Dr. Leo Vieira, a family practice physician in Trinity, went to Haiti last week with a medical team to operate a clinic. In his latest e-mail, he tells his wife of a need for tents for families left homeless by the earthquake. Three hours later, the tents were secured with a discount from a Dick's Sporting Goods store in South Carolina, which is where the airplane picking up the team is based. Visit www.peopleforhaiti.blogspot.com to follow Dr. Vieira and the team.
Here is a copy of Dr. Vieira's e-mail, sent Friday:
"It's 5 in the morning. Dozens of roosters just outside our shelter make their morning calls. One of our team members snores rhythmically in the background. I'm just lying here in bed waiting for another day to begin, wondering what today will bring. There is no electricity at the orphanage, as the solar panels are still waiting for the sun to rise — then, suddenly and without warning, the fans will begin to turn and the lights of the battery chargers and wireless router will go on. The day will begin.
"We will travel to the teaching hospital in Titaien, where a Doctor Maria awaits us. Dr. Mike (White, a fellow team member) spoke to her last night. When he told her of the supplies and equipment that we had and what she thought we needed to bring, she asked us if we had blankets and mattresses for the hospital. Blankets and mattresses.
"I'm not tired (physically), but I'm mentally drained. I can't stop thinking of all the things that I've seen, and the needs of these suffering people. I'm not sure where to begin. Like a patient in a manic state, I have racing thoughts and flight of ideas about what is needed and what we could do to address so many of those needs. There is so much that can be done, and with so little. Basic supplies and necessities are simply not getting to many of the people.
"It's been more than three weeks since the earthquake hit, and the only evidence of U.S. relief was a meal-pack that was dropped off yesterday, at a nearby field, by a U.S. Air Force Osprey.
"Yesterday, we were at the clinic in Cabaret and Dr. Ancio asked if we had tents — he said he had approximately 20 families who were without shelter. I thought that maybe we could use some of the donated funds that we've received and buy tents for these people. Perhaps we could send them in with the pilots who will be coming to get us on Sunday. I will try to get a hold of the pilots who brought us down here and ask them if they could bring 20 tents (Coleman tents — small single unit tents — about $40-50)."