Haiti: In the Thick of Things

It is 95 degrees and unbearably humid.  I am sweating straight through my scrubs.  Sweat is beading on all of our foreheads, and Matt and I are halfway through an inguinal hernia repair when the power goes out.  Good thing the surgeon chose to operate in a room with a window.  The surgery is a difficult one, and it's taking longer than we originally expected.  I've never had the opportunity to assist in surgery, but they've been shorthanded at L'Hospital de Sainte Croix for a while now, and they're happy for the extra hands.  It's all part of the experience.

Our days here start and end with an hour long english class, which is probably one of the most fulfilling experiences.  Some of us teach beginning classes, others intermediate and advanced.  I'm not sure which of us really knew what we were down when we first got down here, but after a week it seems like we have all hit our stride.  Some of the most hilarious answers have been "it is CAT o'clock" and "good alligator" instead of "good evening."  It seems like every Haitian wants to be your friend.  After class I am always swarmed by them, wanting to practice English.

Coming down to Haiti has already changed the way I view the world.  I was talking with other volunteers today, trying to decide how this experience has changed us, or is continuing to change us, and we can all agree that, for one thing, we'll all complain a whole lot less.  We are lucky in America, we have a lot.  Although there are times when we want to go home to something air conditioned and clean, most of the time we are happy here.  The people need us.  They need encouragement, and they need just a little knowledge to help them get back up on their feet.  I chose to come visit Haiti with Sustain Haiti because, out of over 10,000 NGOs, Sustain Haiti focuses on what I think matters most - giving education and constructive ideas to the people, allowing them to maintain their dignity, sever any reliance on handouts, and begin to rebuild their own lives by taking control.  There is honor in our work here