Tuesday, July 10, 2012

{Review} Tears for the Mountain by Chris Rakunas

ISBN #: 978-0984293063
Page Count: 186
Copyright: January 14, 2012
Publisher: Divertir Publishing LLC

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

On Tuesday, January 12th 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook the island nation of Haiti. The United States Agency for International Development estimated the death toll to be somewhere between 46,000 and 85,000 people, with 220,000 injured and over 1.5 million homeless. Many organizations, both from the U.S. and abroad, responded to the appeal for humanitarian aid. Dr. Stephen Schroering and Chris Rakunas went to Haiti to deliver over 21,000 pounds of medical and surgical supplies to the New Life Children's Home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and several other hospitals.

In Tears for the Mountain, Chris recounts his mission to deliver these supplies to the earthquake-ravaged island nation. Chris discusses both the triumphs and heartbreaks of the trip, the problems with distributing aid in a nation lacking the most basic infrastructure, and his unexpected encounter with a notorious Haitian warlord.

A portion of the proceeds for this book will be donated to the New Life Children's Home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Kathy's Review:

This is a first-hand account of hospital administrator Chris Rakunas' experience in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, offering medical support at an orphanage. It details the conditions, the chaos and the wonder of the human spirit amidst such a tragedy. Though he was only there for a couple of days, he was able to witness first-hand just how ravaged this nation really is.

The suffering goes beyond the damage from the earthquake - the people of Haiti have long suffered at the hands of their government. Entire villages are starving to death, with no help in sight. Stories of how their former leader sacrificed and burned Haitian citizens in order to instill fear and cooperation are horrifying beyond imagination.

The stark contrast between American society and comforts and the conditions found in Haiti made me feel thankful and a little bit ashamed of how easy we have it. We have access to food, shelter, electricity, medical care, and we feel safe in our homes and neighborhoods (for the most part). None of that exists in Haiti. A simple walk down the street can turn into confrontation. People are desperate and starving and are in survival mode.

The author disdainfully describes a Hollywood film crew that tagged along with them to film the conditions in Haiti and how inconsiderate they were, more concerned with getting the film footage than with the humanity before them. Almost like it's not real to them.

The formatting of the ebook is pretty messy - there are bad page breaks and it looks like the footer has gotten interspersed in the middle of the pages - but after a while I just started to ignore them. The story is engrossing enough that it's easy to look past it.

One last note: proceeds from this book will go to the orphanage in Haiti where Rakunas and his colleagues stayed. A good cause and a very interesting read - I encourage you to read this and learn about a country not too far away from ours, but it may as well be in a different world.

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