Baseball in the Time of Cholera


Every day we hear tragic numbers in the news, numbers that make us feel helpless. The death toll could rise as high as 100,000. 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed 13 million are facing severe hunger 12 million people need emergency aid Heavy monsoon rains have affected at least five million people across the country. Three million people may have been affected by the earthquake. But what do these numbers really mean? They are often so big they don’t feel real. But they are real, and these big numbers are made up of individual stories and individual lives. This is the story of one number, one life, and one extraordinary boy named Joseph. This is also the story of a humanitarian environmental scandal that could have been avoided. The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Haiti passed 200 tonight and thousands more are sick. Patients overwhelmed a hospital in the port city of Saint-Marc seeking treatment. the source of the outbreak is not yet confirmed. I raced this guy up here and he just died now. As I came to the gate they told him no. Reports of new cases are emerging in towns fifty miles from the outbreak zone. Some reports are saying victims have died in as little as four hours. Health workers are rushing medication, clean water, and hygiene supplies to the affected region. This outbreak is likely to get much larger Tens of thousands of survivors of the devastating earthquake are vulnerable. They are still living in crowded tent-cities in and around Port-au-Prince with poor sanitation and little access to clean drinking water. Baseball in the Time of Cholera My name is Joseph Alvyns I am from Haiti I love baseball I think I will catch the ball but I don’t catch the ball so if I catch the ball I will make two people out but sorry I love my life in the afternoon I play baseball in the morning I go to school in Port-au-Prince This is my house and this is my garden this is where we live after the earthquake because our house fell down This is my father and this is my little sister Cindy this is my sister Lovely and this is my brother Pascale and this is my sister Gelda This is my mom she makes beautiful jewelry to support our family Sometimes we cook here we make some food here it’s like a kitchen for us and this is our bathroom This is my baseball this is my favorite thing I got this when I went to Toronto, I love it I wrote this on my house because I LOVE my life We have this poster it teaches how to not get Cholera wash your hands drink clean water wash everything before you eat put the poo poo in the latrine only Sometimes the sun makes it very hot a lot of mosquitoes here a lot of mosquitoes… Eleven people live in this house with me This is where we get water It’s Haiti’s nightmare scenario: an outbreak of deadly disease, killing scores of a country already on its knees. Authorities say the symptoms—acute diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration—bear all the hallmarks of cholera. Her husband died last night and this is her daughter. We’re trying—we’re just getting her on an IV and then we’re going to the… You can imagine the desperation was because no one knew what this was. Everyone was saying that the river was poisonous. Don’t go near the river. Something was coming from upstream and now it’s reaching Port-au-Prince, from what we can tell. Unlike HIV which is a very slow killer, this was killing people instantly. Fear existed. A lot of fear and anxiety around the causes. The most kind of vivid memories are just everyone trying to find water and not wanting to drink the riverwater that was on the side. People were so desperate for getting clean water, it got me, it really got me, and I think what got me the most was the fear. It started to rain, and that’s when it really hit me. I said well, we’re in for a long haul here, and we were just going to continue to see cases until we were able to identify what the cause was. Right from that initial night where we saw 400 patients, and then the next day had over a thousand, that this couldn’t just be your run-of-the-mill diarrhea, that it looked—it had the tell-tale signs of cholera. If someone is with cholera, is defecating, and it somehow gets into the river system, it’s easily able to then be transmitted quickly. The Artibonite is the largest river in Haiti, but it’s also the breadbasket where most people are living off the land, farming. They’re not just drinking the water. They’re bathing in the water, they’re using it for their crops, they’re bathing their animals in the water. They might be even defecating in the water. And so it’s this vicious cycle. As the disease spreads from the town of Saint-Marc, cases are now being reported in the capital of Port-au-Prince. We built this field we are the first little league in Haiti, and we get better every day That’s Jeff That’s Bouki That’s Crazy Baseball! I love baseball! That’s Japhney Sometimes baseball is crazy sometimes it’s hard but we love it We play in the sun and we play in the rain That’s Jason Richard is our catcher That’s Shelove He loves baseball One day I want to play baseball in the Major Leagues U.N. soldiers working furiously to contain what looks like sewage spill at this base in Haiti’s rural heartland. We came here after rumors that Nepalese troops could be a source for the cholera outbreak. The disease is water-born, and untreated waste running into a river is a big danger, and that’s exactly what we found. Well we’re not being told exactly what’s going on here, but it certainly smells like sewage. There are toilets right there and the liquid seems to be draining into this river just a few meters away that flows into the nearby town of Mirebalais. The Nepalese contingents wouldn’t tell us when they arrived here, but U.N. headquarters confirmed it was mid-October, just weeks after a cholera outbreak in Kathmandu. A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of more that five-thousand Haitians against the United Nations over the cholera outbreak that has further devastated Haiti in the aftermath of the Januray 2010 earthquake. It’s widely believed that cholera was brought to Haiti by a battalion of Nepalese troops with the U.N. Peacekeeping Force. The strain of cholera that hit that area is identical to a strain that was in Nepal, and Nepal had a cholera outbreak in the summer of 2010. I don’t want to use any kind of force on you, OK? You got my point? Give me your ID first! With more than 5% of the population sickened during the outbreak, it’s believed Haiti now has the highest rate of Cholera in the world. Brian Concannon is one of the attorneys who filed the suit on behalf of Haitian cholera victims. We’re hoping that this is the case that’s too big to fail, that the evidence against the United Nations is so overwhelming here that the U.N. will have no choice but to finally take responsibility for its malfeasance. I’m now in Saint-Marc working with a group on Human Rights to ask for justice and reparations for the victims of Cholera the victims who have been killed the victims who have been injured Artibonite River When we heard about the breakout of Cholera we made some investigation we document that we visited all the sites all the areas where we have a breakout of Cholera we’re looking for people who have been sick or killed by the Cholera we talk to them or the family His father was killed by Cholera and then when we made the files for people he said the lines were too long he can’t wait and now I’m giving him the phone of our lawyers in Saint-Marc to come to him and make the file for him We’ve got tuberculosis we’ve got malaria but we’ve never had Cholera but it’s evident that the UN Mission (MINUSTAH) or the Nepalese brought it to Haiti to this river Cap Haitien Shots ring out on the streets of Haiti as anger over a horrific outbreak of cholera reaches boiling point. Locals blame the U.N. troops, like these Nepalese soldiers, for the outbreak. Demonstrations have seen crowds take to the streets, using burning tires as road blocks. In the northern port city of Cap Haitien, two people were killed when U.N. soldiers exchanged gunfire with protestors. Others have been hurt in similar shows of anger around the Caribbean island. The thought that the very foreign visitors who were supposed to be helping Haitians may have brought this affliction to the island is almost too painful to contemplate. The Nepalese brought this illness to our country they must go do you understand? If the Nepalese have a vaccine they must give it to us we will make them go if they don’t give it to us many people will die they will die we will die we know people will die In Cap Haitien and around the country we’ve got the resistance of people who ask the UN Mission to go out of this country MINUSTAH=Cholera Aba means against when you say Aba “Aba you” I’m against you Aba MINUSTAH means against the UN Mission The UN Mission brought us Cholera they never brought peace to Haiti they are called peacekeepers they don’t bring peace There’s been slow funding for cholera treatment. There has not been slow funding for Peacekeeping. One-tenth of all U.N. Peacekeepers are in Haiti their budget for this year is $800 million— and that’s for a country that has not had a war in my lifetime, but does have a cholera epidemic. The United Nations have their own protocol how to respect the environmental rights of any country they send the Peacekeepers but why didn’t they detect the Cholera on the Nepalese soldiers? Why didn’t they treat the waste? They need to say, “It’s our fault, let’s help the Haitian government to eradicate the Cholera.” And they continue to deny and the disease continues to spread around the country We need to say, “Hey!” to the United Nations You promote Human Rights Let’s stand for Human Rights in Haiti Let the Haitian people drink some potable water Cholera came Haiti has a lot of trouble but other countries have trouble too With tsunami relief on their minds kids in Dallas squeeze the aid from lemons. A lemonade fundraiser for Japan. In an hour, they raise more than $1,000. From Haiti, Joseph and Geoffrey look at Japan and see themselves. They’re fourteen-year-olds still living in tents after last year’s earthquake. For me it’s not easy Excuse me In their despair, they link to Japan with plastic scraps made into bracelets. $10 a piece, $200 so far. Moved like all these kids to send hope in whatever way they can. Some people saw me on TV and invited me to Toronto to meet the Blue Jays I like this city We walked everywhere It’s different from Haiti No earthquakes, no riots, no Cholera I missed my mom but I got to call her on the phone at the game Mommy, say hi to everyone for me we miss you say hello to everyone at home ok say hi to Dad and all the kids Are you doing ok? It’s cold in this country Are you cold now? I’m a little cold, yeah You should put on a jacket to keep warm Yea I’m cold, I’ll do that now Do you have anything warm? Yeah, I have a jacket Three weeks after Joseph’s return to Haiti, his mother falls ill with Cholera My father called me and he said Joseph your mother has Cholera What do you think we can do? Do you have a friend who has a car to bring her to the hospital? And I said no then They take a motorcycle and the went with her and the next morning I went to see her She was very good then Joseph’s Mother’s Funeral She worked very hard for us and she loved us very much She will stay in my heart forever Marie Claude Alvyns Died October 18th, 2011 Exactly One Year After Cholera First Arrived in Haiti We will fight for the right of poor people fight for the right fight to change this unjust system I’m not afraid We say in Haiti “Viktwa se pou pep la.” the Victory is for the people we believe in that all the time the people in Haiti have the victory We got a victory in 1803 against a big army from France the Napolean army we got the Victory We defeat a lot of dictatorships like Duvalier I think the Victory is on our side but we need to keep going and make the struggle and make the fight I’m really confident we will win this process and then, not only for Haiti not for Haiti it will be for the other poor countries it’s a fight for the world I’m walking around the country in the poor areas and looking for people who have been infected killed or have the disease of Cholera I’ll keep walking until I find the last victims of Cholera This film is dedicated to Joseph’s mom Marie Claude and the 500,000 victims of the Cholera epidemic in Haiti To date Cholera has claimed over 7,000 lives in Haiti The United Nations still denies responsibility for the Cholera outbreak “It was not possible to be conclusive…” “…about how Cholera was introduced into Haiti.” Now you have seen my story please help me end Cholera in Haiti Let’s tell the UN they must end this crisis Sign the Petition: undeny.org A film by David Darg & Bryn Mooser Take action: undeny.org I am Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney at the Bureaux des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) The BAI is Haiti’s leading public interest law firm I would like to thank you for coming to watch Baseball in the Time of Cholera Two years after the outbreak, the Cholera epidemic is far from being contained Cholera keeps killing Experts say it will be between 2,000 and 4,000 Haitians this year It will kill children like Joseph and his friends Together, we can put an end to the epidemic I will invite you to take the next step of helping us stop the Cholera epidemic in my country BAI represents 5,000 victims of Cholera in their legal fight for justice We are a team of public interest lawyers in Haiti and in the United States The Cholera case is our biggest case right now but we also represent victims of rape and political persecution and the unjustly imprisoned Our clients are almost always poor and we do not charge them anything for our work We depend on donations from our supporters to keep fighting We keep our costs very low by working hard for modest salaries and getting lots of volunteer help But we do need money to keep our office open to travel to the remote areas where our Cholera clients live and to document the cases The Cholera case is particularly expensive because we represent 5,000 clients so far Even modest fees for notarizing documents can add up quickly when multiplied by 5,000 In November 2011, we filed a groundbreaking case against the UN seeking clean water & sanitation and compensation for Cholera victims The Cholera case has the potential to transform the lives of all poor Haitians by forcing the UN to provide clean water which will control Cholera and other infectious diseases Please join us in our quest for justice from the UN We can stop Cholera’s killing but we need your help and we need it now Please consider a generous donation to IJDH Thank you for caring about Haiti Thank you Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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