This is the journal for Waiting for Haiti - a long term photography project.
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March 31st, 2011

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

I am already coming to a point of acceptance with the Mosquitos. The power is out tonight and so far it hasn’t come back on. I am told the whole city cannot be powered all at once; that electricity is rotated through the neighborhoods. Apparently we had it all day… so tonight we get none. It is way to hot for me to sleep with any clothes on or blankets… so bring it on bugs.

We got access to the morgue again today. I never forget that sickening smell, but I still found it shocking all over again. It was easier to get used to the smell of decomposition after the quake because it was constantly blowing down the streets. But this time it was all at once. The freezers are actually much worse than I remember them being last year. And I even recognized a couple bodies from the previous year. The floors are now like a babbling brook of fluids. The way the workers stack people… tossing them around with their eyes still open… it is completely disrespectful. If they would simply wrap the bodies up in a sheet and spin some twine around the arms and legs to keep them together the morgue would be significantly more clean and organized. But no. Most Haitians that I’ve met cannot be bothered to do any more than the bare minimum. The morgue staff are no exception.

Outside the morgue, a police officer begged Jeanmary to please talk to the hospital director on his behalf. The officer said that a few of his colleges were shot and killed; that their bodies are being held in the morgue until an autopsy can be performed. He said the bodies have been in there for nearly 8 months now… that the families just want to burry their dead and move on.

We did talk to the director, but he was far more interested in discussing his need for $5,000 USD to fix one of the freezers in the morgue. He said an NGO had given the hospital money for the repairs, but that his predecessor had stolen the money for himself. He also claimed that the only doctor who did autopsies just died two weeks ago. I’m not sure why the police officers don’t just enter the morgue and take the bodies they want. Who would stop them? Nothing ever seems to add up in this country. Stories filled with lies and then wrapped in vagueness.

We spent the rest of the evening sitting out side the house as we usually do… eating, talking, and watching music videos on Jeanmary’s laptop.