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The Zombie Curse: A Doctor’s 25-Year Journey into the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic in Haiti
a nurse at Jackson. There’s a group of us at UF trying to organize to work here in Haiti, but we don’t have any faculty. Do you think you can help?”
Serge was tall, very dark, and somewhat reminiscent of a young Sidney Poitier, except with a squarer jaw. He had a heavy accent and spoke with a little bit of a lisp. That day he wore a T-shirt and jeans. I acknowledged that I was Dr. Fournier and invited him to join in with our exams. I then peppered him with questions, in part to get him involved and in part to assure myself that he was, in fact, a medical student. He passed the test.
As it turned out, the University of Florida’s spring break always occurred the week following Miami’s. It was therefore relatively easy for me to stay on an extra week each spring, supervise my Miami students, and rendezvous with the Florida students at the airport in order to supervise them. Serge had returned to Gainesville after our first encounter and organized his fellow students to work in a similar manner to Medishare. Unlike the University of Miami teams, however, Serge and his team set their own itinerary. The first two trips on which I worked with UF students focused on orphanages in Port-au-Prince.
“So, where are we going, this time, Serge?” I asked during a phone call in anticipation of our third trip together.
“We’re going to Jacmel. We’ll be doing health fairs in villages right behind the beach at Raymond-le-Bain. But first I’ve found a new orphanage that needs our help. It’s up in the mountains on the way to Jacmel in the village of Decouze. They have about a hundred kids. There’s only one problem, Dr. F.”
“What’s that Serge?”
“It’s a Voodoo orphanage.”
I think Serge expected me to be shocked. “So? We’ve got a Catholic orphanage [Luc’s] and a Protestant orphanage [Miriam’s]. This will make us truly ecumenical!”
About 20 miles out of Port-au-Prince, the road to Jacmel branches off the road that snakes down Haiti’s southern peninsula,