Tag Archives: orphans

Long way from home

Seems strange to write a blog at a time when our nation has been shaken to its core. The terror and hysteria that must have evolved in Ottawa on Wednesday was felt by every Canadian around the world and Team Broken Earth in Haiti was no different.

Everyone was glued to the TV at the United Nations watching coverage on CNN.  Receiving texts and updates on Twitter, team members were somber and reflective.  All thoughts and prayers were directed to our nations capital.  We will all remember where we were as a team on October 22, 2014

The pace of the day was the only thing that kept us going.

The nurses in pediatrics visited an orphanage yesterday. One of the babies they checked on was a new arrival… he was found abandoned in a garbage pile the day before they arrived. The incredible people at the orphanage, devoting their lives to this cause, took the unclothed and malnourished baby in and began to provide immediate care. The nurses realized how sick the child was and today the baby arrived at our hospital for our team to help resuscitate and give him a starting chance at life.

Yesterday I witnessed poverty that I had never quite seen before and will never understand.  Travelling through the interior of Haiti, on what can only be described as donkey paths, I saw multiple children, of all ages, living in dirt huts with no clothing.  Naked children walking along the path.  Don’t get me wrong Port-au-Prince is poor, but being in place that’s even poorer, as in can’t even afford some clothing poor, is a level I have yet to experience.  It was tough to watch as we drove by in an air-conditioned truck.  Why them and not me? Take a minute to count your blessings. I did. I do that here often.

The good work continued on into the night for the OR team.  Trauma has been busy.  Busy is what keeps the focus away from the act of insanity at home. Thank God for the good people in the world.  I have to believe that although one madman can impact our world, so to can altruism, and altruism is more frequently found than madness.

Altruism can change the world.

– Andrew

Day for my dad.

It seems odd and strange to say but I have become somewhat used to the chaos and direness here in Port-au-Prince.  I know what to expect when I come here. I know how bad the situation is and, not to be too cold, but rarely does it become personal or overly emotional anymore. I’ve become accustomed to it.

But yesterday was an exception.

Yesterday shook me.

I felt my father’s history in my journey.

It caught me off-guard.  Overwhelmed me.

At times, I broke down.

It was the morning visit to an orphanage. There are a lot of orphanages in Haiti. It’s known as “the land of a million orphans.”

This one was different in that the children are being cared for by a former orphan.  In fact, the only way the children could get in to the compound was if they had lost one or both of their parents.

They were being cared for in dorm rooms with the best that could be provided. It wasn’t much.

Made me embarrassed and tearful to think of anytime I ever complained about hotel rooms or ply counts on sheets.  More so, in each child’s eyes I could see dad’s. I could see my own kids. And it broke me.

The shining light here is the extraordinary people committing their lives to look after these special children.

The school we visited was like that too. Dedicated teachers working with children in an outdoor classroom.

Makes you think that, hope that there’s a child among them that will some day change this place.

From there I put on a political hat and met with the leader of the Haitian senate.  It felt like I was continuing my family’s history and journey but through different eyes, in a much different place. Here, there’s devastation. There’s unforgiving poverty. But I gotta believe there is always, always hope.

I find it back at the hospital.

The team was incredibly busy.  Greg Browne saved the life of a woman run over by a car.  She lost her leg but will live to be fitted with a prosthesis.

Nurses and ER docs treating multiple injuries from an orphanage that partially collapsed.  Thank god the injuries were not fatal.  Little victories.

Pediatric nurses continued what seems to be at times an acute care pediatric only hospital. So many sick kids.

Ask me why I keep coming back here and I think about those kids. I see all of the world’s potential in their eyes. I see dad’s journey. I see my journey. Most of all, I see hope.

Tomorrow can be better.

Tomorrow will be better.

– Andrew 

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