I’m not sure how much you all want to hear about my trip to Haiti. Much of it is really horrific medical details that I’m sure you don’t want running around in your heads, and much of it is deep work that I haven’t processed very well yet. But I’d like to share a bit about why I went to Haiti, how I got there, and what I saw.
I’ve been praying for Haiti specifically for a few years. Five years ago I read Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains about Paul Farmer and Partners in Health’s work there, and since there, Haiti has been on my heart. (I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it.) A few years ago, Amanda Soule organized a drive for baby hats to send to a Haitian partnership to provide perinatal care, and our family participated in that. Each disaster that has struck there reverberated in my heart, even though saying it that way sounds melodramatic.
In November, as the cholera epidemic picked up speed, I felt such a burden for Haiti. Here was a crisis that my specific skills– speaking French, being a doctor– could actually address… and yet I had no idea how to get there. Sam came home on Dec 2 after hearing a talk on global health at the university and said, “They need French speaking doctors in Haiti. Do you want to go?”
YES! But I had no idea how to get there.
December 3, I went to a Christmas concert with my friend Pam. She and I worked together at a community health center in Chicago, and now we’re both here in the Denver area. I asked her if there was any chance she wanted to go to Haiti, and she said, “Are you serious? I have the week before Christmas off, and I was thinking I should go that week.”
At intermission, we started sending emails to everyone we know with connections in Haiti.
Saturday, I went to the boys’ swim meet. I mentioned my compulsion to go to Haiti to my friend Erin (her daughter swims with my boys), and she said, “Really? My mom left today for Port-au-Prince to do cholera relief work.” All of a sudden I had a phone number.
Sam found me an online application, which Pam and I filled out, and we started to pray specifically: God, please send us to Haiti from Dec 18-24 with _________. It’s been a long time since I’ve been compelled to pray this specifically about anything. Two days later, I they accepted my application, and on Dec 10, I had plane tickets.
Everything fell into place like it was meant to be. I had chills every time I thought about it. I was able to get my typhoid vaccinations and start my malaria prophylaxis on time before I left. My clinic was able to accomodate my sudden absence. People stepped up to care for my kids, even though the week before Christmas is a with travel and complicated lives.
And then the day before we left, we had a plumbing disaster (water coming down through our living room ceiling). It’s always water for Sam & me. A leaking shower was the final confirmation– an attack of the enemy, if you will– that confirmed that God was working in this trip. I left Sam for a week right before Christmas with a hole in the ceiling and one non-functional shower.