Speaker Beth Macy came to R.U. today to share her experience reporting in Haiti. What she had discovered became a shocking depiction of reality.
Macy stayed in Cap Haitien, Haiti for one week. It was a much smaller, less populated area in Haiti than where she was originially supposed to port in, St. Louis de Nord. Over the course of her journey, she was accompanied by a fixer, or someone who showed her around the country, and a medical team with two missions in mind: surgery on a young man who would be sent to the U.S., and a baby with sickle cell infection.
Her main focus, however, became the concern of Cholera in Haiti. Cholera is a bacterial spreading disease through contaminated food and drinking water. Already, the disease had taken 724 lives nationwide, and it is expected to take over 600,000 more by the time the epidemic ends.
Macy struggled to put into words exactly what she had seen, but she remembered to use her five senses: touch, smell, sight, hear, and taste. Through this method, she expressed a physical connection, rather than cognitive, to make sense of the things she had the hardest time explaining.
Macy also took advantage of utilizing multiple tools, such as a notebook, an audio device, a camera, and a flip cam. She posted on the Internet regularly to update friends and family at home.
One of the most destinctive qualities Macy noted while she was in Haiti, was the overall acceptance that whatever happens is expected.
“It’s Haiti,” was the saying that most people used when something wasn’t right.
Macy felt as though this attitude was odd. It was almost as if saying, “I give up.”
At the end of her trip, she felt a dutiful responsibility to get the word out about Haiti. The Roanoke Times honored her with the first two pages, where she infamously outlined her journey into a story: “Life and death in time of cholera.”
Her account has earned her significant responses, in which she is contiually respected for to this day.
For more information:
Beth Macy’s article can be found at http://www.roanoke.com/multimedia/haiti_cholera