Archive for February, 2011

February 13, 2011

A Haitian-American nurse reflects on her service in Haiti

Like other first generation Haitian-Americans, Melissa Martelly had been itching to use her nursing skills on the ground in Haiti. Below, Martelly, who also has a masters in international peace and conflict resolution, writes about becoming an unlikely activist and her first trip back to Haiti since the earthquake.

Haitian-American nurse Melissa Martelly caring for one of her many patients in Croix-des-Bouquets, September 2010

I never thought that I would want to dedicate my life to developing Haiti but January 12th was my wake up call. Although I was born in the United States I’ve been visiting Haiti since I was a child.  Last September was the first time that I was there to help my people. Imagine: thirty-five seconds transformed me into an activist who now works to end Haiti’s history of poor governance, class division and social inequality.

I am a registered nurse and I had been trying to get on the ground since the earthquake.  All doors were shut.  To this day I don’t understand why international development organizations would not select a Creole-speaking Haitian-American health care professional to provide immediate assistance.

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