There is some more discussion below from my sister (VL), dad (JL) and I (l) about the Cholera outbreak in Haiti. Nuz has a lot more on her blog too.
VL: [cholera is] getting closer. 12 cases 15 mins walk away from my house, 5 deaths. and still no material to start disinfecting houses. although im supposed to be picking up sprayers during my stay here in city
l: wow, that's getting pretty close. how are they getting it? just because other people have it? is the water sorted out in their areas?
JL: are you distributing chlorine solution ok and managing to maintain some form of hygiene [for others and you]?
VL: yeah its just when they go into nearby towns where there already lots of cases... but its surely going to spread like wildfire now. all villages near me have difficult water access (which is why big water dist scheme was started by other program manager - but still not finished). chlorine solution is supposed to be distributed by each leader of each village (they collect it at my neighbours house), but appears they're not doing a very good job. but i think washing hands is more important than treating water anyway
JL: how much can people restrict their own travelling? do they meet people from other villages when collecting water?
VL: village isnt a good word as its all so spread out, but no, each village generally has one or more water sources for itself. people travel a lot to all the different markets - the only way they can make money...dont see them restricting that. at least one guy caught it when accompanying already infected person to hospital too... and idiots in another NGO had 50 chloring sprayers for house disinfection, some of which they were supposed to give to us, but it seems they have just randomly handed them out to community members. doesnt help.
JL: just when they must be particularly careful
VL: the worst is when they are walking people to the hospital. the patient must be vomiting and shitting all the way along the track, no idea what we're supposed to do about that
JL: yes, can't really clean up. now you can see the conflict between letting locals do things for themselves and doing things for them
VL: but again, as long as people wash their hands or any other object before putting them in their mouth, they wont catch it (to respond to your question about maintaining hygiene), its not that hard
l: it's not that hard, but maybe they've never learnt about germs so it doesn't make any sense to them. all the english thought it was from bad air, afterall.
VL: for sure, i meant its not that hard for me. but yeah, we only worked out hygiene about 100 years ago. plus local mayor received 700 boxes of soap to distribute free - meaning about 100 boxes for each local gov leader - the leader nearest to my house received 4 boxes...hmm... one educated guy asked me if haiti was only country that had cholera... prevalent attitude that haiti is cursed... understandable really
JL: so, you could reassure him ... must seem like that. you are having xmas in Port au Prince?
VL: i guess so. 3 of us girls will probably spend it together here (met new girl who works in totally different zone yesterday, shes really nice). plan to meet an aussie here this week too, found her through couchsurfing
JL: is the aussie an aid worker?
VL: yes. if theyre not haitian theyre an aid worker, pretty much. tis a pretty weird world here. we went out for dinner last night at italian restaurant... mostly whites, lots of different languages and accents, surely all aid workers. try to imagine myself sitting down eating that 25 dollar meal in front of people from my village
JL: When you went out for dinner you could have been in any city or not?
VL: well it would have to be a very multicultural city, but yes. eating pizza and pasta and icecream, prices the same as australia, just slower service and juices made from strange tropical fruits
JL: guess some people in your village would never have gone to Port au Prince?
VL: yeah lots of people havent been here. but lots have family here too