Thursday, May 14, 2015

Running out of new crutches

I was afraid this would happen. The first year I came here in 2000, we were asked to bring crutches as these were often in short supply in Haiti. In 2000, a kinder and gentler American Airlines and TSA let us bring 11 long skinny boxes full without submitting them to any screening that I could see. Over the years, the hospital got crutches from various places and for a while made their own crude wooden ones that were almost impossible to adjust. Then the earthquake struck. International aid poured in, especially for victims of the quake who suffered amputation. Suddenly the hospital had an unlimted supply of new, adjustable aluminum crutches to replace the old worn out wooden ones discarded from other places. The supply lasted quite a while. Now, though, it seems to be ruuning out. Used crutches are being recycled. The green Sierra Club part of me is in favor of recycling, but the point is that it is being done because there are no longer any new ones. Or they are locked in a warehouse somewhere. This one small item may not seem important, but I see it as symbolic of how the world views Haiti. There was a great outpouring of supplies and help after the quake. Sadly, though, the world has moved on. There are disasters elsewhere and Haiti is left with scarce resources once again.

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