COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Testimony from Haiti

Posted on 3 June 2020

Categories: COVID-19, News

Merisma Lourdy
Coordinator
Social assistance program
Croix-des-Bouquets

We’ve been taking advantage of our position as a provider of phone charging services and drinking water to raise awareness about staying safe to protect others against COVID-19. All our services are offered free of charge to help waterfront residents make it through these difficult times.
There is a strong sense of community amongst the residents, who’ve been listening and following instructions. They have also helped out by putting up signs and guiding us through alleys in surrounding areas to reach as many people as possible.
Full protective equipment is essential to interact, but these people are already in a very fragile psychological state. They look at us and all they see is masked warriors. For some, it’s humiliating.
Not knowing where the pandemic is headed is difficult for them, especially since their health system already faces medical supply and health care personnel shortages. Part of the population is living in fear while the other is in denial, going about its business and putting those who are following instructions at risk.
Some believe that COVID-19 has been made up by our leader. Others say they’re protected by the colour of their skin. Some even think that alcohol (Clairin rhum) is the remedy.
The saddest part is that families have no idea how to face the crisis. They know too well how dire the situation is because of the lack of adequate hospitals to meet their different needs. Many Haitians won’t even talk about the problem for fear of paying the price. To quote them: “Se yon kesyon d moun pa, otorite yo pap janm panse ak yo, menm suivi yon fiev yo paka jwenn.”
I have accepted to face the risks brought on by the pandemic, but the hardest part of my day is going home. My children used to run to greet me. Now, I have to ask them to stay away until I’ve removed my gear and showered. And even then, hugging them fills me with fear.
Regardless, our team will not be deterred. As citizens, we all need to act responsibly and remain united in this war on disease, a war we fully intend to win with the people’s help.

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