Never in my wildest nightmares could I imagine what I was about to encounter when I stepped off the plane in Haiti. Always on my bucket list to participate in a medical mission trip, I never anticipated the sheer devastation and extreme poverty present in earthquake struck Haiti. A year and a half later and still most without shelter, clothing, food, running water or medical care.
Arriving at the Cabaret Children’s Home was heartbreaking and gratifying all at the same time! The children wait for our arrival and greet us with open arms each yearning for love and attention. They yearn to be picked up and held close. No toys, no TV, no video games – only each other! One look into the eyes of some of the children and you feel the pain they have endured. Others seem so happy with so little.Certainly don’t think about washing your hands under running water, walking into an air conditioned building , going to the water fountain for water or using the toilet. The basic necessities that we all take for granted are a HOT commodity in Haiti – shelter, food, clothing, water, schooling and basic medical care. Most live among the earthquake rubble in tents with limited clothing and food. Water comes from a contaminated creek. Schooling is for the wealthy – there is no public school access. If you want to go to school – you pay for it! Access to medical care is limited.
The three medical clinic days were filled with sadness, tears and elation! From treating those with infection, malnutrition, and rash to providing reading glasses to those who can’t see. People waited in line for hours just to have a few minutes with a doctor! Four surgeries performed including separating fused fingers into working fingers and clipping a child’s tongue who couldn’t speak.
Nothing will ever compare to my experience in Haiti. The images play over and over in my mind. The faces of the children when you hand them a piece of gum, a lollipop or a rubber bouncy ball , the face of a mother after surgery of her child who now will be able to speak, the lady who danced after she received reading glasses, the faces of the nanny and children at the orphanage during prayer circle, Nutella nights, the tap-tap, soccer practice, throwing rocks off the top of the mountain, the fan as my hair dryer, little Leo’s smiling face and Bonnie and Mike, our wonderful hosts.
The trip would not be the same without Guiga who organizes and directs everything. From the moment we arrived everything went like clockwork…well almost!!! Aside from keeping me in stitches most of the time, Guiga is an amazing giving person with a huge heart. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to my team and the interpreters who made my experience better than I ever expected.
Thank you “People For Haiti for an experience of a lifetime!”
I will be back. I wish it was sooner but I am set to return in May 2012!