Thursday, March 11, 2010
Today as I chatted with the Swiss Director of the laboratory here, she told me of one of the many cases of invisible loss that will plague Haiti for years. A bright, hard working young man in the lab went to college and learned computer science. He returned to HAS and began working in the lab. To fully reach his potential, though, he needed some more work at the college level. He had simply run out of money and gone to work as his only option. The Lab Director encouraged him to begin saving little by little to return to college. She provided him with an inexpensive computer to further his studies. He was encouraged and did begin to save and it looked like he would be able to return to school. Somewhere along the way he must have enrolled and made a payment toward tuition. Then came the earthquake. The University is a pile of rubble. The young man’s savings are gone. He has no idea if he or hundreds of other students will ever receive their tuition back.
So this is one of many invisible losses. The press has focused much attention first on people trapped in the rubble, then on the loss of life and limbs as a result. Lost limbs are tangible. Many individuals and organizations, including Hanger Prosthetics, have come here and begun providing limbs to people who previously in Haiti would have had none. The only prosthetics operation in Port au Prince was destroyed in the quake. This is a wonderful thing. As a Physical Therapist, I am thrilled to see people walking again.
But the invisible losses may run deeper than we will ever know. I hope that the world stays interested in Haiti long enough to deal with these more complex problems.
See you in 2 days, Judy