I’m halfway to Port au Prince on my 4th trip to Haiti, and they did not serve any food on the plane from Dulles. Now, this is no surprise, but I did get into Miami airport SOOO hungry, as I got up at 0330 and on the plane at 6am, and at 9am my stomach was rumbling “Now! Feed me NOW!” So I barely paused in front of the first restaurant “serving breakfast” sign, and got a seat. Then, part way into the most awful breakfast—cold scrambled eggs! Mushy toast! Nasty old coffee!— I realized…this is what I get for eating American breakfast at a Sushi restaurant. I did not STOP and THINK!
So, teetering on the brink of my 4th Haitian adventure as a volunteer with Midwives for Haiti, I’m reminded pause and reflect. I ask myself what the heck I am doing, and why. What do I hope for? What do I fear? The “pat” answer is that I love my work as a volunteer with Midwives for Haiti- we train Haitian women to be midwives, expand health care I Haiti-we save and improve lives of many Haitian women-create jobs-etc. But, really… “why” is worth exploring…after all, this is a “vacation” week! While I do enjoy incredible mountain scenery and mild, sunshiny weather, it does come with a lot of dust, goat stew and sweat. As I contemplate, I know that I do this very much for myself, for as the work does good, it also feeds me in so many ways. Mostly with hope.
I have fears too--- at one year after the earthquake, there is barely a government in place in Haiti, riots are always a possibility, and cholera’s a reality too. There’s the heartbreak of witnessing 2 centuries of grinding poverty. My real fears, however, are of futility, frustrated efforts, wasted energy. It takes so much to get to Haiti that the moments are precious and the goals are high for each trip. Yet, today, I feel happy and hopeful. I hope to hold & hug my 9-month old god-daughter, born last March, just after I left. I hope to deliver 40 bucket-and-chlorine water systems to the village in Naran. A lot of good people donated funds to make that happen, so I’ve got a mission and the wheels are in motion. I hope to help Nadene Brunk start the fourth class of Midwives for Haiti. 16 women are starting a year of training that will make a difference in their lives and their communities! This is the biggest and probably (-hopefully!)- best organized class yet. I hope to buy some more Haitian artwork with special requests from several friends for specific items. Creating commerce in Haiti, of any kind, helps families survive. I really hope to see the Pink Jeep get released from customs and make it’s way to our headquarters in Hinche, to begin serving our mobile prenatal clinic service. I hope to enjoy time with folks who have become dear friends- Nadene, Reina, and other American volunteers, and the Xavieran brothers at Masion Fortune orphanage, the McHouls in Port au Prince…and our great M4H staff Theard, Manno, Berry, and their families. I feel a little like Santa, as I do have a couple large bags, and they do have presents. I hope to spread joy and share hope in a place where, sometimes, those are scarce. But really, they give me back more than I’ve ever put in. Despite a disappointing breakfast….it’s a spiritual feast. Let’s go!