Brother Luca Perletti, MI
A few hours ago I arrived in Rome. A strange feeling has come over me that cannot be explained by only the change of time zones and the hours of lost sleep. It is as if the world – after the emotions that I experienced in Port au Prince, has changed. I am undergoing a sort of rejection of what was normal and familiar. I know that I will need time, but I also know that what I saw and experienced during the past month in Haiti will not be easily erased from my memory or from my heart.
Many images, sounds, and colors are running through my mind – like seeing a film whose colors are diminished yet there is still much life. Outside of my office in Rome, the muffled sounds that arrive from the street and the dreary and rainy day serve only to accentuate the difference. But so it is. This point had to be reached. And for me thinking about how my fellow Camillians and the volunteers are moving forward with the work and the project patiently designed during this month.
Not everything will end perfectly. Difficulties will slow things down, but determination and a common effort will guarantee success. . This last message, then, is a sort of “giving thanks” to all those who have helped and will help to so that Haiti can have a better future. This is the hope behind the project “Haiti: for a better future. A hospital-based multifactorial approach”. We are moved, indeed, by the conviction that this accursed earthquake that has caused so much death and destruction (and still instills fear with the continual and mocking aftershocks) can be an opportunity for redemption and a new start.
The world has opened its eyes to this tragedy (the latest, the last?) of this people and has moved decisively. In an article that appeared on the Corriere della Sera on Monday February 22, A. Riccardi wondered if this tragedy could mark the start of a new era characterized by common participation in the sufferings of other peoples – after the first decade of the 3rd millennium was characterized by confrontation and clashes between States, often ideological fundamentalist and religious. I don’t know if I would put forth this overly optimistic notion, but it isn’t bad to think it might be possible.
The project mentioned above, that will have duration of two years, is a response to the earthquake of January 12. It consists of several programs that are not only of a medical but also a social nature. They are aimed at the rehabilitation of victims and fighting the poverty that was at once complicit in the earthquake and also a victim. Among the programs that are purely medical, there is the decision to continue sending teams of surgeons for the next six months in for corrective surgery in collaboration with Italian healthcare institutions companies health (we are in the process of signing some contracts). They will be entrusted with the task of revising the results of many surgeries done in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. It is estimated that between 16,000 and the 20,000 operations took place and 80 % were of an orthopedic nature. We have opted to open 50 beds for physical rehabilitation. And will also set up a facility for the manufacture of prostheses. This service will be made available to people beyond Foyer Saint Camille. Socially, through community health service of the Foyer, we intend to support reconstruction of houses and engage in the fight against poverty by promoting microcredit activities and small development projects. Finally, aware of the impact of the earthquake on both the individual and society, we intend to provide psychological and pastoral care at the Foyer and at the ambulatory clinics attached to it. Anita Ennis, a member of the Lay Camillian Family in Ireland, will be the coordinator of this project. She will be accompanied by Deacon Robert Daudier, MI.
Another project that we have at heart, which is of an ecclesial nature, will be realized in collaboration with other religious congregations and the Episcopal Conference of Haiti as they respond to the devastating effects of the earthquake in the suburbs of the capital and the villages in the distant provinces. This project is also aimed at helping the Church with its development and the fight against poverty. The earthquake struck at the heart of the Church causing the death of the Archbishop and other key figures; the destruction of the Cathedral, the headquarters of the Episcopal Conference and the national Caritas. The project aims to implement that charity that is proper to the Church so that it will be able to build structures that are capable of effective interventions in the future. This is a project that is taking shape, and while the ongoing nature of this first phase of the emergency is clear, programs for the medium and long time are being studied. Fr. Scott Binet, MD, MI – the international coordinator of the CTF – has been delegated to serve in this project.
Aware that the Order can play an important role in the response to the emergency, I would like to wish all those that will participate in this undertaking great strength and courage: surely, from their efforts a new type of society will arise!