Daniel Tillias is the Director of Sakala, a community organization that seeks to inspire the youth of Cité Soleil to greater and higher things. For the first four months of this year, the Lamp provided daily health clinics at Sakala, due to political disturbances in our own part of Cité Soleil. Here he comments on the impact of that stay and the perceptions of people in his neighborhood. Sakala is located on the border of two neighborhoods; one named Three Babies (Twa Bebe) and the other named City of Light (Cité Lumière.)
This article is from the Lamp’s latest newsletter. For more, click here! June Newsletter
The blessing of the city of light in Cité Soleil was to host the Lamp clinic for a few months.
When I received the call that it was too challenging for Lamp to continue operations in Bwa Nèf, I was in shock. I knew that Cité Soleil could not bear to lose one of its last remaining opportunities for health services.
I suggested: “What if we host the clinic in the meantime so that Lamp can continue to be in proximity to Bwa Nèf, to those who need it the most?”
I was not expecting a yes, but when I got the yes it was a dream come true as the neighbors have been pushing me hard to convince Lamp to provide a new mobile clinic. My staff was very excited too, because it was the plus that was needed to complete the list of services that we provide in this community, a community that needs many supports, but who see health care as a top priority.
The day the clinic opened was a dream come true for Sakala. People behaved so well. As we say here in Haiti, they were as dry soil waiting for rain. Many more came than could be served, but they knew that, because the clinic would stay, they could have their chance the next day. Around this time I could easily have run for office with the smiles I was getting from these pregnant women, these elderly people who received not only health care but dignity and respect from the very qualified service and staff.
This community was spoiled. People were praying that the clinic never leave. What about if we keep them forever in Sakala someone said. My answer was why not, but why? Because I know that the Lamp’s purpose is not only to serve the poorest but the poorest of the poorest. Sakala is poor, but it is just 5 minutes from the main road and it makes it less difficult for us to struggle ahead when there is no other choice than to pray for healing.
The day arrived when I got there and there was no clinic. It was a terrible blow but I know that the Lamp staff were very excited to go back to serving the area that needs the help the most.
Fair enough, Lamp is still in Cité Soleil. I need to have full confidence that the mission will remain, that this clinic continues to serve those who would not have healthcare if it were not for the brave ones who dare go where many stop going or decide to never try going. As the elderly person who cannot walk too far a distance said, “Fine, yes they can go, but nothing should stop them from stopping in Sakala once in a while because there will always be a smile of satisfaction for the one who cares about making us feel better.”
[Note: The Lamp will certainly continue to provide mobile clinics at Sakala! We are working to establish a regular schedule for these visits.]