3/5/10, 2 am
I leave for Haiti this afternoon but have a woman in labor at the moment. I was lucky during the day and had no one in labor til now, so had time to do a re-pack and wrap up office details. Now my bags weigh in properly to avoid extra fees, and I feel as ready as I'll ever be. I am taking a very different load this time, "post-quake", and I guess I pack differently since I've been there before. My clothing is just about nothing but scrubs and a house dress and a dress for church. I go this time with more "equipment"-- 2 dopplers were donated, one of them brand new. Thermometers for all the students to have in their bags. Plastic baskets to organize the supply areas of the hospital that we are using in Labor and Delivery. Some precious, carefully wrapped and stashed anitbiotics, and a lot of dressings, gauze, tylenol for the hospital. Bookbags and notebooks for the kids at Flower of Hope School. Diapers, chux, onesies for moms and babies in Port au Prince.
So many generous friends and family have funded this trip to Haiti and given donations toward disaster relief and rebuilding....and what a weird mix!! ..My sisters, Loudoun Community Midwives' patients, my colleagues at the hospital,...good grief! my financial planner! The Moms Club of Ashburn-Broadlands! Finnegan's Irish Pub! Quakers, and other friends, and some people who just found my blog somehow, and cared. I am humbled that you feel this project is worthy of support, and promise that I'll try hard to make wise donations that will do some good. My thoughts of how to support the people in Haiti are very on-the-ground and direct:
Midwives for Haiti program: equipment, meds, learning/teaching/organizing supplies.
Heartline Ministries: in the middle of Port au Prince, feeding the hungry, nourising pregnant women, treating the sick, teaching women to support themselves, running a birth center.
Flower of Hope community school that my friends Theard and Manno have started in their village outside Hinche: notebooks, book bags, and money to build some walls to keep it secure.
Maison Fortune Orphanage: They believe that feeding, housing, and educating Haiti's children is how to build Haiti's future leaders. Funds will go to buy them food, clothes, books, and build another building so they can take in more kids since the quake.
It's difficult to prepare emotionally to return to Haiti after the earthquake. There is happy anticipation to see my friends there, but mixed with a deep dread. Similar to the fears one has when about to see a loved one after they've had a car accident....you love them and want to see them. But you also dread seeing them in their weakend, injured state. And Haiti is weakened and injured...I love her and want to help, if I can. It feels very big. Some friends worry about my safety in Haiti, and I do try to be very wise and careful. I don't have great concerns over my physical safety, however, I do believe this trip may be very hard on the head and the heart.
It takes me back to one of my most frequent spiritual meditations:
Courage, Clarity, Kindness.
Courage is certainly needed. Haitians are so brave and persistent, they lift me up, too. We all have to believe that our efforts will make a difference, the way can get better, that wounds can heal; that there is hope for a better day.
Clarity is really needed for this trip. The primary reason I began trips to Hinche was to help train Haitian women to be skilled birth attendants. With the great influx of refugees in the town, and a surge of new personalities and faces and even styles of practice among all the new volunteers, there is confusion and tendency toward chaos even greater than the usual level in Haiti. I pray to have a clear head to function effectively to help the students and the program succeed.
Kindness. I hope to remember to tap into kindness, despite stress, frustration, fears, angst, or disorganization. Kindness to others, and to myself.
If anything is ever to heal, it does so when we connect with kindness in, and from, the heart of God.
Next post: (hopefully) Monday, when I can get internet at the Ministry ofHealth.