Thursday, May 15, 2014

hey you!!

Hey you! Hey You!  

Hey YOU.... have you ever seen poverty?
Hey YOU...have you ever  ever had to run or hobble on crutches with with whatever “bucket” you have to get clean water? 
Hey YOU... have you had a sick baby that you can’t help because the help is too far away?
Hey YOU..... have you ever lived, slept, ate and went to the bathroom  in the same place?

Hey you -have you ever been to Cite Soleil,undoubtedly one of the poorest, most desperate places on earth? We did and it was one of the most moving experiences of a lifetime. A lesson in how grace, love and hope- yes, hope can coexist in an almost unearthly place.  

Our call today was to deliver clean water to the poorest of the poor residing in the slums of Port-au-Prince.  I struggle to think how to describe this day, but for those who have traveled here -they know that this is impossible.  For those of you following us at home, imagine your heart shattered in a million pieces and you might come close.

We make three truck runs today with water and are additionally blessed that Lisa and I are both R.N’s. We take along the first aid bag to see if we can be of any help.  We laugh because the medical bag is not so practical- A CPR mask and tourniquet seem out of place for Cite Soleil. Little do we know that we are “doctors” now. 

As we pull in behind the water truck, dozens of children  run behind us yelling out “Hey you”!  We smile and wave and yell “Hey you” back- it is our communication with them-the way we bridge our worlds.  

The chaos ensues as the water begins to flow. People, buckets, pushing, arguing, line jumping are all the norm on these runs. The water flows fast and it seems in no time the the truck is empty and we need to reload. The team fills buckets as fast as it flows, others help carry the heavy buckets to the “homes”. Others simply hold and hug the children who cling desperately to our necks, arms and legs like velcro.

Lisa and I pull out our medical bag very quietly  and with help of our Haitian Translators Cadet and Jonas begin treating those we see in need of care. As we tend one, another  and another appears. Some are “easy” fixes, clean a wound or burn as best you can. We have only a few gauze pads, some hydrogen peroxide and Hibiclens.  Our treasures are a pair of scissors and a small tube on antibiotic ointment. 

Lisa treats a nasty burn on an arm, Judy removes some homemade stitches from a boys’ lip that have been left in too long and have healed over.  Our heart breaks however for those who show up with cataracts, bulging hernias and lumpy cancers.  We tell the translator to say-”There is nothing we can do”.  We work as quickly as we can, but when the water runs out we have to go. The rule of these trips is when its time to go It is time to go- as this is still a dangerous place no matter how much love and help we bring.  I  feel  a sense of helplessness-if only I had one more hour... 

Today’s journey to Cite Soleil and yesterday’s to the Home for Sick and Dying Adults forced me to take one of the largest leaps of faith I have ever made.  We were asked to serve without regard for ourselves emotionally, mentally and physically. No time to contemplate the call to action- we were called to act now.

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