Complexities of Cholera in Tilori, Haiti: A Day in the Life

Complexities of Cholera in Tilori, Haiti: A Day in the Life

Dr. Autumn Quezada de Tavarez

Assistant Professor of Latin American History

Roger Williams University

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There are many health concerns in Haiti – clean water, sanitation, a severe lack of medicines, a general infrastructure, AIDS, chronic diseases and communicable diseases. Of the many aliments fevers, dysentery, tropical diseases such as dengue, and respiratory illnesses rank the highest. However, TB and cholera have the potential to be most deadly.

Dr. Paul Farmer, physician and anthropologist, devotes most of his energies through the Boston based Partners In Health to treat and contain TB and cholera. Farmer in his notable study titled Infectious Diseases and Inequalities cites that Tuberculosis is a global epidemic and the leading cause of death – “stupid deaths” he calls it. Treatment and monitoring can help to stem that epidemic. Between the years 2012 and 2013, Tilori had over 200 confirmed cases of TB – a town of 17,000+ persons. Meanwhile, cholera is a daily threat to the majority of populous in Tilori, as it affects peoples of all ages.

Tilori, Haiti sits on the border opposite the Dominican town of Restauracion in the Department of Dajabon. A visit to the town of Tilori on market day offers the few visitors an opportunity to experience the town at it’s busiest. A walk through town is an exercise in chaos. Haitians from nearby towns bring their wears ton horseback and via mules to town to sell, exchange and barter. However, beyond this façade is a deeper experience; one of health. Dusty roads filled with sharp rocks present also as streams of sewage. Children run barefoot through water infested with E. Coli and excrement. Living in such close proximity poses the severe dangers of contamination that develops into cholera. The greatest danger of cholera is dehydration and a shortage of hydration salts poses an enormous mortality threat.

On this day, in January our guide, educator and town leader Tete weaves us through the roads to visit schools and clinics.

I ask Tete: “When was the last case of cholera?”

His response in Spanish: “We are in the time of cholera. Last week we had eight cases. One died, but seven survived. Gracias a Dios.”

Tilori houses one hospital with one doctor and one nurse to serve over 17,000 inhabitants. That’s an incredible imbalance to consider. The main hospital houses three rooms: one consultation room as a line of people awaiting consultation; a maternity room for birthing; and a filing room. The consultation room has less than ten operating beds.

 

The birthing room has three birthing beds.

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Separate from the main hospital is the house specifically devoted to cholera containment. This wooden structure has three rooms with a number of wood beds with holes and a bucket beneath to catch the copious amounts of liquid excrement from each patient. On this day there are no patients and we are instructed to touch nothing. This is a dangerous infectious disease. In the entry way are large spray bottles to disinfect the building daily with special chemicals to clean the crude hospital. One can only image the horror of cholera when the hospital is filled with patients suffering or near death.

 

It is difficult to imagine a community as large as Tilori living with the daily reality and horror of cholera, a disease brought recently by UN workers. This is their reality – a reality beyond the human catastrophe of the earthquake of 2010 with killed over 400,000 people near the capital leaving hundreds of thousands of children orphans. Many fled the capital for the frontier with the Dominican Republic.

Haiti is an incredible nation of peoples strong with a will to live, to survive. As the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, one is struck simultaneous will to live, survive and prosper in the face of governmental impotence and mismanagement. Dr. Farmer famously posited a thesis known as “structural violence” which helps us to understand the situation in Haiti and in other places where peoples are forced to survive in the face of tragic governmental neglect. Despite this neglect, Haitian education is excellent – in French, Kreyol and English. An enormous feat being that they have no materials for student in the classroom. This speaks to the strong will of Haitians. Yet it is hard to not recognize how this structural violence robs people of their human dignity. Children beg – “Dame un peso.” Or they sell themselves.

The tragic story of Haiti is both one of severe neglect. Yet other stories need to be told. There are many Haitians pushing grassroots programs both with outside NGOs as well as amongst themselves to improve their situations. What do you do when you cannot count on the government to pull its weight? People take the imitative as best as they can with what they have. This is the story of Haitian people, a strong people – survivors in the face of insurmountable obstacles. These stories MUST be told.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome

Social Justice in Hispaniola is an interdisciplinary 6-credit course offered during the Winter Session of the school year at Roger Williams University. This course is a collaboration between three professors

Dr. Paola Prado (Journalism/Film/Communications)

Dr. Autumn Quezada-Grant (Latin American History)

Dr. Kerri S. Warren (Biology/Public Health)

These three professors rotate out the course offering pairs each year offering students an interdisciplinary experience that is both exciting and engaging.

Our teaching and learning methodology is a mix of experiential learning, service learning and fair trade learning with our community partners in the Dominican Republic.

 

About our study abroad

 

HIST 383  Social Justice in Latin America: Hispaniola

Department of History and American Studies

Prerequisite: HIST 100 (for Majors), or consent of instructor

Fulfills a course requirement in the History Core Concentration and for the Latin American and Latino Studies Minor; 3-credits

 

Winter Intersession 2018. January 4-19, 2018              Location: Dominican Republic

Instructor: Dr. Autumn Quezada-Grant            Email: aquezada-grant@rwu.edu

Office: GHH 213                                             Phone: 401-254-3024

 

 

Course Description: This course will be taught on the island of Hispaniola and will focus on the country of the Dominican Republic. During this Study Abroad experience students will explore issues and histories in Latin America related to social justice. Evolving over the last two decades, there has been a rising tide of responses by everyday citizens in Latin America to problems related to income disparity, violence, corruption, education reform, public health, revolutionary movements, globalization, and neoliberal policies. The legacy of Liberation Theology (post-1962) has prompted citizens to reflect on their lives in relation to powers above and to consider action. Social Justice offers us a lens in which to understand the nexus of lived experience and the challenges of making a just world. This class offers students an opportunity to think about the context of history in relation to lived experience and how individuals and communities negotiate from below and within. Readings and discussions will revolve around historical narratives, local voices, gendered histories and constructions of race and class.

 

Course Goals: Students will gain a depth of knowledge in the history of Hispaniola within a cultural context: readings and lectures will broaden student’s understanding of the island and the historical friction between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, as well as the specific history of the Dominican Republic which involves colonial legacies, US involvement impact and dictatorship. Students will be introduced to issues of social justice by witnessing it first hand in the country. Students will visit communities and talk with locals about current issues. Students will gain knowledge from our companion course JOUR 430: Communicating Social Justice in Hispaniola about identifying credible sources from which to learn and record stories related to social justice. While students gain experience through citizen journalism, this history course will help ground the students with a depth of historical knowledge that will aid them in crafting thoughtful questions and project ideas. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

 

  1. Articulate a broad history of the island of Hispaniola.
  2. Identify specific social justice issues within the Dominican Republic that is sensitive to and inclusive to local viewpoints.
  3. Understand how to incorporate a sensible grounding in recent history to craft interview questions.
  4. Accurately discuss local responses to social justice issues within the Dominican Republic.
  5. Engage with local communities in the production of their course projects.
  6. Learn how to use a multimedia website for the sharing of documents and projects required of the course. 

 

Course Requirements and Grading:

 

Students are expected to prepare thoroughly for class by reading assigned material before our study abroad experience in order to discuss, participate and for preparedness for community work. The final grade will be computed as follows.

 

Group Discussion and Participation on-site (20%) Students will become conversant in the broad outlines of history of the island of Hispaniola – colonial and national periods. We will have lectures, guest speakers and cultural site visits. The history will include periods of intervention, invasion, dictatorship and economic development. We will also discuss issues revolving around race, stateless peoples, immigration, economy, natural resources, public health and education.

 

Photo stills (20%) Students will be required to shoot individual digital still imagines that will be used to populate the multimedia site and blog posts. Each student will be required to publish a minimum of ten still images each day that accurate report the material explored in each course, for a total of 100 edited still shots.

 

Comprehensive Reflective Paper (30%) At the end of the trip, each student will analyze and explain the relationship between history and social inequalities in the island of Hispaniola in respect to the Dominican Republic.

 

Individual blogs (30%) Starting on the eve of departure and ending on the day of departure from the Dominican Republic, each student is required to write a considered analysis of the course materials covered that day. These entries should include one or more images that help you reflect on the connections you learn that tie theory to praxis (classroom learning to lived experience). Each blog should have a theme and essentially tell a story.

 

Required Readings:

 

 

Class Participation: This is a rigorous course. Participation requires that students is active and engaged each day’s activities and with the communities where we work. Expect to spend time writing each day on your blog and reflecting on each day.

 

Access to Equipment: Each student needs to bring on the trip a laptop as you will spend time writing and uploading your photos.

 

 

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

 

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should first contact the Student Accessibility Services office to coordinate reasonable accommodations. The SAS office will provide documented/registered students with the specific information needed to begin the accommodation process.  SAS is located on the second floor of the Main University Library in the Center for Academic Development and is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.  The contact number is 401-254-3841.  Please then see me directly during my office hours so that we can have a private conversation about your specific needs.

 

MUTUAL RESPECT

 

Roger Williams University is an institution that prides itself on presenting an environment that exhibits and encourages tolerance. This class is no different.

 

 

ACADEMIC HONESTY

 

Because this is a course that requires a great deal of writing, academic honesty is very important. The bar is set high in regards to academic standards. I expect academic honesty, always. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in an “F” for the course. Be wary of using Internet sources and be respectful towards your fellow students

Places of importance we plan to visit and work:

 

Contact Hours To offer a comprehensive 6-credit program over the Intersession, we require at least 225 contact hours.  In our estimation (detailed in the following pages), we will easily meet this minimum requirement.

Pre-trip meetings: 18 hours.  In early December, students will be required to attend one pre-trip workshop that will provide information about travel logistics, historical readings, literature discussions, and service learning training.

In the Dominican Republic: 225 hours. This time will consider class, discussion, and mandatory activities, guest lectures, etc.  Final exam due by January 20th after we return.

COST: $3,416.00 (includes fees for 6-credits of tuition, room, board, transportation, and entry fees) not including flight

Vaccinations:

Make sure that your routine vaccinations are up-to-date along with Hepatitis A and Typhoid. You MUST show proof.

Note: Zika is a risk in Dominican Republic. Because Zika infection in a pregnant woman can cause serious birth defects, women who are pregnant should not travel to Dominican Republic. All travelers should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika virus during and after the trip. For more information, see Zika Virus in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo: The capital of the Dominican Republic was founded by Christopher Columbus in 1498, the site of UNESCO World Heritage Site

Santiago: The capital of the economic powerhouse Cibao province, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic houses the first television station to broadcast in color on the island, located in the same building as the Matun Hotel, the site of a violent assault during the 1965 U.S. invasion.

El Seybo: Founded in 1502 by Juan Esquivel, this is the longest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas.

Restauracion: The border village in the mountainous northern region was named for the 1882 “restoration” of independent rule from Haiti, following the defeat of the Haitian military outpost at that location.

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LALS 299 / SPN 430 – Race and Power in Contemporary Dominican Fiction

Department of Modern Languages, Philosophy, & Classics

Prerequisite:  SPN 202 or consent of instructor

Fulfills a course requirement in the Foreign Languages and Cultures Core Concentration, the Latin American and Latino Studies Minor, or Foreign Language Major; 3 credits. 

 

Session:  Winter Intersession 2018                 Location:  Dominican Republic

Instructor:  Dr. Dorian Lee Jackson                Email:  djackson@rwu.edu

Office:  GHH 101                                           Phone:  401-254-3782

 

Course Description:  This course will be taught on the island of Hispaniola and will focus on the country of the Dominican Republic.  During their time in the program, students will explore the contemporary literary production of Dominicans living on the island, as well as that of the Dominican diaspora in the United States.  The course will focus on works of Dominican fiction to explore questions of racial formation, structural racism, and power in society.  Novels and short stories produced throughout Latin American rank among the most significant literary manifestations of the Twentieth Century.  These works embody the literary and cultural traditions, both European and native, which make Latin American literature unique.  Works of fiction focusing on, or produced in, the Dominican Republic, in particular, engage and question the literary, historical, and cultural contexts which allowed for their creation.  Through in-country travel and site visits, this course will allow students to dialogue with and analyze these texts and the environments in which they were produced.  The course involves intense close readings of the works selected.

 

Course Goals:  In addition to gaining in-depth knowledge of the history, culture, and society in the Dominican Republic, students will also analyze broader issues encountered by literary scholars working with contemporary works, namely the capacity and effectiveness of fiction to portray the real trauma, violence, and memory of turbulent experiences in a nation’s formation.  By combining close reading of the novels and short stories with site visits which reveal the stratification of Dominican society and the common lived experience, students will be empowered to form a critical perspective regarding the current and ongoing issues portrayed in the works.  Discussions and reflection assignments will allow the students to be conscious of the ways in which they interpret texts and build arguments, thus strengthening their intercultural literacy and communication.  Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

 

  1. Perform close readings of literary texts from Latin America in Spanish
  2. Examine questions of race, power, identity, and representation in literature
  3. Describe the lineage of Dominican fiction and its varying points of production
  4. Articulate the Dominican immigration experience, including the diasporic community abroad and the internal border with Haiti
  5. Engage with local communities to enhance the reading experience through creative work
  6. Learn how to use online technologies to publish reflections and projects required of the course in Spanish

Course Requirements and Grading: 

As this is an intensive, intersession course, students are required to prepare accordingly for the class.  This includes the reading of assigned materials before the study abroad trip, staying current with the assignments during travel, participating in discussions, and being prepared for community engagement.  The final grade will be computed as follows:

 

  1. Group Discussions and Participation on-site (30%)

Students will be expected to participate in daily and nightly discussions of the texts assigned.  We will dialogue with the fictitious representations in the books and the observations raised through the site visits and guest lectures.  In these sessions, we will develop the students’ close reading abilities while also examining issues of race, gender, identity, immigration, and economic and social exclusion.

 

  1. Reflection Blogs (35%)

Every 2 days, students will be required to write a reflection piece, discussing the day’s readings as well as analyzing the day’s travel and activities.  The student should seek to dialogue between their textual analysis and their own lived experience on the island.  This exercise should be used to develop the ideas and topics of analysis for the course’s final paper.  Additionally, the student should create reading comprehension questions for the assigned readings.  Each entry should be between 500 to 700 words in length.

 

  1. Final Paper (15%)

At the end of the trip, each student will choose a novel or collection of short stories to analyze in detail.  The student will choose a theme or topic in the work that reflects a unique element of the Dominican experience.  They will then examine and write about this topic, using examples from the texts to highlight the interplay between reality and fiction.  The paper must be 4 to 6 pages in length.  The paper should use current MLA style for citations and should be formatted using 12-point, Times New Roman font and should be double spaced.

 

  1. Storytelling Project in Restauración (20%)

      During our free trade learning experience in Restauración, students will work in groups       along with students in the local community to create a collective storytelling project.       Participants will make use of multimedia and narrative elements adopted from the     course readings to narrate the realities and culture of the Restauración community.

 

 

 

COST:  TBA + Airfare for 6 credits

Includes tuition, onsite travel, hotels, food, entrance fees, and donation fees

 

 

 

 

 

Required Readings: 

 

All required reading will be made available in English.

 

Cross-listed Readings with HIST 338 –

 

Candelario, Ginetta E. B. Black Behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity From Museums to Beauty Shops. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.

 

Fumagalli, Maria Cristina. On The Edge: Writing the Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015.

Pre-Travel Readings for LALS / SPN 430 –

 

Alvarez, Julia.  In the Time of the Butterflies.  Chapel Hill:  Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2010.

 

Vargas Llosa, Mario.  The Feast of the Goat.  New York:  Picador, 2002.

 

In-country Readings for LALS / SPN 430  –

 

Danticat, Edwidge.  The Farming of Bones.  New York:  Soho Press, 2013.

 

A bound volume of selected readings will be made available to students.  Selections from the following authors and works will be included:

Juan Bosch – Selected Short Stories

Hilma Contreras – Selections from Between Two Silences

Junot Díaz – Selections from Drown

Erika Martinez – Selections from Daring to Write:  Contemporary Narratives by Dominican Women

 

Class Participation: This is a rigorous course. Participation requires that students is active and engaged each day’s activities and with the communities where we work. Expect to spend time writing each day on your blog and reflecting on each day.

 

Access to Equipment: Each student needs to bring on the trip a laptop, a camera (perhaps your IPhone), a thumb drive as you will spend time writing and uploading your photos.  A journal will be provided for you and will be hand written.

 

 

MUTUAL RESPECT

Roger Williams University is an institution that prides itself on presenting an environment that exhibits and encourages tolerance. This class is no different. REMEMBER you will be in a different country and demonstrate respect for those who are welcoming you into their community and homes.

ACADEMIC HONESTY

Because this is a course that requires a great deal of writing, academic honesty is very important. The bar is set high in regards to academic standards. I expect academic honesty, always. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in an “F” for the course. Be wary of using Internet sources and be respectful towards your fellow students.

 

 

Places of importance we plan to visit and work:

 

Contact Hours

 

To offer a comprehensive 6-credit program over the Intersession, we require at least 225 contact hours.  In our estimation (detailed in the following pages), we will easily meet this minimum requirement.

 

Pre-trip meetings: 18 hours.  In early December, students will be required to attend one pre-trip workshop that will provide information about travel logistics, historical readings, literature discussions, and service learning training.

 

In the Dominican Republic: 225 hours. This time will consider class, discussion, and mandatory activities, guest lectures, etc.  Final exam due by January 20th after we return.

 

The Dominican Republic – Overview

 

Santo Domingo: The capital of the Dominican Republic was founded by Christopher Columbus in 1498, the site of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Santiago: The capital of the economic powerhouse Cibao province, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic houses the first television station to broadcast in color on the island, located in the same building as the Matun Hotel, the site of a violent assault during the 1965 U.S. invasion.

 

El Seybo: Founded in 1502 by Juan Esquivel, this is the longest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas.

 

Restauracion: The border village in the mountainous northern region was named for the 1882 “restoration” of independent rule from Haiti, following the defeat of the Haitian military outpost at that location.

 

 

 

 

 

Active participation in learning

This study abroad experience at Roger Williams University was the brain child of Professor Paola Prado (Communications), Professor Autumn Quezada de Tavarez (Latin American History), and Dr. Kerri Warren (Biology/Public Health). Our years of research and volunteer work both independently and with FIMRC (Foundation for the International Relief of Children http://www.fimrc.org) prompted us to create unique experiential learning experiences in a learning classroom in Restauracion, Dominican Republic.

Students alternately study history, journalism, and public health conditions in both the Dominican Republic and on the Haitian border. This study abroad experience is unlike any other study abroad at Roger Williams University rooted in service learning work and fair trade learning (modeled on Amizade’s model of shared learning http://www.amizade.org)

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more:

Professor Paola Prado pprado@rwu.edu (Communication/Journalism)

Professor Autumn Quezada de Tavarez aquezada-grant@rwu.edu (Latin American History)

Dr. Kerri Warren kwarren@rwu.edu (Biology/Public Health)