By Joseph Giere, M.D.
Once upon a time, long ago, there were a series of potholes interrupted by a road which lead from Cap-Haïtien to Hôpital Sacré Coeur in the historic town of Milot. Visitors and volunteers bumped their way over the 12 miles for a minimum of 30 tortuous minutes. Others weaved their way around the holes to town clinging to tap taps, often entertained by the meringue beat of Haitian musicians.
After assuming his new role as president, Martelly paved the road to the historic World Heritage Site Sans Souci Palace and to the iconic Citadelle La Laferrière, the symbol of Haitian commitment to resist all foreign invaders. This new road is fast becoming Haiti’s “Le Mans” speedway. It is an ideal place to gather speed and drive fast. New rules now dictate. Motorcyclists and tap tap drivers pound their horn all day and night. This is what passes for ample warning: “Exit the road!!”
The problem is no longer one of damaged auto suspension systems. It is becoming one of broken bones. The hospital front entry is on this 2 lane speedway. To maintain a safe entry point for patients, staff and ambulances, the hospital has placed a new orange speed bump.
This is coupled with two barrels topped with solar powered blinking white lights and placed mid road. The new road has helped eliminate the need for auto suspension repairs; HSC traffic safety improvements will hopefully decrease the number of human body repairs. The timely opening of HSC’s Emergency Room has stepped in to address the “repairs” to the newly “warned but unwary.” Ironically, one of the first patients was from a presidential motorcade visit to Milot.
If there is a Chinese word that means both challenge and opportunity then there must be one for apparent progress and new trouble.