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DIARY HAITI / 5. Fiammetta: When the earthquake and a blue tent make us all more human

February Tue 09, 2010

Haiti_Terremoto_CarrozzinaR375.jpg (Foto)


Fiammetta Cappellini, an AVSI representative in Haiti, sent a new installment of her diary to ilsussidiario.net. The blue tents inside the camps allow them to treat people, starting with the children, who for the first time since the earthquake start to trust again and to meet people who will take care of them.


February 3, Port-au-Prince, Haiti


Yesterday was Chiara’s day, our pediatrician. She visited at least 200 children at the camp of Place Fierté and also some mothers. Her dedication and decades of experience in Nigeria and other African countries give her a good perspective on all the work.


In the clinic that we started in the tent donated by the Italian Civil Protection Agency, with drugs obtained from some tents of donors (even the UN offices are set up in tents), with an Argentinian medical assistant volunteer recruited in the same way, she put through the sieve the first part of the youngest ones and those in need of care. Chiara has also engaged our local staff of nurses and community health agents.


Our team was enthusiastic, so that Simon (who is not a doctor or a nurse, but who studied something else completely!) said he wants to devote himself to health projects. He says that this is much more satisfying than education, that we see the results immediately and people are immediately happy. For those living in need, to feel yourself the object of care, knowing that there is someone you can trust who takes care of you, restores you to that person of value who had been buried under the rubble.


Then there is the next camp, which we will deal with shortly (there are 3,500 people and no one is concerned about them yet; what can we do, leave them there?) They came to say that they also want a tent. We were surprised because we expected that they wanted the doctor. But then asking if they also wanted a blue tent, they said yes, they wanted "the blue tent, the one with the doctor inside ...". Then we understood better: they came to ask for "the blue tent," referring to the clinic, that tent but also what was inside: doctors, nurses and medicine!


Colleagues from Italy have given me the open letter that Giulia, Federica, Francesco and Teresa have written to me on the subject of understanding better the earthquakes. They wrote about their initiatives and their classmates in their school, the Malpighi in Bologna, to support efforts for Haiti.


I am very grateful for myself, for AVSI and also for this people; it is really beautiful to see that there are young people who are concerned about the welfare of others, the common good, and who appreciate the goods they enjoy (like the latest models of cell phones!) but they also think of their peers who are fighting for the most necessary things, like food, water, home, school.


This thread that binds us brings us great joy and sustains us. And in the end it reminds us that it is in the nature of the human desire to contribute to a better world where all people can express their dignity. It is too bad that we need a powerful quake to remind us that this tension is given to us as human beings.


Fiammetta Cappellini




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