When I first was told that I would be going to Haiti, I expected to be going with the November team. Accordingly, I expected that I would not have to worry about shots, clothing, or food until late summer/ early fall. However, three days before the April trip, I was asked to move my trip up and be ready in two days. This completely changed my perspective of what I planned for myself, but it was not something I could turn down. As the next couple of days flew by, along with a couple of plane rides, it took me a while to actually realize that I was going to Haiti. I was nervous if what to expect and how I react to the reality of the stories that I had heard.
After picking up the luggage and heading out of Port-au-Prince, I was quickly faced with the chaos of the streets. I was excited because I knew that these would be the people we would be helping. Once we got to the orphanage we were quickly surrounded by smiling kids just waiting for hugs and attention. This blew my expectations, since it seemed as if these kids had very little material possessions. Throughout the next couple of days, it was the kids who completely proved to me it’s who you have in your life not what you have is important.The who is also a very big part in my experience. As being the youngest on this mission trip, I was expecting that it would take some time to connect with the people who were on this mission with me. I was wrong. Every single person quickly became friends and even faster family. There is no way that my experience would have been complete with out them. We all shared all different types of experiences: from the good to the sad to funny to the peaceful. I value each memory with these people.
Lastly and most likely the only expectation that was truly fulfilled, was realizing my true calling in life. I am in the process of applying to nursing schools and I had hoped that this experience would only solidify everything that I had been working towards. After seeing all 1124 patients pass through the pharmacy and being able to sit in on two of the seven surgeries, I know that I truly have a calling to help others in a medical setting. As I left the second surgery, I couldn’t help but smile since I had realized where I belong.
Overall this was a “once in a life time experience” and I hope I am blessed to return to Haiti soon and see all of my family, especially the kids who want nothing but to sit on your lap and be held. My expectations and point of view has been completely changed and life should not be seen from just one perspective. As I sat in church this Easter weekend, I only though about he kids and what faith means to them. They surround themselves in their faith and this allows them to have comfort in their lives. I have been blessed to learn from the people of Haiti and to be part of People for Haiti.
I cannot thank again my family who have supported my decision and this opportunity to grow. I just hope that I can extend some of the lessons I learned to others in my daily life.