Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Haiti Chronicles: Conflicting Anticipation

Why go to Haiti?

The woman asking me this stands with me at a ticket counter in the Miami Airport.  She scrunches her nose as she asks. Like she's smelling something bad.

Well, I'm not sure why I am going to Haiti. So I say simply,  "I'm  a volunteer, at a medical clinic."

 "Oh," she snarls, as if what I've said is distasteful. Her nose is still scrunched. "Relief ... You are a relief worker. It's not my idea of a vacation." 

She walks away and I think about her words. No. This is not a vacation. But what is it? I am going to Haiti for one week with a small nonprofit called Stone by Stone that supports a medical clinic and school in Desab, a remote village about seven miles straight up a  mountainside. I have no idea what I will be doing. No idea how I can help. I have no special skills. I am not a doctor or nurse, a construction worker or a teacher.

I'm just me. A retired newspaper editor.

I get my boarding pass and join a busy waiting room where blocks of colorful T-shirts create a comfort quilt.  The T-shirted people huddle together, yet separately. There's an orange group, a yellow one, then green and blue.  Through casual conversations I learn:

The largest group is the orange one: Juniper Community Missions, a church-planting group  from outside Harrisburg, PA, heading to Leone, Haiti. I count about 12 of them.

The yellow group is BeLikeBrit.org, which built an orphanage in Grand Goave, Haiti. (The birth of this non-profit is heartbreaking.) I see, maybe, nine?

The green shirts are from Children's-Hope out of Montgomery, AL, which runs an orphanage in Jacmel.

The smallest are the blue shirts, a husband and wife, first timers with Mission for Haiti, also heading to Jacmel.

 They are as perplexed as I about their purpose. "We don't know what we will be doing. All we know is we have a heart for people and we want to help."


Thank you, Blue

Now I know why I am going to Haiti.

NEXT: Ascending from Port au Prince


Judy Berman said...

Beautiful! I'm wishing you all the best.

Judy Berman said...

Blessings to you, Nancy.