Haiti, cholera, and other mind-bending events


So–the old blog is reincarnated here under a new name!  It is, indeed, the Vietnam version “reinvented” from yet another edgy location–this time Haiti, where a cholera epidemic has spread to Port-au-Prince–my home for the next couple of years, at least.

But before I address the big issues faced here on the western half of Hispaniola, I should clarify why I’ve chosen this new title.  For my less geeky readers, an “event horizon” is the edge of a black hole, a boundary in the space/time continuum beyond which no light can escape—in many ways, a point of no return.  You’ve taken physics; you know this; you’ve just forgotten.

Bottom line–it seems to me, that the far-away places Sara and I have been over the last couple of years have formed a kind of “event horizon” in my mind–taking me to the outer limits of my own comfort zone, shaping new perspectives in me about both the world around me and this time in my life–a bending of my personal space/time continuum, if you will—–mind-bending for me, at the very least.

However, Haiti itself offers a kind of event horizon–a comparison I first found when reading Paul Farmer’s book The Uses of Haiti.  Farmer begins his chapter of the same name with the following epigraph by T. D. Allman:

Haiti is not simply one more of those tropical dictatorships where to rule is to steal, and headless bodies are found by the road.  Haiti contorts time:  It convolutes reason if you are lucky–and obliterates it if you are not.  Haiti is to this hemisphere what black holes are to outer space.  Venture there and you cross an event horizon. (After Baby Doc, 1989)

Wrap you brain around that statement and you may begin to see why I’ve renamed the blog–because this place, this  location has forced me to rethink my beliefs, not only about myself, but also about big issues such as poverty and hunger–and disease, for god sake!  We’re in the midst of a cholera epidemic!  

But even without cholera sickening folks by the thousands, we had an earthquake here last January, a hurricane last week, and a million and a half people homeless in Port-au-Prince today. 

Was the earthquake an event horizon for Port-au-Prince?  Will cholera bend time and space so there’s no escaping the dis-ease that’s plagued this place for centuries?  Is there light for Haiti?

Note:  You might to check out this article about cholera in Port-au-Prince: http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/sudden-death-by-cholera-a-mystery-in-battered-haiti/19712500

2 thoughts on “Haiti, cholera, and other mind-bending events

  1. Kathy!! – I love your blog – and I love this whole “event horizon” thing – and it IS fitting to Haiti – since Whidbey I have constantly thought about it and then when I heard about the hurricane! – well, what is there for Haiti’s future?? – and what can I, your basic spoiled American WASP, do to positively impact that future? – a constant question in my life – thank God you and Sara are actually doing something to provide YOUR answers to that same question – I sometimes get so tired of asking myself this that I feel like I am only comtemplating my navel! – anyway, stay safe and take care of yourselves – enjoy your Thanksgiving – oh! and how are the rocks??

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