Posted: April 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

IMG_2343Yesterday was the three month anniversary of the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti on January 12th of this year.  The effects of that day are still very much evident and can be seen in the thousands of destroyed homes and buildings that have yet to been razed and carted away.  The effects can as well be seen in the hundreds of tent cities that have sprouted up around the country.  Some may have less that a dozen tents and others have thousands of tents spread in some type of chaotic order; and the effects can be seen in the marked increase of those seen on the streets with missing limbs.

Yesterday afternoon as the rain fell lightly I spent some time in a rather large tent city/slum area called Aviation.  It is located on what used to be the Haitian military airport but several years ago they did away with the airport since there were no working airplanes.   I went there with Dr. Jen, Troy Livesay and Marjorie, pictured left third from the left.  We went there to make preparation for Marjorie to move back home with her husband and seven children.  We needed to see her living conditions, what kind of place did she live in, how can we help her make the transition home. 

It had been two months since she had been home as she has been at our field hospital all that time recuperating from serious complication from the birth of her recent child. The place had changed so much and grown so much larger with many more people and flimsy dwellings pieced together with tarps that Marjorie had a hard time finding her tarp house and actually had to get out of the vehicle and walk around looking until after several minutes she found her home.

IMG_2345 The people were happy to see her and she was so happy to see all of her children and I was happy that they were happy, but my happiness soon turned to sadness when I saw and entered the place that Marjorie, her husband, and seven children call home.  It is  a 12 foot by 12 foot room with a tarp roof and tarp walls and tarp floor and a bed that could be perhaps 6 feet by 5 feet made up of cement blocks with a dingy, old carpet on the blogs and with a tarp on the carpet  It is in this room that 9 people will live and sleep.  I can’t help but feel sadness and anger and that Marjorie will leave our field hospital and come here to live with her husband and their seven daughters.  I’m not surprised that we are having a bit of a challenge actually getting Marjorie to make the move back home.  In fact it seems to be a theme among most of our patients, that they want to stay with us where they feel secure  and loved.

We brought Marjorie a bed on a metal frame and will bring her another one on Thursday when we plan on helping her move home.  Perhaps we can eliminate the cement block bed. She also received a cooking set, a tarp, some gifts for the children and a mosquito net.  All were given to us by the British medical group, Merlin.


When we opened our clinic about a week after the earthquake we took our recently bought Mitsubishi Canter group truck and we went into the slum areas, into areas that other may consider unsafe, and we looked for those who couldn’t get to a hospital or receive medical care.  So most of our patients are from some of the poorest places in Haiti and in the Western Hemisphere.  And now they are going back.

I’m sure that I don’t have an answer as to how to provide better living places for the tens of thousands that live in deplorable, unimaginable conditions, but I would sure like to help those that have been a part of the Heartline Field Hospital Community.  Now I didn’t start to write this blog with the intention of asking for money but I now realize that it would be amiss of me not to extend to you an invitation to help us help others like Marjorie and her family.  We recently have started to raise funds for those that can not do so themselves and to help that need help so very much.  Please click here to donate.






An earthquake achieves what the law promises but does not in practice maintain – the equality of all men”   Ignazio Silon


To imagine your whole house shaking like that, now that’s scary. I knew this was coming, but a real earthquake catches you off guard.  Claire Lackstone


Several times since the earthquake while I am sitting at the glass table where I was sitting when the earth shook, I look around the room and expect to see it shake and I expect to hear the dishes, books, paintings and house hold items come crashing to the floor as it did on that day.  Every day I interact with people who were seriously injured when the earth shook, many of whom were buried for up to three days under the rubble.  I daily am amazed at the courage and faith demonstrated in the lives of our Heartline patients.  


John McHoul

  1. Tara says:

    Praying for them, praying for you. (Mostly praying you cut your hair though.)

  2. John says:

    PRAY HARDER or as we say in Boston "HARDA"

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