Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The harsh reality

Ok, so I've covered how this trip was made possible through my amazing, graceful husband.  And then I explained our "plans" for the first few days.  Now on to the end of the week...

Hopefully, we will have arrived safely back at the orphanage by Thursday.  Thursday is perhaps the most challenging day for our team.  On Thursday, it won't be the endless line of patients to see, the language barrier, the culture shock, the heat or the bugs that challenge us.  It will be looking into the eyes of starving, dying children.  As I type, it seems harsh, but it's the truth.  It's ugly and uncomfortable; but it's the truth.

We will be venturing even further outside of our comfort zone and into what can only be described as "hell on Earth" as we go to Mother Teresa's Hospital.  This discreet building is hidden behind locked gates and surrounded by classrooms.  Inside, there are cribs and cribs lined up in a dim, dark room.  Inside the cribs lay children who have been hospitalized for numerous reasons, but mostly undernourishment.

I have been anxiously awaiting to go back to Mother Theresa's.  On my last visit, I feel that I was more desensitized to the crying children than my teammates.  I mean, I deal with crying babies, sick babies ad babies with IV's all the time at work.  What was so different about this place?

It wasn't until I went back to work that this experience slapped me in the face.  Early during our shift on that fateful night, the RN's were weighing, assessing and feeding babies.  It's generally a busy, loud time during my work day.  But as I was helping with various tasks, the crying in the NICU brought back vivid, horrendous flashbacks of Mother Theresa's. At that precise moment I realized how big of tragedy I had witnessed in that cramped, hot building.  I left the unit and cried until my heart went numb.  The Lord has been calling me back ever since that shift 18 months ago.  I need to go back and be willing to offer myself to these children.  The hospital is operated by amazing nuns who happen to be nurses, so I won't necessarily be offering medical services.  But I can hold, I can love and I can (and will) let my heart ache for these children.

And since you can't go to Haiti and not spend time in a tent city, on Friday we will do just that.  I'm not sure of the location of this tent city; but am sure that the tent dwellers will appreciate our medical advice and supplies just as much as they have in the past.  I'm curious to see if there are still residual injuries/illnesses from the 2010 Earthquake.  I'm also curious to see the progress and hopefully the reduction in the quantity of the tent cities.

Saturday, we will say goodbye to the new friends we made in translators, orphans and workers at the orphanage.  We will gladly trade out mosquito bites for hugs from our children.  We will fly into Miami and be disgusted by the gaudily amount of bling in the Airport jewelry store.  It will take every ounce of self control for me to not trip the debutante strutting around in her Christian Louboutin's. And another piece of my heart will be left in Haiti....

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