Because of COVID-19 we agreed that we should no longer shake hands. However should we be “shaking” or “bumping” elbows?

With more than 23 millions of individuals infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov2) and more than 800 thousands deaths across the world as of August 24th 2020 [1], the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has established itself as the most frightening public health threats in over a century. It has been and remains a major issue for human kind. COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 [2]. The disease is transmitted from human to human by multiple means, namely, by droplets, aerosols and fomites [3]


At the beginning of the pandemic, many people were comparing it with the flu and were not taking it seriously. It is obvious now that this is completely different from the flu. There is no possible comparison in regards to the effect of the virus, its virulence, its mortality rate and its ability to make members of several communities mourn their loved ones.


A lot of emphasis have been rightly put on prevention, encouraging community members to always wash their hands, avoid touching their faces, avoid shaking hands, cover their coughs with the inside part of their elbows, practice social distancing and to always wear a face mask particularly when social distancing is difficult to do or is compromised.


Since people are encouraged not to shake hands, we have observed many individuals “shaking elbows” as a way to interact with and greet other people. People are keen to continue showing courtesy and fairness to others despite the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has been ravaging communities everywhere in the world.


Looking at people touching or bumping their elbows or “shaking elbows” as a way to greet others makes us think of infection prevention, and disease control. Health experts and epidemiologists have been encouraging people to cough or sneeze in their elbows. Since March 2020 I have seen an increasing number of individuals greeting others by “shaking their elbows” whereas their elbows are where they cough and sneeze. I am quite interested in finding out what is the risk of transmission via “elbow shaking” overall. I suspect that it might be a minimal risk but I believe this is an aspect of the pandemic that is worth exploring and investigating.  I believe that the risk would depend on whether the elbow is exposed or covered with clothes. People cough or sneeze in the internal part of their elbows and bump or “shake” the external part of the elbows. Nevertheless, there might be some level of risks in bumping or shaking elbows. Since many people are coughing and sneezing into their elbows and they usually use their elbows to greet others, I would not be surprised to see that there is some transmission of infection via the elbows.


In general, infected people spread viral particles whenever they talk, breathe, cough or sneeze [4]. Such viral particles are known to be encapsulated in globs of mucus, saliva, and water, and the fate or behavior of globs in the environment depends on the size of the globs. Bigger globs fall faster than they evaporate so that they splash down nearby in the form of droplets. Smaller globs evaporate faster in the form of aerosols, and linger in the air and drift farther away than the droplets do [5 – 6].


There has been no discernible evidence on the minimum infectious viral load for COVID_19 pandemic but many researchers speculate that a few hundred or one thousand of SARS-CoV2 would be enough to cause infection and then disease among susceptible hosts. A single cough releases about 3,000 droplets and droplets travel at approximately 50 miles per hour. A sneeze releases about 30,000 droplets with droplets traveling at up to 200 miles per hour. If a person is infected, the droplets in a single cough or sneeze may contain as many as 200,000,000 (two hundred millions) virus particles, which can be all dispersed into the environment around them [7].


When we cough or sneeze in our elbows, millions to billions of viral particles might find themselves in our elbows. What is the risk of transmitting those viral particles to others when we “shake elbows” with them? Obviously, that is an important point that deserves to be understood. Before we can fully understand the risk of infection associated with “elbow shaking” I think that it would be wise to encourage the public not to shake elbow, particularly when they use their elbows to cover their coughs and sneezes. It is important to emphasize that everyone should take the necessary steps to limit physical interactions with others while we are in the midst of this serious pandemic and the health experts are still looking into figuring out the SARS CoV-2.



  1. World Health Organization (WHO), 2020. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Dashboard. , Accessed date: August 23, 2020.
  2. Chen, C.; Zhao, B. 2020. Makeshift hospitals for COVID-19 patients: where healthcare workers and patients need sufficient ventilation for more protection. J. Hosp. Infect.
  3. Wang, J.; Du, G. 2020. COVID-19 may transmit through aerosol. Ir. J. Med. Sci. 1-2.
  4. Jayaweera, M.; Perera, H.; Gunawardana, B.; Manatunge, J. 2020. Transmission of COVID-19 virus by droplets and aerosols: A critical review on the unresolved dichotomy. Environmental Research 188 (2020) 109819.
  5. Grayson, S.A; Griffiths, P.S; Perez, M.K; Piedimonte, G. 2016. Detection of airborne respiratory syncytial virus in a pediatric acute care clinic. Pediatr. Pulmonol. 52, 684-688.
  6. Liu, L.; Wei, J.; Li, Y.; Ooi, A. 2016. Evaporation and dispersion of respiratory droplets from coughing. Indoor Air 27, 179-190.
  7. Bromage, E.S. 2020. Coronavirus: The Risks – Know Them Avoid Them. , Accessed date: August 17, 2020


A sweet, gentle, honest, tender and nice soul is gone. COVID-19 hits home very hard.

For the last three or four months our world has been facing unprecedented challenges. We have been significantly changing the way we live and interact with each other. We will certainly have to keep those changes that recently happened in our habits, behaviors and lives if we want to seriously address this pandemic.

It is very unfortunate that some people have chosen to talk about all kind of conspiracy theories to try to minimize the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Some folks are even attacking Dr. Fauci from all possible fronts. I can understand why they are attacking him. He, so far, has done an amazing job to counter-balance the craziness, lies, confusion and to some extent stupidity that is coming from the White House. Therefore he doesn’t sound like those crazy loyal White House staffs or officials who are willing to do everything to protect the president even at the expense of the general public.

Since the beginning of the pandemic we have been told all kind of lies:” ohhh it’s like the flu”, “it’s going to go away very soon”, “we will pass from 15 cases to 0 cases in a matter of days”, “coronavirus is a hoax”, “just another witch hunt”, yadi yadi, yada, yada. Those completely irresponsible statements were verbalized, tweeted, and boosted by the mainstream media minutes after minutes, day after day. It is really a shame to see how partisanship is playing a central role in the way we address a serious public health threat which is killing hundreds of amazing human beings everyday. Is that the best we can do? Really?

I am not a conspiracy theorist. I, actually, pay very little attention to what people have to say about the subject. I know, as humans, we never want to accept and deal with the predicaments that happen in our lives. It is just human nature. No matter what we are going through, we tend to feel better when we are told, or when we know that what we are experiencing is because of someone else who did something wrong, someone else who does not like us, or someone else who is the devil. Even if COVID-19 were the product of a conspiracy, one thing is factual, very clear and undoubtedly true: there have been more than 2 millions people infected world wide and about 165,000 who have passed away. If someone can prove to me that those numbers are fake, then I ‘ll decide to sit around and listen to those conspiracy theorists. I know that the number of deaths are real, and as a Medical Doctor and Public Health Specialist, my role and mission is to do whatever I can to care, protect and preserve human lives. I have always been paying attention to what is happening in my environment, I have always talked about what I like and what I dislike. I think that in respect to the COVID-19 pandemic I will be doing my best to be more vocal because there are a lot of people who are talking and providing misinformation and disinformation to the general public and to me that is really irresponsible and to some extent criminal. When someone say that COVID-19 is not an issue, it is an hoax, or just another way that a certain political party is trying to undermine another, I think that this whole situation is becoming extremely dangerous. I say so because we all know that there are family members who have been crying to the death of their loved ones who were not taking COVID-19 seriously enough because in the mainstream media and even the president of the USA told them not to take it seriously and everything is under control.

I think that being more vocal is the easy, straightforward, normal and understandable next step to take because COVID-19 has claimed the life of one of the nicest, more gentle, more tender and genuine human beings that I have known. COVID-19 has hit home. It’s one thing to be looking everyday at the number of cases and number of deaths and see how they are changing minutes by minutes, but it’s a completely different scenario when the numbers that you are looking at stop being statistics and become real life experience when your loved ones or people that you have known and valued for many years in your life are the ones reflected in the numbers. Yesterday was a terrible day for me. I received two bad news in about two hours. First at around 7:30 AM I received a text message from a friend who informed me that one of our former classmates in med-school in Haiti, who has been living in New York for a couple of years has passed away due to COVID-19. He was so young, only 43 years old. He was diabetic. Then, about two hours after I was informed that another former classmate from the same class and very good friend of mine, someone that I consider as a brother, was in the hospital (unrelated to COVID-19) with a blood clot in his brain. I was literally asking why, why, why and why? Why so much bad news for me in such a short period of time?

My friend who died of COVID-19 didn’t have to die. No one who died had to die. I don’t think that everyone understands the seriousness of the times that we are currently living. My former classmate, colleague and friend passed away in a hospital in New York all by himself. His family members could not even be with him. There might not even be funerals because of the constraints of the times we are living. Someone told me that the hospital might even refuse to give the body to the family. I am wondering if it’s a dream or nightmare that we are facing those times. My friend who is currently at the hospital is also all by himself. Even his wife could not be there with him. Where are we heading in this world with those new realities. We all should make an effort to take more seriously COVID-19. Regardless of where it came from, it is infecting and killing thousands of people and it is our duty and responsibility to care for everybody infected and affected by coronavirus.

I was watching on television some people protesting yesterday to force some governors to open their states. While I understand that many people are suffering financially, they are losing their homes, cars and other materials assets, I don’t think that we should let those material assets and to some extent literal greed blind us and lead us to make the wrong decisions. Until now not many tests have been done (just about 3 millions of tests were done for a population of about 330 millions inhabitants in the midst of pandemic whose infectious agent is extremely contagious and somehow quite virulent), out of all the people infected very few have been declared recovered. If we look at the numbers world wide, the mortality rate is about 6%. Out of those diagnosed only 25% recovered. What about the remaining 75%? We know that about 6% of them died, but where are the rest. Where are they? There is so little that we know about severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV2) [the virus that causes COVID-19] until now. Do the people who recover has immunity against the coronavirus now? Can they get re-infected? By refusing to take this very seriously are we setting ourselves up for a second wave of infections that can potentially be disastrous?

My former classmate, colleague, and friend is already gone. There is nothing that I can do about it. However I know that I can talk and act to try to convince as many people as possible to be more responsible and serious in the way that they approach and address the pandemic. If we are going to open everything is New York for instance, are we ready to manage the subway system appropriately? Usually in the train cars there are way too many people and there is absolutely no room to even breath. Are we really serious. That’s the way we want to move forward? What is the plan to re-open? What is the plan to prevent what happened to my colleague from happening again, and again. Until we can adequately answer those questions, I think we should just simply and humbly remain in lockdown because we know that the lockdown has prevented thousands, let alone, millions of infections. Let’s stop the greed so that we can save more lives.

In The Fight Against COVID-19, The Stay At Home Orders Do Not Apply To All of US.

We are currently living unprecedented times. If we are lucky enough to survive this scourge, many years or even decades from now we will be able to talk about those immemorial times to our grand-children, perhaps great grand-children and explained to them how we survive the scourge with stay-at-home order, shelter-in-place order, social distancing and all those other terms that are now part of our lexicon. For the majority of us, not a day passes by without referring to at least one of those terms. Our lives will have been for ever changed in a significant major way. We will be obliged to leave in 2019 all those habits or gestures that are believed to promote the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Besides handshake that I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been thinking of how in Europe people enthusiastically kiss each other on the cheeks when they meet. Sometimes Italians or French people get lost in the number of kisses that they should give each other ( is it one kiss, two or three?). Myself, I usually get lost in the number of kisses when visiting family members in Europe: when I think it’s just a kiss, they would say oh no, one more or even two more.

In order to considerably limit the spread of COVID-19, in many parts of the world the governments have been very firm and strict on preventing people from being in the streets if they are not essential workers. Depending on where you are living, the orders have been enforced with various degree of rigour. That observation in itself can explain to some extent the difference that we see in the data coming from various countries, cities, and counties reporting on the pandemic.

While in several parts of the world, many are respecting the stay-at-home orders and others have the responsibility to enforce these orders, we need to recognize and acknowledge the fact that for some of us the stay-at-home orders do not apply. In the midst of the complete chaos caused by COVID-19, there is an homeless population that is fervently and ardently fighting to stay away from the virus, stay alive, and stay warm. For those individuals, the home is a sidewalk or a space under a bridge. They are way less likely to get access to healthcare services if they were to be infected with the coronavirus.

In the USA, in New York particularly there is approximately 70,000 homeless people (including children). While there are some shelters trying their best to serve this population, every night there are about 5,000 to 6,000 people who sleep literally in the streets. At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York many shelters that were serving the homeless population closed their doors because there were a couple of cases diagnosed in those shelters. Therefore, there is now a higher number of homeless people sleeping in the cold, on the sidewalks or under the bridges every night. The stay-at-home order definitely do not apply to those amazing human beings. Besides the shelters being closed which cause more homeless to be in the streets, there is also the fact that in the USA 70% to 80% of people are just one of two paychecks away from being homeless. The economy has been hit severely by COVID-19, millions of people have lost their jobs, they don’t have any savings, and are forced to get to the streets. The stay-at-home orders do not apply to those folks either.

In my work implementing harm reduction programs in New York to serve people who use drugs, and those who are involved in sex work, I have come across some really interesting, very smart, and compassionate human beings who just happened to be homeless. Despite everything that is going on in their lives, despite all the negativity that constantly surrounds them, they always find the strength to put a great, beautiful smile on their faces if a provider is kind enough to make a nice joke.

I find it mind-boggling that in a state as rich as New York, in a country as wealthy as USA there are that many people without a place to call home. I find it despicable that in a nation considered the wealthiest in the history of the world there is such a high proportion of workers who are literally just one or two paychecks away from being homeless. Those are major issues that should be talked about more and more and ultimately addressed. I do not understand how many folks can be proud to talk about how strong the economy was before COVID-19 whereas those major issues have been around for too long. How do you define strong economy when there are so many that cannot even satisfy their basic needs. Those without a place to call home are not less human than the rest of us. They deserve quality healthcare services like anyone else so that they can tested and treated for COVID-19. Any plan being discussed on re-opening should include them. What are the steps that will be taken to re-open the shelters that are closed. On a larger scale, what is the plan to address the housing crisis that the “wealthiest” nation in history is currently facing. As states will be re-opening one major component of the public health approach to continue combating COVID-19 will be contact tracing in order to identify all the people that someone who is tested positive for coronavirus might have been in contact with. However, the conundrum is: how do you contact trace homeless people who, in the majority of the cases do not even have a phone whey they can be reached.

It is clear that the stay-at-home orders do not apply to the homeless people, nevertheless any plans to apply the lessons that will have been learnt through this overall situation should apply to them. Quality healthcare services apply to them. Having a place to call home is such an important determinant of health. To my knowledge, health is still a human right. Right?

Social Media, Social Network In the Era of Social Distancing: What Does The Future Hold?

We are currently living some new days, some new moments with their share of difficulties and challenges. No matter who you are, no matter where you live, you cannot deny this statement. Because of the novel coronavirus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome [SARS] CoV2) that has been causing a pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) across the globe, our ways of life are changing significantly and perhaps definitely.

The very first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in China, in a 55 year old patient who apparently got infected in the Hubei province back in November 2019. That is about one month before the first case in Wuhan was identified in late December 2019. Since then, there have a lot happening and changing almost at the speed of light. It is thought that the virus originates from bats and was transmitted to humans in the many wet markets in China. Regardless of where the infection was initiated and how it is transmitted from bats to humans, the facts are: now there are close to two (2) millions of people who tested positive for the coronavirus world wide and about 127,000 deaths. The United States of America (USA) remains the country most affected by the pandemic with over 600,000 people who tested positive, and over 25,000 deaths. The projections for potential number of people who will be infected and the number of deaths are terrifying. A significant part of the world is in lockdown. The economic systems in the richest countries of the world are crashing. There are fears of economic recession, and even economic depression.

Unfortunately at the beginning of the pandemic, in many parts of the world the situation was not taken seriously. Many influential public personalities minimized initially the seriousness of the pandemic and because of that many people are paying the price with their lives or the lives of their loved one who passed away already or who are in the process of passing away. It is a very scary, sad, mind-boggling, frustrating and depressing that our world is currently living.

So far, the 1918 influenza pandemic is considered as the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with avian (relating to birds) origin. Despite the fact that there is no universal consensus on where the virus originated, it is well recognized that this H1N1 virus spread in 1918-1919 like wild fire world wide. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population, at that time, became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. The mortality rate was high in people younger than 5 years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older. The high mortality rate in healthy people, particularly those in the 20-40 year age group, was one of the key aspect of the pandemic. Until today the properties that made the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic so devastating are not completely well understood. With no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly. Those are non-pharmaceutical interventions that are also promoted and enforced nowadays as an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and promote health for the well-being of the communities. Even if some people are complaining because such measures are crashing the world economy, I believe that it’s the way to go. The more people who die of COVID-19, the less people will be available to help make the world economy recover. It is really important that public health trumps economic wealth. When the economy is strong, the people make it strong. Without people we cannot have a strong economy. Also, in the majority parts of the world, the economy has always been in limbo. Many people had already been suffering with all kind of inequity and social injustice, that now they are not afraid of the consequences that COVID-19 can bring in their lives because somehow they believe that they have already seen all kind of predicament that the world had to offer. Nevertheless, it is crucial that public health officials continue educating community members and continue identifying the positive cases by implementing massive testing activities. The treatment of COVID-19 is still not clear. There are some anecdotal stories about the success of hydroxy-chloroquine combined with azithromycin and zinc, but there is still no convincing evidence supporting the effectiveness of those drugs in treating the diseaes. Nevertheless, if we don’t have anything reliably established and we hear of stories of what is potentially working, we should definitely not hesitate to give what is believed to be working a try. Hopefully those medications will help us save as many lives as possible.

There is something that has been intriguing me. I have been thinking of what possibly those non-pharmaceutical interventions looked like back 100 years ago. I have been curious to know what social distancing looked like in 1919. How did people survive remaining in quarantine or in lockdown? What kind of activities that they did in their homes to kill time? How did they engage with their loved ones that were leaving under the same roof as them and how they engage with other kins who were living hundreds or even thousands of miles away? Today we have social media, which started only back in 1997 with “Six Degrees” as the first recognizable social media site. Since then we have had some notable social media site or platforms such as “MySpace”, “Hi5″, ” Facebook”, “Twitter”, “Instagram”, “Whatsapp”, etc. No matter how scary is the current situation that we are living, we have found ways to remain connected with our loved ones, to work from home while being in constant contact with co-workers and customers, and to even have shows and other activities on TV that are presented like there is absolutely no lockdown. All that is due to the magic of the new technology of information. Today even if we are practicing social distancing, we do remain connected via social networks, social media. In the era of tiring, and depressing social distancing, social media give some senses to our lives. There are online classes where pupils and students continue learning everyday. There are shows streaming live online. There are even some concerts organized for online public. There are Netflix and Youtube TV who are getting more and more people subscribing and using their services and watch as many shows as possible. We are finding more and more creative ways to stay in touch with each other. At household level, social distancing is, in some cases, reinforcing the bonds between parents and kids and couples but in other cases there have been alarming reports of domestic violence. We can easily understand that while social distancing is to some extend enhancing bonds between family members, in order cases there might be an escalation in the number of divorces cases once the lockdown is over. Definitely in a couple of months from now (approximately nine months) there will be a considerable number of new babies in the world.

Should we start getting ready for another baby boom after all this time that the couples of the world will have spent in lockdown? we probably should. It will take time before businesses, schools, work, etc can reopen the way they were before the pandemic. We want to be very prudent and demonstrate great care or foresight in the way that we will reopen the communities that were literally shutdown to prevent a significantly dangerous level of spread of coronavirus. We certainly do not want a second wave of infections that would be due to the fact that the non-pharmaceutical intervention that are being implemented now will be completely forgotten in a couple of weeks from now. No matter when we reopen our communities, I strongly believe that the lessons that we are still learning from this COVID pandemic will stay with us forever. This pandemic will certainly force us to change the way we greet people, the way that we interact with them, the way that we serve them. Handshake might be on its way to becoming gesture of the past. Online school or classes might progressively establish themselves as a more reliable and more promising new market. Live online shows, and live online concert might be a tremendous part of the future. In conclusion, I have to say that we don’t know for sure, with certainty, what the future hold for our world but we know that across the globe there will be some damaging effects of the pandemic and people’s life will forever change. In the era of social distancing, social media might help us redefine the way we live.

Exactly 365 days: I still cannot believe that my dad is gone

Today marks exactly one year since I received at 4:20 AM that phone call from my brother Max Benito Bazile, informing me that he had to rush our dad to the hospital in Haiti. I remember asking him lots of questions to which he had no answers. Ultimately I ask him to please keep me updated on the evolution of the situation. Less than 30 minutes after I heard the phone ringing again while I was trying to fall asleep. I quickly grab the phone and saw that it was my brother calling again. At this point I told myself that it has to be a bad news. In about 30 minutes there is no way for my dad condition to be so much improved that my brother would call to share the good news. When I picked up the call, Benito just told me: ” Junior, be strong”. I, then, asked him, ” what do you mean, Benito”. He said, “once I say that you should understand what happened”. I asked him, ” do you mean my dad is dead”. He said yes.

I couldn’t continue the conversation. I was so upset and in complete disbelief that I had to hang up. I couldn’t even share the news with other members of the family. Linda had to do so. I spent the whole day in bed with my mind jumping from topics or ideas to ideas. It was a very very bad day. I lost other family members (uncles, cousins) before, but my dad’s death was a wake up call for me, I soon started realizing how painful the loss of a loved one can be. I started asking myself questions like: “Am I never going to see him again for real?”

My relationship with my dad was a unique one. Growing up in Haiti, he was very firm and straightforward with me. He would discipline me in the way that he knew so well how to do it. I really hated those type of disciplinary measures. However with time, I came to understand that despite how hard he would discipline me, he truly loved me with all his heart. He truly loved all his children with all his being. He did the best that he could for all of us. Overall, he did very well.

He certainly died of a heart attack. The cause of death was never clearly elaborated. I had a lengthy conversation with one of the doctors that was treating him when I went to Haiti for the funerals. The healthcare system in my beloved Haiti is and has always been in limbo. Now with the latest protests and riots, the situation is getting even worse.

I would give anything to see my dad’s smile again. I would give anything to hear his unique way of laughing again (my sister Johane and my brother Stanley used to make so much fun of the way that dad laughed). Like in all other Haitian families, in my family we are not used to a lot of verbal expression of love, but I know that my dad loved me very much and I know that he knew that I loved him very much. I am doing way better now with my own kids to ensure that with both actions and verbal expression they can know and rest assured that I deeply love them.

I strongly believe that my dad is in peace in heaven. I cannot wait to see him again. I love you dad. Please rest in peace, until we meet again.

Music with Medical Connection

On August 3rd 2019 I was in Orlando, Florida playing some good music with Medical Connection. It is the band that we created at the School of Medicine in Haiti. We were then a group of med-students with musical talents who were always trying to find some times to grab an instrument and play.

The last time we played at the School of Medicine was in 1999. Twenty (20) years after, on August 3rd 2019 we decided to get together and perform in the occasion of the Jacques Arthur Durosier Class reunion. It was a wonderful and amazing experience. I traveled to Orlando with my family and we all had a great time. It was good to see so many familiar faces that I haven’t seen in many years. It was particularly ecstatic to be in rehearsal sessions and to be performing live again with all the musicians of Medical Connection. We all ended up being satisfied of our performance and the public in general showed us a lot of appreciation.

We are now in the process of planning some more activities within the band to ensure that we can keep the musical spirit alive. We want to continue staying connected with one another and find ways to continue performing couple of times per year. So to all my fans, to all the fans of good music and all the fans of Medical Connection, I want to say: Please stay tuned. There is a lot more to come.

Nine years after the earthquake in Haiti

Today, January 12, 2019, marks exactly 9 years since a devastating earthquake hit my homeland, my beloved Haiti. About 300,000 lives were lost on that day, and the following ones. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was all the way in Eastern Africa, more particularly in Burundi providing health care services to my fellow Africans. It was around 7:00 AM and one of my co-workers, who was reading her email on her laptop while we were drinking some coffee before heading to the clinic, told me: “Bazile, did you hear what happened in Haiti”. I said “no”, “what happened”. She then said “I am reading an article on yahoo here and they said that there was an earthquake in Haiti. Your family is still in Haiti? Right?” I said ” yes, of course, my family is in Haiti”. There is a 7 hour time difference between Burundi and Haiti. The earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, the Capital of Haiti, at 4:53 PM and it was 11:53 PM in Burundi. At that time I was already sleeping and probably snoring in my bed. It is very unlikely that I would have known that my country was hit by an earthquake the following morning at 7:00 AM considering the fact that at the residence where we were living the internet connection was so weak that I never get connected there .

Once I got the news, I automatically switched gear and grabbed my laptop to connect to skype ( the main way that I stayed in touch with my family during my tenure in Burundi) to try to reach out to my family. I called everybody in my immediate family and I couldn’t reach anyone. Nevertheless, I kept trying. I started sending emails hoping that someone would reply to let me know that everyone is ok. Since the internet connection was way stronger at the clinic than at the residence where we were living, I then rushed to the clinic and explained to the staff that I had to take a couple of minutes or hours to try to find out where is my family in Haiti because I was informed that my country was hit by an earthquake.

Immediately after I went to one of the consultation rooms where the internet connection is very good and reliable and I kept trying all means to find some news from Haiti. I tried calling former classmates, friends of my family, people from my extended family, basically everyone that I know of and for whom I had a contact information. There was no way for me to get news from Haiti on that January 12, 2010. All communication was shut down in my country.

I spent almost two weeks without any news from my family. Towards the end of the first week after the earthquake, I started losing hope that my family could have survived this monstrous earthquake. On the eighth day after the earthquake, I reached out to a cousin in Canada to ask him if he heard anything about my family. He told me that two days before he had a conversation with a friend who lives in New York who told him the region where my family lives in Haiti was completed devastated. My cousin, then, told me: ” Junior I don’t think that there is any hope to find someone alive there”. I couldn’t help it. I, then, started to cry. I finally told him that I will have to call him back because I couldn’t continue with the conversation. I hang up, left the clinic where I was working and went home. Once home, I kept crying and couldn’t accept the idea that I was not going to see my family anymore. It was a very dreadful situation. There was a plethora of ideas running in all different directions in my mind. I was not ready to start grieving. I could not grieve. I couldn’t accept to grieve.

During this whole period of waiting for some good news, I barely ate. Some nights I would sleep in one consultation room in the clinic where the internet connection is strong so that I can stay online, using skype, Facebook, Call2, in order to get news from my family. The time difference made it very hard for me. I would spend several sleepless nights and the following day I would be unproductive and sleepy at the clinic. However I kept my head high, and kept working while I was constantly praying. I was praying for my family but also for everyone else in the country. I couldn’t believe that what I was watching online was actually happening in my beloved Haiti.

Since we were only two physicians in the clinic, I had already discussed with the other physician that I’ll have to travel to Haiti and find out where my family is. I used music a lot to help me stay calm and control my energy. I was playing music a lot during that period and I even wrote a song about the earthquake in my country that is featured on my first album, Sansibilizazyon, published toward the end of 2014.

Exactly three days after the disturbing phone call with my cousin, my phone rang at around 8:30 AM. It was a Saturday and I was still lying in bed. I picked up the call and said “hello”, and then I heard a voice that sounds familiar. I quickly jumped off the bed and found myself stuttering to ask “who is this”, while my mind was telling me that the person on the other side of the line sounds like my Dad. Then I said “Dad, is that you?” There were some glitches on the line and the communication was not that clear ( while in Burundi, usually I would call my family on skype for better communication. For some reasons whenever they called me there would always be problems with the communication). I continued by insisting, “Dad, is that you?”. And I heard, “yes, yes, yes my son it’s me your Dad”. ” I know that by now, you are extremely anxious and worried, I am calling to let you know that we are all fine. God has spared us his grace, love and compassion and thanks to Him we have survived ‘goudougoudou’ “. (goudougoudou is the funny name that my fellow country men had given to the earthquake. It is an expression of the noise made by something that is shaking or something that is being shaken. After the earthquake, people started saying that wowww!!! this is crazy, the earth was shaking, making a noise like goudougoudou. That’s how the earthquake got named goudougoudou). My Dad then, continued ” God is the master of the universe. He does whatever He wants, whenever He wants and however He wants. That His will be done. My son, as I told you we are all fine, the house is fine, please, please don’t worry too much about us. Where you are now, miles away, there is nothing that you can do for us, and we don’t want you to be worrying. We are fine and we will remain fine”. I said ” Dad, are you sure that everyone is fine? Dad how can everyone be fine when I was told that our neighborhood was completed devastated by the earthquake? Dad, please don’t lie to me. You can tell me everything. I am ready to accept any kind of news that you have for me this morning”. He quickly interjected ” no son, I told you and you must believe me: we are all fine. I would not lie to you regarding this”. I told him “ok”. He told me ” I have to go, because I don’t have anymore minutes left on the phone card that I purchased to call you”. I said ok and asked him to say hi to everyone for me.

Until that point in my life, that day was the best day ever. After the phone conversation with my Dad I bursted out of my room and went to share the good news with my co-workers who were living in the same residence as me. They were so happy for me and my family. They were very supportive during the whole period. They were praying for me and my family. I really appreciated the support that I received from my Burundian brothers and sisters. One week after the phone conversation with my dad, I went to Haiti to see for myself what the situation was. I was blatantly shocked by what I saw. The Capital, Port-au-Prince, was completely destroyed by the earthquake. So many families were dismantled. The government was so weak, powerless, inefficient, blindsided and clueless that the whole situation became laughable. People were saying that the, then, President, late President Rene Preval suddenly became mute and dumb. People were saying this because in the midst of the whole chaotic situation that the country was facing the President never made a speech to try at least to comfort people and show them that there were still government officials in the country who cared about them and who were planning to bring them the help that they desperately needed.

However, I was extremely happy to see that my Dad was not lying to me when he said that everyone in the family was ok and the house was ok. Even if we were living and sleeping in the streets, because we were so afraid of the aftershocks, thinking that the house might fall upon us, it was great to be surrounded by my loved ones after this ghastly, grim and hideous life experience.

Nine years after the earthquake, the socio-economic situation in Haiti is still extremely fragile. Not much has changed. We have had several outbreaks and epidemics of cholera since then. More than $13 Billions of aid were given to my country, but I frankly cannot see what was done with that money. I am asking myself what was done with that money? Who was managing it? Who were involved in the “projects” that were supposed to be implemented with that money? For a very long time politicians, government officials have always taken advantage of the naivete of my fellow country men and women. For a very long time the “International Community” has played Haiti, has played us and has thought that Haitians are stupid because what the “International Community” gives to Haiti in the right hand they get it back in the left hand. When they say aid, they also say consultants, they also say international consultants, they also say expatriates, they also say it has to be their own agendas. So the money apparently is given to us in form of aid but it goes back to them somehow because they are the ones who are responsible to manage the projects on the ground in the country, since they are the consultants. Wait!!! Really!!! I would like to know where specifically has all that money gone. Can someone tell me? I need this question answered.

Today, January 12, 2019 reminds me a lot of the feelings that I was experiencing on January 12, 2010. Today also reminds me of this magnificent day when for the first time after the earthquake I heard someone telling me that my family was ok. That someone was my Dad. Unfortunately my Dad is no longer with me on this earth. I suddenly lost him on November 4th, 2018. It has been and it still is a very difficult pill to swallow for me, but I guess that I have to accept that he’s no longer here physically with me, with us. If I could talk to him now, I would tell him, one more time, ( I told him that several times in the past) how excited, happy and joyful I was when I heard his voice when he called me few days after the earthquake. I would, one more time, thank him for that phone call.

Music is life

Have you ever taken the time to think of all the power that music has in your life. Have you ever asked yourself how would your life be without music? How would your workout sessions be without music? How would you go through good and bad times in your life without music?


Music is always with us. It gives wings to the soul. It makes us cry of joy and of sadness. Music is the only thing when it hits you, you feel no pain.

Keep enjoying music everyday of your life and stay blessed.

December 1st: World AIDS Day

Every year across the world on December 1st we celebrate World AIDS Day as a way to remember those who lost their lives because of complications of HIV/AIDS, to also remember the task that HIV/AIDS put in our hands. A lot has been done but a lot more is yet to be done to contain this scourge. Millions of people continue dying of HIV/AIDS every year. Millions of people are current on antiretroviral therapy, but millions more are eligible to get the medications but they still do not have access to them.

I believe that in our world, in our lifetime there are enough resources for every human being to live a decent life and to have access to quality healthcare services. HIV/AIDS has significantly raised the rate of orphans in Africa and many other places in the world. In Haiti, my beloved country, the picture is the same as elsewhere in the sites where HIV/AIDS has considerably increased the number of orphans.

In February 2004, I lost a cousin to HIV/AIDS (stage IV) and cervical cancer. That was extremely devastating as at that time I was working in Boucan Carre, Haiti as a Medical Doctor and despite the knowledge that I have, despite the drugs were available I couldn’t save the life of my cousin. She died slowly while I was watching quietly. I felt useless and completely incapable of saving her.

You can click on the following link to watch the youtube video of the song “Sida pote Jiji ale” that I wrote for my cousin who died of HIV in 2004:

Junior Bazile performances in Lilongwe and Blantyre, Malawi

To all my fans in Malawi and Southern Africa,

I want to inform you that I will be performing at Grittahs Camp which is located close to Chidzanja Road in area CCDC in Lilongwe on Thursday October 27 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

I will also be performing at Chez Maky Restaurant which is located at Kabula Hill in Blantyre on Friday October 28 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM

I look forward to seeing you all in these shows because as you know my performances are always about giving wings to the soul, promoting health and make your time at the show the best time ever.

So join us in those venues.