Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Greg's 100 Stories for Haiti Blog Tour

I'm proud to have Greg McQueen guest post today. Greg saw a need for help after the disaster in Haiti, as did most of us, but he went one stage further and found a practical way to do so. His 100 Stories for Haiti Book Project idea is a wonderful example of how the internet can work for the good of others. Well done to Greg and everyone who contributed a story and/or worked behind the scenes.

Please support the 100 Stories for Haiti Book Project! Pre-order your copy NOW

Post from Greg
Ah, this is a suitable stop considering my post on Nick Daw's site yesterday. If you haven't picked up a copy of Lorraine and Maureen's book do so ... It is darn useful!

One thing I haven't done for a while is update people on Susan Partovi. She's a Family Physician from Los Angeles who visited Haiti over Christmas, working with four medical students in a rural clinic in Cazale, a small village not far from Port-au-Prince. Her account of her time in Cazale features in 100 Stories for Haiti, and you can read an extract on the project's website.

Susan recently returned to Haiti to help with aid efforts. She was kind enough to send us updates. What follows is her last update from a hospital in Port-au-Prince before jumping a military flight home.
Late Sunday night an orphanage director brought in a pair of 5 week-old twins. Their mother had died. The director didn't know of what. The father had said he couldn't take care of them. They had diarrhoea and were throwing up. They each weighed 3 pounds 7 ounces -- sooo tiny, not too sick looking, so very cute.

I gave them a small bolus each, fluids, medicines, and went to bed. Couldn't sleep though, up at 5:30am to get ready to go to the airport only to discover that they weren't letting anyone in until 5pm, unless you had a chartered flight. Apparently, the "humanitarian" flight I was supposed to be on was cancelled, so I would have to wait for a military flight that evening.

I decided to go back to the hospital. The same driver who had dropped me off picked me up, now loaded with a pastor and eight little girls in the back seats. Orphans. They wore frilly dresses and had braids in their hair. I held one of the girl's hands just because I could.

Arriving back at the hospital I checked on a patient, asthma guy. He was now willing to take breathing treatment and I found some oral medicines for him. When I examined him he said something was, "gwo," meaning "big," and pointed to his chest. His right breast and upper arm were enlarged, and he complained that his armpit was painful.

I consulted a surgeon. "There is an abscess there. He will need surgery." I translate, sort of, before returning to my clinic to see my sundry of hypertensives, my abscess-on-the-foot guy, gastritis patients, etc. Kisses and hugs to everyone before heading back to the airport where I meet a Haitiian woman, now an American citizen, who came down to try to get her non-citizen husband out of Haiti. She had waited 24 hours in line at the Embassy only to be sent away.

I also met an elderly woman who had come to Haiti on January 12th. Her son was taking her back to New York because following the earthquake she'd started suffering dementia. I met a woman and girl from North Carolina who had been coming to Haiti for years through their church. I met a sailor from Miami who just felt he had to do something so he sailed to Haiti with a boat full of supplies and ended up saving some art from a destroyed museum.

We ate dinner together. Ready meals from the military. We slept the night on chairs and were finally airlifted the next day at 6:30am.

Thanks for letting me post, Lorraine and Maureen. And, for those unaware, Lorraine was one of the volunteer editors on the book. In fact, when I asked for her help, she said, “Yes. I am busy though. Pressed with a deadline.” She ended up becoming one of the core editors on the project! I sincerely hope you didn’t blow that deadline, Lo.

Maureen’s story, Betsy Fudge and the Big Silence, features in the book. You can read an extract from her story on a previous stop on this tour. Maureen also helped proof the finished manuscript before it went to the printers.

It’s hard to find the right words to express my gratitude. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough ...

100 Stories for Haiti comes out later this week as an ebook and paperback. You can pre-order your paperback HERE

Greg McQueen


  1. Another interesting post, Greg. It's good to hear a little of what's going on in Haiti.

    Thanks for your brilliant work too, Lorraine and Maureen.

  2. Well done to Susan Partovi too. The volunteer medics are the unsung heroes of these natural disasters.