Baseball in The Time of Cholera [UPDATED]

Posted: July 13, 2012 in health and medicine
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

If you only have time time to watch a few moments of this 28-minute documentary, please do so. How can such a thing occur, literally in the shadow of a developed country?

Here is the brief summary from the site:

Baseball in The Time of Cholera is a powerful insight into the tragedy and scandal of Haiti’s Cholera epidemic through the eyes of a young baseball player. Watch the film, share it with your network and visit to sign the petition. Together we can end this crisis! Tweet this: Change the world. Watch, retweet, sign — tell @UN to own up to @cholera in #Haiti #undeny

Summary of the video if you do not have time to watch

When we watch tragdy in the news, particularly describing natural disasters, we hear of large numbers of peope affected. We must bear in mind that each number has a name. This is the story of one extraordinary life of a young man named Joseph. It is also the story of an environmental scandal that could have been avoided.

The cholera outbreak in Haiti came suddenly following the earthquake, and tens of thousands at risk moved into tent cities without access to clean drinking water.

Joseph explains, “My name is Joseph Alvens. I am from Haiti. I think I will catch the ball but I don’t catch the ball.” Joseph smiles. “But if I catch the ball I make two people out. But sorry.” He smiles again.

The team of boys play baseball as if it is any other day, when any other boys across the world enjoy a game of pick-up baseball in a dusty field.

Joseph says, “I love my life. In the afternoon I play baseball. In the morning I go to school in Port-o-Prince.”

Joseph shows us where he lives, “after the earthquake because our house fell down.” The picture shows a small clapboard shack on a dusty street.

We meet Joseph’s family. He says, “This is my father, and this is my little sister Cindy and this is my sister Lovely, and this is my brother Pascale. And this is my sister Gelda. And this is my mom. She makes beautiful jewelry to support our family.”

Joseph shows us the makeshift kitchen, the bathroom, which is nothing more than a stool, and his bedroom, with a collection of baseball mementos, his favorite being a trophy from Toronto.

In chalk, on one of the walls, Joseph wrote “I love my life,” because, he says, “I love my life!”

On the wall is also a public health notice explaining what to do to prevent cholera, inccluding the instructions to wash hands and food, and to “put poo-poo in the toilet.” Joseph explains that it is often very hot and there are many mosquitos. “A lot of mosquitos,” he explains. “Eleven people live in this house with me.”

Joseph shows and explains where they get their water, from buckets to carry home.

Cholera is ravaging the country, and at first people did not realize what was happening. Unlike HIV, for example, cholera is a virulent bacterial diarrheal and dehydrating disease that can kill within a matter of hours.

The Haiti cholera outbreak is a cholera outbreak that began in mid October 2010 in the rural Artibonite Department of Haiti,[2] about 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of the capital, Port-au-Prince, killing 4672 people by March 2011[3] and hospitalising thousands more.[4]

The outbreak followed a powerful earthquake which devastated the country on 12 January 2010.
By March 2011, some 4,672 people have died and 252,640 cases had been reported.[5] By the first 10 weeks of the epidemic, cholera spread to all of Haiti’s 10 departments or provinces.[6] In November 2010, the first cases of cholera were reported in the Dominican Republic and a single case in Florida, United States; in January 2011 a few cases were reported in Venezuela. As of 20 Jun 2012, some 7,398 deaths have been reported.[7] Neighboring Dominican Republic has reported 399 cholera deaths as well by May 4, 2012.[8] The epidemic has come back strongly in 2012 rainy season, despite a delayed vaccine drive. In late June 2012, Cuba confirmed 3 deaths and 53 cases of cholera in Manzanillo.[9]


Cause and symptoms from CDC. Please read link for more information. Basically, cholera is associated with inadequate sanitation and lack of clean water.

What are the Symptoms of Cholera?
Cholera infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe. Approximately one in 20 (5%) infected persons will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

From World Health Organizarion, read more for more detail:

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Every year, there are an estimated 3–5 million cholera cases and 100 000–120 000 deaths due to cholera. The short incubation period of two hours to five days, enhances the potentially explosive pattern of outbreaks.

Cholera is an extremely virulent disease. It affects both children and adults and can kill within hours.

Joseph continues: “We built this baseball field. We are the first ltttle league in Haiti, and we get better every day. That’s Jeff. That’s Bouki. That’s Japhney. Japhney says, ” Baseball, I love baseball.”

“Sometimes baseball is hard,”says Joseph. “But we love it. We play in the sun, and we play in the rain.”…

He adds, “One day I want to play baseball in the major league.”

Al Jazeera reporters on scene explain that Nepalize soldiers brought the outbreak to the area. The reporters foound toilets just a few meters away from water sources. On behalf of cholera-stricken people, a lawsuit was filed against the United Nations.There were riots, because the Haitian people could not understand why ‘peacekeepers’ brought such a deadly affliction to their earthquake-ravaged island.

When the earthquake hit Japan, the kids in Haiti made bracelets to try to help raise money for help because they felt empathy for the Japanese victims.

When Joseph was seen on TV, he was invited to Toronto to see the Toronto Blue Jays. He says, “It’s different from Haiti. No earthquakes, no riots, no cholera.” Joseph got to throw the first pitch.

He missed his mom, but he got to call her on the phone, and tell her he missed her. “Say hi to dad and all the kids,” he said. “Are you okay?”

Three weeks after his return to Haiti, Joseph’s mother fell ill to cholera. There was no car to take her to a hospital, so they took her on a motorcycle to the hospital.

“And then…” was all Joseph was able to say through the tears.

Here is the direct link:

according to vimeo, this film was uplaoded on day ago.

Three more links, hat tip wendydavis:

This piece
is about the politicization of Cholera in Cuba. Sigh. Most coverage is hyperbolic.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s