Day 6: A Chronicle of Grief

I am volunteering at one of the first centers that opened to receive all donations for the devastated country of Haiti.  Today I am writing this as I wait to inventory the medicine that is donated. I don’t want to  judge my fellow Dominicans because the earthquake only happened last night and right now is only five twenty so people are still at work, hopefully  the slow response is due to the workday.

The anti-Haitian sentiment that has permeated this country for so long is quiet, no one is bashing our neighbors today but unfortunately not many are helping either. Let’s hope that before my shift ends I can see the goodness of my fellow Dominican.

Its six fifteen and so far only a German man has come in, he thankfully donated 60 packs of 60 bags of water.  Right now an American woman who came to volunteer has gotten the center to set up a PayPal account so that more people outside of the Island of Hispaniola can donate easier

Its six forty five, nothing has come in. I really hope is because there are so many open places where people are going to drop their donations that they don’t make it here. I feel like crying. There is Haitian-Dominican coming into the center to hear any new news, it’s sad to see them coming in but not many people are coming to donate.

Seven pm Price Smart called they will donate 3 containers with non perishable foods; the donation is valued at six million pesos.  A local pharmacy Etnopharma came in and left five boxes full of medicine and medical supplies!!! My heart is getting lighter. I’m going to be optimistic and say that before I leave a lot more donations will be coming in.
Yay we just got another big donation from a transport company. Three more containers of food. Its seven forty six pm.

Its eight ten right now, we are starting the process of closing down the center and maybe

I’m to much of an idealist but I was expecting a better response, maybe it’s the fact that I’m one place and I’m not really aware of the rest of the places where people are going to donate and everywhere else is packed with donations I really hope.
I’m so sad, is so hard to believe that everyone isn’t as heartbroken as I feel, that everyone isn’t interested in making a difference as small as it might be for the people of Haiti.

I can’t help but think of Edma, an employee I use to have when I opened my restaurant in Bavaro. He was my best employee, helpful, eager to learn, polite and today I kept thinking of him and what he must be going through right now. The anguish of not knowing if their families are alive, the impotence of being so far away and not be able to help his own people. He is the reason I am here today. I am so grateful to him for all the great work he did for me once that the least I can do today is lend a hand in the effort  to help the people of Haiti.

Word Count: 534

P.S this was posted on January 13, It had to be reposted today due to some style errors. I did not skip a day :p


  1. I differ completely. Every single Dominican I know is trying to make a difference with the Haitian situation. Perhaps before passing judgement, you should really dig in and at least ask ask around. Of course not many people actually travelled there to help: yes, normal people have jobs, and cannot afford to leave it as a restaurant owner can. However, in any way they can, they're making a huge contribution to this misfortune.

  2. This is why I hate the Anonymous coment, i dont know who writes and if they read what I answer back.

    First of all I dont think you read my entry properly, if you did, you would realize that i wrote as the day went on, and as I was inside a "centro de acopio" helping. And secondly I clearly say here "I’m in one place and I’m not really aware of the rest of the places where people are going to donate and everywhere else is packed with donations I really hope" that i am not aware of the other centers and that I hope everywhere else is better than where I was.

    I am not passing judgement. I am writing down MY experience and thoughts. Next time i hope you leave some contact info so that I can reply to you directly.

  3. I am ashamed to say that I too witnessed a slow response to the catastrophic events that occured in Haiti 2 days ago. I think that the slow response was due to a number of factors. The first, the workday. The second, not understanding that the epicenter was in our neihgboring country and not understanding the level of devesation that the earthqauke left behind. The third, and not really writing this in any particular order, the existing and very tangible hate the average dominican has towards Haitians.
    Most popular radio journalists, and i use the term journalist loosely (i don't consider them REAL journalists but Real sensationalists), up until the morning of the earthquake referred to haitians as "mardito haitiano", translated into english: f*#king haitian. The word "Haitian" in our culture has such a negative connotation that i have witnessed avergae dominicans pause for a milisecond before they say the word "haitiano", as if it was a curse word.
    I can imagine the average dominican hesitating before donating. And i regret to say that i know for a fact that a lot of dominicans are donating because they know that it is the right thing to do, not because it is what they WANT to do. After all, everyone is doing it, and we dominicans are very much into what everyone else is doing.
    As for government response, despite responding 4 hours after the event and responding before the US government, their response was very vague and seemed to me as if they were simply going through the motions. There was no passion behind the presidents spokesperson, only vagueness and i would even dare to say that he sounded a bit pompous.
    Two days later, it is obvious to me that private nongovernmental organizations have been much more swift than the dominican government in acting and organizing relief efforts.