I would like to take a moment to celebrate the life of someone very near to me. My Aunt Leslie lost her battle with cancer two mornings ago. My family and I are grieving the loss of a truly beautiful soul. My heart is completely with my uncle Mitch, in remembrance of her spirit.
This post is about remembering some of the profound experiences that I’ve had here in Haiti.
I remember. . .
My first few days down here shortly after the quake – full of adrenaline and willing to help … The eye’s of the triage patients we helped, the compassion for each other and their courage to persevere … The murky sunsets and the smell of burning trash … The first batch of water filters I gave out – to a pastor named Evans Louis … The first church service I saw in the tent camp below our base, people united, singing and embracing each other.
The devastation I felt when I saw my first fatality as a result of the quake … The roads all blocked by rubble, and knowing that rubble was once somebody’s home … All the brave volunteers I’ve encountered – moms, brothers, wives, rich, poor, etc … The first night it rained, thinking about all the displaced families in their makeshift tents.
Seeing the first baby that was born in our J/PHRO hospital … Giving my first demonstration of our clean water system in a little school in Saint Marc – bright eyed children in the front row … My first trip down to Jacmel, seeing the rich & beautiful landscape that Haiti has to offer … Tending to a girl with a broken pelvis, getting her transported to the hospital, then watching an elderly woman pass 5 min later.
Meeting Fritz, Sylla, Paula, Jean Paul and all the other great people that have helped us to get our filters out … Feeding formula to a malnourished infant at one of our mobile medical clinics – seeing life return to his eyes … Driving along side the airport runway, watching all the aid planes cued up to land – feeling hope in that.
Having my first ice cold Prestige beer – and my first nip of whiskey after a hard day … Looking up at the stars from inside my tent, while laying in a pool of my own sweat … Driving away from a tent camp that we gave filters to – and passing another one along the same road that I couldn’t help … Pouring my first batch of green-colored pond water through a filter in the field – drinking it – and having it work!
Feeling proud of the opportunity to do this work – and being part of a REAL solution.
Lastly, the realization that no decision is insignificant – every choice helps create a new thread in our evolution . . .
Aunt Leslie, you are with us always…