Saturday, February 27, 2010

'Gus' looks back toward Haiti

Gyslain Auguste was one of the most beloved members of the Charlotte team of relief workers. Members of the Haitian Heritage and Friends of Haiti described "Gus" as the "big brother" of the group. The one with the jolly laugh who was always calm and never got upset. 

Over breakfast this morning in the Dominican Republic, I asked him to reflect on his two weeks providing earthquake relief in Haiti.

Why did you come to Haiti?
I came to respond to the calamity of the earthquake that affected so many people. I’m a native Haitian and it was fitting for me to respond in the way that I did so I could help in some small way.

Something I learned a long time ago is you need to give back some of what you've amassed.

What was your job?
My job was to manage one of the tents that housed 40 patients with various degrees of injuries. They had depressed skull fractures. Some of them had lost limbs. Some of them had neurological problems. Emotional problems.

What was your goal?
My goal was to touch at least one person’s life and help them through their suffering. And to share with them some of the resources that I had professionally and emotionally.

Do you feel you had an impact?
I certainly do.

What touched you the most?
The response. The acceptance that my patients had. Haitians normally do not hug, especially men. And they were hugging me, pulling me, shaking my hand, smiling, and voicing their appreciation for what I did. It touched me very deeply.

What frustrated you?
The lack of supplies when you most needed them. And seeing people being deprived of simple things like toiletries and things that they really need for daily living.

What will you remember?
The smiles. I will remember the positive response. The people that I met of different backgrounds. And the sheer goodness that I have seen among other people who came to help their fellow human beings.

What will you try to forget?
I’d like to forget that this earthquake ever happened. But that can’t happen… I think I have more to remember than forget. I don’t think I’ll forget anything because it's just a film that you can play over and over. It keeps bringing back memories. 


Anonymous said...

Franco, Have you thought about going to Chile?

Anonymous said...

GO! FRANCO NIGHTINGALE! And don't come back!

Anonymous said...

Heh! Caped crusader Franco! Hurry back as soon as possible. The're going to try to give a Mexican the death penalty, just for murdering someone. Patch up those "tootsies" and get the hell back!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand!!!! How did Franco miss out on a chance to pat an illegal alien on the back and attempt to damn the man for keeping them down? Perhaps ALL the illegal Haitians in Florida should take this chance to return home and rebuild their beloved country?

Anonymous said...

Hey! Is that black man in the photo "Uncle Ben?

Anonymous said...

What happened Sunshine? Did the stove blow up in your face?

Ricardo Ribalda said...

Hello Franco:
I want to congratulate you on the nomination at The BOBs, my blog: La Vuelta al Mundo de Asun y Ricardo also has been nominated as the best weblog in Spanish.
You have a very interesting blog, I have voted.
If you want to see mine in their language, in the first page I own Google automatic translator.
Thank you very much and good luck.