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Not for Sale

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“Yes, that way you’ll always have a place to stay when you and your students come to Thomonde. I can’t promise you will always be able to stay in the mairie (the magistrate’s office). Besides, the mairie has only one bathroom and no showers. I want to build you the best guesthouse in the Plateau Central, three bathrooms and three showers.”

Despite my outward skepticism, I could see there was a germ of a good idea here. Our health fair trips were growing to sometimes 20 to 30 people and myself and other faculty were also coming in between the larger trips. Medishare needed a home in Haiti. Why not Thomonde?

“How much will it cost me?”

“$25,000. I can have it done in six months.”

I had a small discretionary fund I had accumulated by giving my opinion on malpractice cases to attorneys. It would just about cover the cost. “Where else but Haiti can you build a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house for $25,000?” I mused. “Delva, I’m not going to be able to give you an answer today. I’ve got to talk about it with the Medishare board. When are you leaving?”

Delva was leaving on Wednesday, which gave me two days to poll the board. I started with Michel, whose office was just three doors down from mine.

“Um, Michel. Delva was just here, up from Thomonde. He wants us to build a guesthouse in Thomonde on some land he’ll donate to us.”

“What, are you crazy?” Michel’s jaw fell in disbelief. “Do you know how many poor Haitians there are concocting wild get-rich-quick schemes right now to pitch to wealthy Americans?”

“Delva’s not like that, Michel, you know him. It’s all about helping Thomonde. I trust him. Besides, I made a vow a long time ago to never again doubt a Haitian. Aren’t you getting tired of sleeping on cots, washing out of buckets, and pooping in latrines?”

“That’s a good point. What will it cost us and how will we pay for it?”

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