Saturday, September 18, 2010
Eights days until my return to Haiti. I look forward to seeing Port au Prince again, and also traveling into the mountains to Leogone (the epicenter of the earthquake). I don't know what to expect, so I have no expectations. I know things will not be very different from what I encountered before. Our final team includes two students, one other nursing instructor, a photographer, and myself. We are small but mighty. We will be delivering medical supplies to our hosts (Heart to Heart International), and cloth diapers and cloth sanitary napkins to a courier who will take them to Maisson de Naissance, a birthing center several hours outside of Port au Prince. We also will bring gifts of clothing to an orphanage. If I raise enough funds, I will also take a refurbished laptop to my former interpreter, Kicki, to use as he grows his cyber cafe business. The outpouring of support for this trip has been phenomenal. A group of ladies in central Missouri has hand sewn all the sanitary napkins for us (Thank you Womb Room). The Phi Beta Kappa of Brown Mackie held a fundraiser all of July and purchased 300 cloth diapers for us to donate. We held a big fundraiser party with drummers and dancers and donated Haitian food (thanks Women of the Drum, Lon Lane's Inspired Occasions, and Josie's Sweet Treats) and raised $500. Between our fundraiser events and our individual donation solicitations, we have raised over $4,000 for this trip. We have also made wonderful new friends. Joseph and Glory Idalbert are Haitian Americans who run a local nonprofit to assist their fellow Haitians with adjustment to American life. They offer language classes and job training. We reached out to their organization, Glory House Services, and found our local link to the Haitian community of Kansas City. Joseph and Glory accepted a donation of 3 large crates of infant and children's clothing that we could not carry into Haiti due to the limits of what we could carry. We hope folks will be content to know that even though their donations didn't make it to Haiti, they will benefit Haitians. I also met Captain Jose Belardo of the Public Service Corps. I visited with him before my March trip to Haiti and now he will make a presentation to our group to prepare us for the diseases we will see and how to treat them. It has been an amazing ride, preparing for this trip. I didn't know we would impact so many- and we haven't even left yet. I was asked to prepare a presentation for a meeting of college presidents of all the Brown Mackie Colleges around the country. I made a plea for service learning to be incorporated into all the nursing curriculums. We are planning a joint party with Glory House Services when we return to share our experience and everything we learned. Never could I have imagined that a single thought I had while in Haiti back in March (to bring my nursing students back to Haiti with me) would yield such a response. If you want to keep up with the trip as it happens, visit our website where we post daily at http://www.operationhaiti.webs.com/ It is a fitting present on my 48th birthday today, to reflect back on what has transpired over the past seven months to make this trip happen. I just love to see vision made manifest.