Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Dear Haiti - I miss you

Dear Haiti,

You've been on my mind all day. Including some pretty intense flashbacks that made me want to sit down and cry. The first trigger was getting an email this morning saying that our operation in Haiti has closed up shop. They have determined that it is too dangerous and unsafe to continue building a much needed hospital for you. Knowing how very badly you needed a new, up to date, functioning hospital this just breaks my heart. As my fellow volunteer Claire said, "I wasn't ready for that closure." I've been waiting almost a year for "closure" with you. And I was so badly hoping it would be a hospital. I'm sorry we failed you Haiti. I wish we could do so much more.

The second trigger was a funny one. A happy one in many respects. I was helping my cousin renovate her basement, and I had to fill a hole with concrete. Just hearing the word concrete makes me think "2 parts sand, 1 part gravel, 1 part water." And then, "who can I make carry the heavy parts for me?" Mixing concrete and Haiti will forever be intertwined in my mind.
Sitting on the floor of my cousin's house, working manual labor for the first time in a very long time, it just all reminded me of Haiti. How much I miss you. How hard the work was, how hard we worked, and yet we never seemed to finish. There was just so much to do. On one hand, I never want to have to work that hard ever again. And yet, on the other hand, it is all I want to do. All I want to do is work until I am exhausted and can barely move, if it means making a life changing difference for someone else.
Photo taken by Justin Lyon at www.amelialyon.com
There are still nights where I allow myself to sit in the dark and relive an entire memory. Sometimes it is holding a patient's hand in a hospital. Sometimes it is watching the children play soccer in the field while we built the outdoor kitchen at the orphanage. Last night I dreamed about sitting on that scary a** school bus with "Chu" driving, and bouncing up and down those roads. There was a hardware store we passed a dozen times in Croix de Bouquets, but we never went in it. (I don't think it was ever open.) I can still remember the vivid colors, the paintings outside, and the beautiful tropical flowers hanging from the pots. It was one of the few beautiful and intact buildings I saw. I vividly dreamed about that crazy building. I still remember the total fear I felt when Brad passed out on me. (It's been a year, can I admit it was Brad now?) I remember feeling the little earthquake that last night we slept on the roof at the orphanage. Holy Hannah that scared the crap out of me. I remember so many details vividly that it still hurts sometimes.

And yet, there are huge details I've forgotten. I look at my pictures and I forget the names of the men in them. I thought I'd never forget them. I've forgotten big things, and yet can remember tiny details about others. The Super Bowl- that I remember clearly. Especially that overwhelming feeling of pride and love I felt for the soldiers standing around me as the Star Spangled Banner was played on the "tv." I cried like a baby, and wanted to hug each of those men. Not many Americans will ever know what it feels like first-hand to be protected up close and personal by our own military.

In this picture, I'm actually in the back of an Army transport, taking the picture. The US Army was moving the mob back so that we could get out of our truck and get inside the hospital. 
Oh Haiti. I want to do so much more for you. I wish I had a job just so I could send you more money. I send you what I can, as often as I can. If I could find a program that would send me back down there, I'd be there in a heart beat. Get well, Haiti. Get better. We're here for you and want to help.



  1. That was lovely and amazing. I want to help too. With February fast approaching, I am missing making fortune cookies that I sold for Haiti last year and I want to do something again...but what?

  2. Do it again! There's so many wonderful groups out there that still need funds!! Now that Gift Haiti is no more, I highly recommend Sustain Haiti!!

  3. Anonymous12:59 AM

    I very much enjoyed your entry. I fell in love with Haiti too, and I hate that I won't be able to go back for a while. We had a group that was supposed to go down in December, but we also deemed it too dangerous. What kind of project did you guys have set up down there?

  4. You make me cry.
    For Haiti and for you. I know how much that place touched your heart. (I envy that a bit... what if I had gone?)

  5. This entry warms my heart. Thanks for sharing it.


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