St. Margaret. A land of extraordinary natural beauty, I think of their unique art, their music and dance. I remember the huge Market, Holy Trinity Cathedral with its extraordinary black frescoes, a home for older Haitian women, a music school, St. Vincent's, PĂ©tionville, Jacmel - all gone. It's impossible to wrap my mind around the numbers. Makes my troubles pale. We are all touched by their suffering. "No man is an island" John Donne, one of my fave thoughts. Still there are miracles. The Albert Schweitzer Hospital I visited in Deschappelle was unscathed and is serving the victims. The hospital opened in 1956 on the site of a former banana plantation after Mellon, heir to the family's banking and oil fortune, and his wife gave up a comfortable life in Pittsburgh to serve the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere. Wish I served a more useful function in this world!