Although she remained quiet throughout the boat ride, Crizel said she was enjoying herself when asked. She
vomited a small amount once. When it was her turn to drive she sat up straight, grasped the wheel with
both hands, and even did a pretty decent job with a nice light touch to her steering. Pictures taken
from the Rainbow Warrior show her eyes wide open and a half smile spread across her face.
Since Nerissa was aboard the Rainbow Warrior, I stayed in the inflatable for the three more boat rides
we gave to different groups of kids. When I returned to the ship about 1650, Crizel was asleep in my
bunk, her mother was in the cabin giving an interview and a volunteer was watching over Crizel. I was
assured that everything was fine and no one needed anything. At 1705 I was summoned to my cabin and
found both Nerissa and Crizel's mother in tears and on their way out. Nerissa stopped to tell me that
Crizel was gone and that they were taking her home. One newspaper reported that medical personnel aboard
the ship had tried to resuscitate her, but it would surprise me if Nerissa did that. Crizel's time had
come and her suffering was finally over.
I don't know if the skipped transfusion, exertion of the drive to the ship, and excitement of being aboard
used up the last of Crizel's scanty reserves and hastened her death by a few days. Alternatively, it's possible
that she would have departed sooner if she didn't have the Rainbow Warrior to look forward to. I choose to believe
the latter. People now far away chose to leave a toxic stew where Crizel would later be born. Crizel didn't choose
to be sick. She didn't choose to die young, but how she lived, until the very end, was what she wanted. She blessed
all of us by inviting us into her world on her last day. I'm glad we accepted the invitation.
The medical professional in me and the imperative to document everything got me to sit down at this computer.
However, as I started typing I found that cold clinical facts wouldn't come by themselves. So, I guess this has
become as much a eulogy as a medical report. I hope I've done justice to both aims. I suppose I'll pass this on
to some Greenpeace folks, some shipmates, a few other friends, and possibly Crizel's mother. If I'm lucky, those
reading it will understand how honored I feel to have known Crizel for the short time that I did.
I'm told that the United States left the bases in a huff after the Philippine government decided not to renew
their contracts. This is no excuse for leaving so much poison behind, but even if it was, the point has certainly
been made. Kids are dying now. I'm a citizen of the United States. It has given me an education, a rewarding career,
and decent food, shelter, clothing and health care for my entire life. I can't describe how angry and ashamed I am
that these benefits came, in part, as a result of the harm we've done to Crizel and countless children like her.
The only way I can finish this inadequate essay is to commit myself to doing everything I can to get America, a
country with so much wealth while the Philippines has so little, to take responsibility for it's past and finally
clean up the bases, and to never repeat this horror again.
Lawrence Butch Turk, R.N.
Written February 27, 2000
?Lawrence Turk, 2000