tive fundraiser, myself, and a growing number of other faculty members and students who came to Haiti, had life experiences, and, more importantly, transformed those experiences into grants, projects, and peer-reviewed articles that made the project valuable to the university.
Our residency training program in Cap Haitien was the first grant the school ever received from the Open Society Institute, the foundation established by George Soros. An article describing the project had been published in Academic Medicine, and our paper on screening for tuberculosis in orphanages won a prize for best student paper from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Unfortunately, liability was a huge issue for our school, and the photos published by the Herald just before we left were particularly graphic. One photo of a demonstrator with his hand shot off graced the front page. So that day I got a call from Mark telling me that the provost wanted us to cancel our trip. My protestations that it was too late to cancel, that people were counting on us, and that we weren’t going to be in the capital where the violence was centered but rather in the countryside, at the invitation of the people, fell on deaf ears. His opposition to the trip was no small issue, as Mark could make the students’ lives miserable and the provost has the power to fire even tenured professors. My final parry—we were volunteers, traveling on our vacations with no ties with the school—produced a compromise. Mark would “allow” us to go, but at the first sign of trouble we had to seek safe haven.
That is how we got to Labadie, the pristine peninsula owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line on the other side of the mountain from Cap Haitien, where we had conducted a health fair a few years before. Royal Caribbean is so protective of it that it is walled off and guarded with private security forces. All the people there, including the guards, knew me. There was no safer place on earth. It was our escape valve.
The day started in Leogane at a subsidiary orphanage/farm set