Saturday, February 14, 2009

Win & Régine besöker PIH på Haiti

Saxat från Partners In Healths nyhetsbrev för november 2008.

From the Desk of Naomi Rosenberg,

former assistant to Paul Farmer

Dear Friends,

I remember when I first saw the rock band Arcade Fire perform four years ago in Philadelphia after the release of Funeral, which would go on to sell over 500,000 copies worldwide. It was a gray fall as the country prepared for the November 2004 presidential election and received daily news of death and devastation in Iraq. Leaving the concert I remember two college students walking out in front of me and one turned to the other to say “they make me feel like maybe, just maybe, everything will be alright.”

Flash forward … Last week we had the privilege of hosting Régine Chassagne and Win Butler – the wife and husband leaders of Arcade Fire – at Zanmi Lasante (ZL, PIH’s partner organization in Haiti). The band has a long-standing interest in Haiti. Régine’s family comes from the island and Win has been known to decorate his guitar with the Haitian proverb “sak vide pa kanpe”—”an empty sack cannot stand up”—as a reminder of the crushing poverty that afflicts Haiti.

We journeyed to central Haiti to visit ZL’s newest sites in St. Marc and Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite. We only recently started working in these hospitals, and the scene was devastating. Almost all of the patients in the inpatient ward were dying – literally wasting away from HIV and tuberculosis.

Régine (left) and Win (center) during an impromptu musical break in Haiti

Nothing I had witnessed in previous visits to ZL hospitals had prepared me for this. When I started working for PIH three years ago, the patients at our older, more established sites (such as Cange) were being treated for kidney disease, heart trouble, cancer, broken bones. Thanks to tireless and unwavering community-based care, these wards were no longer filled with people wasting away at the end stages of HIV and TB. ZL is now working to establish the same model of programs and services at these new sites.
Touched by the scene in St. Marc, Win and Régine brought out a guitar and began playing an incredibly moving set of songs right in the ward—”A Change Is Gonna Come,” which brought tears to many eyes, a rousing version of “La Bamba” followed by “Let It Be” at the request of a dying patient. It is difficult to find the words to express the way music can cross boundaries and lift a saddened soul.

School children gather to hear Win and Régine play.

Later that week, during a visit to the hospital in Cange, Win and Régine played for kids in the pediatric inpatient ward. Anthony, a small boy sick with both a serious case of malnutrition and HIV, had been completely inconsolable, lethargic and unresponsive, according to his nurses. But upon hearing Win and Régine’s music, Anthony propped himself up to sit and started clapping along. It was one of the most touching moments of the week.

Patients in a hospital ward react to Win and Régine's music.

During their visit, we also toured a new hospital, saw villages devastated by last September’s deadly hurricanes, visited a farm that produces vegetables and materials for the therapeutic foods we use to treat malnourished patients, and visited the homes of several patients and their accompagnateurs.

Since the release of their second album and a tour in which they donated $1 from every ticket to PIH, Arcade Fire has become not just fans of PIH but also one of the biggest supporters for our work in Haiti. Their presence and their spirit brought comfort and energy to everyone who was able to meet them.

“There is no profession that cannot be used to help the poor,” as Paul Farmer has said in lectures around the country. With the support of Arcade Fire and our other supporters from all walks of life around the world raising their voices with ours, committing to the dignity of others, helping to treat every patient in the ward, and fighting policy arguments in Washington, DC, and abroad—maybe, just maybe, everything will be alright.
– Naomi Rosenberg
Medical student and former assistant to Paul Farmer

Kan inte pusha nog nu såklart för att stödja Partners In Health och deras enorma jobb de gör på Haiti som är ett av jordens absolut fattigaste och otursförföljda länder. Varenda krona är värdefull i deras kamp för att få Haiti på fötter. Skänk pengar genom att följa den här länken: Donera till Partners In Health. Längst ner finns ett alternativ för att välja precis hur mycket eller lite man vill och kan donera.

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