“My People For Haiti story is somewhat unique. After my Dental School’s missioun trip to Jamaica was cancelled, I found out about this trip less than a day before the team was supposed to leave, at about 2pm. The next morning at 10 am, I was on a plane to Haiti with 6 strangers. I cannot explain how happy I am I made this decision. It sounds like a cliche but this is a trip that will change your life. And you may think, “I love my life, I help people everyday, I am very caring…I dont want a change.” That is a little how I felt, and after everything that I’ve heard about mission trips, this was so different than I would have imagined. First off, there is no feeling like you will feel when you see the smile of a face that has been in a struggle for most of their life. To see a smile on a face after helping someone that has no other means to help themselves on such as basic issue as physical health. Second, after living in America for a lifetime, a year, a month, a week, even a day….you get accustomed to the structure we have, the freedoms we have, the lives we live, and what we regard as ‘normal.’ This trip to Haiti made me realize that what I consider normal is only normal for me and those I know and is so different from what the rest of the world considers normal. It almost makes me feel that that life I life has so many aspects that are down right silly! Some things that strike me most are materialism, thankfulness and joy.
These people literally have nothing, it’s so sad. They dont look for a certain name brand of shoes, they don’t look for a certain size of shoes, they dont look for a certain color of shoes….they simply look for shoes…and they are so happy to have them, even if they have been used for years before. Its not just shoes, it’s everything. They don’t have toys but they invent games to have fun. One day on the mountain we played a game where we threw up a big rock and everyone tried to strike the big rock with another smaller rock once it was thrown, it was some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time!. These people are happy! Singing, dancing, smiling…and TRULY, TRULY, TRULY thankful. So these are the two most important lessons I learned on the trip. 1. Nothing feels as good as helping some one that really needs it. 2. Americans buy so many things for ‘status’ and yet we often aren’t thankful/happy/joyful. We should share our wealth and learn to be thankful for things that matter, like family, friends, health, not things. This trip was amazing, contact People For Haiti and make the decision to go! Maybe I’ll see you on my next trip to Haiti :)”
BY KEVIN MCCAFFREY
What a culture shock! We Americans have so much on the outside, but are lacking on the inside. The Haitians have nothing on the outside (and I mean nothing), but have big hearts. I was in Haiti in 1990 and life was different then. Today after the earthquake these people have nothing but the clothes on their backs and some have shoes (manydon’t). The needs are still MASSIVE even though it’s not a popular news story anymore. Many still smile their big white smiles, but mainly the children. I think the adults have had so many disasters (natural and otherwise) in their lifetime, they are tired. They need our help.
I wish every American could go to Haiti to “feel” the poverty, misery, and powerlessness of these unfortunate people. It could be you or me born into this culture. Most cannot afford (if there are any available) to see doctors, dentists, eye doctors, let alone any type of counselling since the earthquake. These professionals are few and the people do not have any money.
As a registered nurse, I saw needs of all kinds: infections, tooth abscesses, broken bones, malaria, fevers, diarrhea, headaches, abuse, scabies and so much more. Imagine not being able to go to your medicine cabinet to get a Tylenol or any type of medicine/relief? We are so abundantly fortunate. It was a blessing to travel with People For Haiti and Dr. Leo and to give out about 120 pounds of medicine to these poor people. Oh, they so appreciated this favor. They so needed this help.
Our tons of medicine and seeing over 500 people was only a drop in the bucket (and the bucket has a possible hole in it). But I believe in this:
I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
What I can do, I ought to do.
What I ought to do, I will do, by the Grace of God.
I hope whoever reads this can believe the same and if you cannot volunteer your time to participate in an upcoming trip, then PLEASE donate financially. I can vouch that People For Haiti use every cent of the monies received to buy medicine for the Haitians. Many Americans cannot even fathom having an infection and not being able to obtain an antibiotic. You can help and make a difference, so I beg of you please do.
Love always means sacrifice. Gratefully yours,
Carol Knapik, RN, BSN, OCN