Charlotte Observer's Ordonez tells of his time in Haiti
The Charlotte Observer's Franco Ordonez returned late last week after four days of reporting in Haiti. He says when an email came from a Matthews physician, Dr. William Connor, who was planning a trip to help, he jumped at the chance to tag along. Ordonez: It was like almost immediate. What a great opportunity to possibly document one North Carolina man's efforts to go to Haiti and help out a country that he actually had connections with. He had been there three previous times, as a medical student and then later as a resident. Graf: Frank, of all the stories that you reported, is there one that kind of stands out? Ordonez: Yeah, absolutely, you know, it was on the last day that I was there and I was covering Dr. Conner as he was changing the bandages on one man, Esteme - his leg, which was extremely...badly broken, dealing with some major infections, possibly going to have to be removed, and as he is changing the bandages - please note that there is not that many narcotics there to kind of soothe the pain - he was in a lot of pain, moaning, and as Dr. Conner is changing the bandages and as Esteme is moaning and reeling in pain, all of a sudden behind me I start to hear singing - and this woman, Linda Pierre, starts belting out this song in French Creole. It was a religious song, and as Esteme started to moan louder, she sang louder, and soon, within seconds, it was like the whole room was starting to sing, and they sang for two or three minutes as Dr. Conncr continued his work. It was really a profound moment. Graf: Will this change you? Ordonez: Yeah I think certainly. I think, my wife had told me before I went that she thought this was going to be a life-changing experience for me and I kind of shrugged...I didn't totally shrug it off. I thought, you know, this will definitely shape me but I'm not sure it is going to change my life. But, certainly, this is an experience that there is no way that I'm going to forget. I'm going to remember this for a long, long time and I'm going to pay attention more, be a lot more observant of what's happening in Haiti and how this effort continues. I made sure that before I left I purchased a little trinket - a little wooden sculpture of Haitian art that I'm going to keep...that we're going to keep in our house and this is something that is going to be a long-lasting thing that I'll remember forever. Graf: Franco Ordonez is a reporter with the Charlotte Observer. Franco, thanks for joining us today. Ordonez: Hey, thank you so much for your interest.