Haiti, Day 4: Trash and Tragedy Never End in Haitian Life

Day four.  Possibly the most challenging day yet.  For many reasons.

The day began with a hasty, early morning departure to the orphanage – to hand out donated clothes and survey some building projects.  Doug wants to build a new bathroom and shower area for the kids.  When we arrived, it was hard to see the current conditions.  Shoddy plywood structures and tarp make up the bathroom and the kids brush their teeth and bathe from hoses and buckets outside, while standing in piles and piles of trash.  There’s trash EVERYWHERE.  And the pungent stench makes it hard to ignore.  I used all my strength to hold back tears.  SOOOO much trash … from my past posts, maybe you recall – there is no waste management service.  We Americans totally take for granted these basic “luxuries” – so much that it’s hard to comprehend that in some countries, the concept of throwing away trash into receptacles to be collected later and dumped in a designated area, simply does not exist. In many developing countries, trash is just burned in yards.  Which of course leaves that burning stench constantly in the air.  Everywhere you go.

At the orphanage
At the orphanage - back toward the tree-lined areas, the piles of trash began. The children bathe outside of this building. (Photo by Greg Zahn)
Inside the boys room building
Inside the boys room building (Photo by Greg Zahn)

These poor children are surrounded by trash – they walk in it, they bathe in it, they get ready for school every morning standing in filth.  It’s heartbreaking.  Even covered in bug spray, I got about 30 mosquito bites just standing in the musty area for about 15 minutes.