My life has changed so much in the past few months…. just when you think you are where you always hoped to be…. something happens…and turns your life upside down!
Less than two years ago I was feeling somewhat empty… like I was not sure what was my personal purpose in life…. and then, Haiti happened.
I’m not sure I can make you understand how much this has changed my life. People keep thanking me for the work PFH is doing, that I am making a difference in people’s lives… but it is hard for them to understand, that I am the LUCKY one… I am the one that has changed the most….
Life has a totally different meaning… maybe because I am finally turning the big 40 this year, or maybe because I guess I’ve seen the worst of the worse. Human beings without the basics for a decent life… without the things we take for granted…like water.
Sometimes I feel this is a fight against a wall… but then I open my Facebook and get messages from my Haitian friends, just wanting to say “hi” and thanking PFH for what we do…. and really… we will never stop!
I am overwhelmed by how much PFH has grown… not in a million years, would I have guessed this would happen…. it is incredible to see how many family members PFH has… and to see how much this experience has changed their lives…. to get to know 12 people (sometime strangers) come together in an experience like this… makes you see their true colors…. to think of how many wonderful people I got to know…. how many smiles I got to see… how many tears I got to dry…. after all… we are all in the same boat!
The July trip, like every other trip, was very unique! For the first time, Leo and I were able to go together… to experience this together… to live our dream together… and it was awesome… Watching the little kids understand that we were husband and wife was so funny… Keles took a few minutes to put 2 and 2 together….LOL
For the first time, our bags did not make it… Leo, Jon and Freddy stayed with Herby and Stanley waiting for the next flight… 13 out of 14 bags made it… but the one that did not come, was the one with the kids’ gifts….. and my personal clothes….I wasn’t upset because of my clothes (after all, everyone in the team very quickly offered me everything I needed – thanks guys!), but I was upset for not having the gifts that were bought for them …. but God is good… and like a miracle… the bag was found the last day…and the gifts were distributed and lots os smiles emerged!!! What a feeling!
We did not have any major medical emergencies this time… but for sure, it was the most physically challenging trip. Up and down the mountains MANY times, to make sure everyone had water… walking hours in the middle of the woods to bring WATER… we did this for one day…. and it was one of the hardest things I had to do… now imagine doing this EVERY DAY?? Imagine having to do this journey daily, to provide your family with a basic survival element…. imagine doing this and realizing that, a lot of times, you are not going to being able to get it!
I can stay here for hours TRYING to make you understand what is going on with all my feelings… trying to make sense of this hurricane of feelings inside me…. but it is impossible. Unless you experience it… you won’t understand!
In this trip, for the first time, we had a clinic in a place three hours away from the orphanage… I was not told EXACTLY where it was… and how long it would take to get there…. all the sudden, we were in a bus, with 55 people (28 nursing students from the nursing school where two of our translators go came to observe PFH), and being escorted by two armed military guards….. driving in places that I was unaware existed…
I thought I’ve seen the worse of Haiti… until that day! When I realized we were driving inside Cirque Solet – considered the most dangerous city in the Wester Hemisphere, a slum with more than one million human beings… It was scary, but it opened our eyes…. the team members were speechless…. it was a long and quiet drive…. how can people live in those condition???
In the end, it was another successful trip…. almost 1000 patients got medical care… I got to experience, after we were all done and inventory was checked, the walk to the mountain cliff next to the orphanage, a walk the kids look forward to do every time Dr. Leo goes to Haiti… walking in the middle of the village, in the middle of trash… up the hill, with dozens of kids running, barefoot… but happy… with big smiles on their faces…
At the top… Dr. Leo played the “throwing rock” game…. watching their excitement, it was like our kids here playing video games….. something so simple like throwing rocks is good enough for them…..Some people are happy with so little…. and here I am… wanting more and more…. I guess I still have so much to learn…..
Each team member were fantastic in their own way. The doctors were unbelievable… always with smiles on their faces…. the pharmacy and triage staff…. what a team!
Thanks to all of you guys who help make my dream come true!!! I hope to continue to enjoy this experience with you all….
Life changes, people comes in and out our lives… but what stays with you is what really counts…. and sometimes, “a little smile” is all they need… and I will always be there to give it to them!!