Well, as the title explains... I'm heading back to Haiti for the Christmas season! After prayers, arguments/discussions with the madre, thinking lots, and finally gathering support from friends and family for this trip, it was clear to me that this trip was going to happen.
5 days!!! Or is it 4? I leave in 4 days, but I will not get in to Haiti until the morning, so 5 days. Just leaving is exciting enough for me; to know that I am "on my way" and making some progress to get there.
Thoughts are swarming through my head about what the trip will be like. It will be my first time flying there on my own!!! I keep envisioning myself with my huge suitcases swatting away the friendly Haitians who want to help me with me bags ( for a nice tip of course). Then I look into the sea of black faces, frantically searching for Rigan, and I spot him right away and he comes and helps me with my bags and we leave the airport. Let's hope it goes this way. I will most likely be the only white person at the airport that day. If I'm lucky, there will be a 60-something year old white guy with greying hair, who is clearly on one trip of many. That's the profile of the other white people I see. Oh yeah, and maybe an Amish person. I've seen a few of them at the airports over the trips.
So what's this trip about? What do I hope to accomplish? What will I actually DO while I'm there? I try to think through these questions so I can give really good answers to people when they ask me, but sometimes I just don't know how to answer. I really don't know how to explain the concept that NOTHING ever goes as planned in Haiti. "Plans" do not carry the same meaning as they do in the United States. And things are always crazy there, so it makes it close to impossible to plan! But here's what I've come up with
This is my attempt to describe what this trip is about..
Relationships. Building and growing in my relationships with the Haitians. Spending time with each of the kids at the orphanage. Learning the little quirks about each little rascal there. Getting to know the students at the nursing school better, as it is my ultimate goal to open a non-profit in partnership with them in the future.
Serving the orphanage and the community with my nursing skills. The goal is to go door-to-door around the community, visiting the families and seeing those who need medical care. Then with some of the money I have raised and saved on my own, I can provide interventions for them- whether it's food, meds, or a pair of shoes to protect their feet. Also serving within the orphanage. A goal is to at least START the kids on getting tested for HIV and Tuberculosis while I'm there. Also, to set up a plan for their immunizations. We also started medical records for each of the kids. With the addition of a new baby, David, to the orphanage who is serverely malnourished and handicapped, I will need to update some of these records on a weekly basis. Another goal is to hire a Haitian nurse for the orphanage and to establish that nurse's role within the orphanage. We will use a former nursing student from FSIL nursing school.
Learning : Learning more about Haitian culture, taking Creole lessons, learning more about healthcare and how to care for the conditions commonly seen in Haiti. I hope to follow my friend Sheila or Shirley into the hospital to work with patients and give help there. Also to learn from Jasmine ( mother at the orphanage) about how to run something like an orphanage in Haiti. The behind- the -scenes work that I haven't yet understood. Learn about adoption policies in Haiti, the education system, and programs available for HIV/AIDS/Tuberculosis patients.
So that's what I've got so far! Check in for more updates throughout my trip. I'll be there from Dec 18-Jan 5, staying in Leogane, Haiti at the orphanage. I hope to find good internet and update this every 3 or 4 days.
Thanks to everyone who was a part of making this trip possible! :) I can't wait to be there.