From a reader, retired from the Air Force:
I had the pleasure of spending 3 month in Haiti courtesy of President Clinton in 1994. The country is a basket case. If ever there was an argument that wealth has beneficial impacts on the environment, and poverty devastating effects, it is Haiti. I saw NO wild birds in 3 months, only feral chickens. There were a few dogs rooting in US trash, but they were mostly shouldered aside by the Haitians themselves. Cosmo would hate it, no squirrels either. The hillsides were mostly deforested, so when Tropical Storm Gorden came by, an entire pie shaped part of Port Au Prince was washed to sea in a mudslide – estimated casualties 2000, but nobody really knew because there was no reliable census.
For disease and vermin, the place was crawling pretty much everything nasty. An Army troop of my acquaintance was bit by a brown recluse spider on the exposed appendage in the port a john – something I would not wish on even Al Sharpton. I also saw the tarantulas that the entomologists had caught, about the size of a good size dinner plate. Given time, I am sure that some of them had desires to play Shelob.
We were mostly free of the stomach issues since MRE’s are immune to bacteria in the way they are immune to taste. This changed once we had Brown and Root (Oh my gosh Halliburton worked for the Clinton Administration too?) started preparing real and quite tasty food. Suffice it to say that a 100 yard sprint to the port a john is not fun, when around 7000 other folks have some form of stomach distress.
Astonishingly, despite the AIDS infection rate of over 2/3 for prostitutes, when the Bangladesh battalion showed up to do their part, their first request upon hitting the ground, was asking for permission to set up the unit brothels.