Fournier, Arthur M., M.D., Herlihy, Daniel. "Benediction." The Zombie Curse: A Doctor's 25-year Journey Into the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic in Haiti. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
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The Zombie Curse: A Doctor’s 25-Year Journey into the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic in Haiti
the remains of Ibo Beach, I pointed out where tourists had most likely introduced HIV to Haiti, then the salt flats where the bodies of Duvalier’s victims were left for the crabs to scavenge, and the trash dumps where children still forage for scraps to this day. “We can make a difference,” I reminded myself.
“Dr. Fournier,” called another unseen voice. “What brought you to Haiti?”
“That’s a long story and it’s only 15 minutes to Croix des Bouquets. Let’s save that one for dinner tonight. Have I told you the secret of the zombie curse?” Fifteen minutes was not long enough to capture their imagination with tales of death and resurrection, freedom and slavery. Thank you, Haiti, I thought to myself. I had the zombie curse of a comfortable life in the United States. For all my good intentions, I was in a coma. Previlus, Belony, Theophile, Marie—I’m trying. Régis—I’ve not forgotten. Hopefully, we will make a difference.
I proved to be naive in my attitude toward Haitian politics. The elections were contested, and that led in certain legislative districts to a political impasse that paralyzed the government and froze international aid to Haiti. Conditions around the country deteriorated, and people once again started heading out in boats, except this time few made it to Miami. Most were either intercepted by the Coast Guard and returned to Haiti or were lost at sea. Haiti became a political football again, and the people, not the government, felt the pain.
To my shock, Delva lost his bid for reelection as magistrate of Thomonde. Delva’s losing that election was about as improbable as the Red Sox losing an election to choose Boston’s favorite baseball team. To make matters worse, the winner, a Lavalas insider, lived in Port-au-Prince. He didn’t even live in Thomonde!
“It’s all right, Dr. Fournier,” Delva said, after I expressed my condolences. “He’s my cousin! Besides, now I can devote all my effort to the health of Thomonde.”
Delva wasn’t trying to create a consolation prize for himself. The Green Family Foundation, a Miami benefactor, had funded