We woke before 5 to pack and plan. At 8am Jen and I hooked up with sweet little Kenley and his grandpa to take him to a hospital being run by some lovely Brits with great accents. Cheerio! :) We were thrilled to learn of them from Wes, an uber cool nurse working with Heartline now. Wes told us that he thought they might do skin grafting. The need for this is ginormous.
The hospital is set up on Delmas 33 on the tennis courts where John McHoul (and John Ackerman) used to beat Troy at Tennis every Tuesday morning. Nothing like getting schooled by a couple of old guys every week.
In exchange for taking Kenley, Dr. Jen agreed to take two patients off of their hands to help them with recovery and PT. When we got the two ladies packed into our little truck we marveled at their reality. Grieved and marveled. While we know we'll give good care, and show love, it is still so sad to think about what they must be feeling and going through being moved around. One of the two women that we took today is especially sad. She had one hand amputated, one leg wound, and a giant cut on her head. She seemed angry. I don't blame her. I would be angry too. Heck, who am I kidding? I AM angry. I just pray she finds restorative healing and hope and the courage to keep fighting.
We're busy trying to get as much done to help set up our house to continue to function and to tie up loose ends and say some very difficult "see you soon" (?) goodbyes to friends and co-workers.
Vivien and Joanna and Jonna (3 of 4 of the single ladies here for the earthquake) are heading out for a mental health break too. Megan is staying another week. Jen is still here. A team of people from all over the USA and Canada are still working at the clinics/hospitals. (WWV in Leogane and Heartline in Tabarre) Please keep praying for them.
Our beloved friend Jeronne is here. Pray for her - and Tipap too. Pray for my best friend Beth. She is carrying a lot. Twenty years in Haiti and in 40 seconds everything is so different. We will miss her and big-haired John so much.
If all goes according to plan (we have no expectations) - we should take off tonight in a little airplane - shortly after dark to head to stop number one of three. We have three flights and an 18 hour drive before our family reunites sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning.
I vividly remember the day I put five kids on an airplane with one way tickets to PAP. Noah was not yet two. He was the baby of the family. I remember being so afraid and wondering if we'd made a bad decision. If maybe we were totally stupid? Troy had gone ahead of us a few weeks and was waiting for us to arrive. Britt wrote to me and pointed out that it was four years ago today that the kids and I moved here. Today. Exactly today. So strange.
I know this much, it hurts so much more to leave here than it did to come here.
The Twin Cities news station that was here for a few nights interviewed a lot of the Minnesotans staying at our house. I think we're all a tiny bit anxious about it and hoping that the important things we said make the stories. I think it is hard when you feel so deeply about things - to have a five minute interview minimized to a 20 seconds that may or may not be the most important part of what you shared.
The message is this: Haiti was here before the earthquake. Really, it was! Things were not very easy then. Haiti will be here after the earthquake. Things are beyond difficult now. The Haitian people are strong and courageous and warm and giving. They were before, they are now, they will be. They need your prayers and help. Don't forget them. Every single one of them have a story to tell. Their stories are important.
(And don't assume the big national news outlet is telling you the good stories. Bad stories bring better ratings.)
In a few different places we were asked why we blogged and tweeted so soon after the earthquake. There was some sort of perception that we were trying to be among the first to break the story ... But that is not it at all. We have been blogging daily for the entire time we've lived here and we just wanted to let our family know we were okay - that we were the lucky ones. *That* was the reason for the tweet and the post. We lost internet shortly after we got the word out - we were thankful our family did not worry unnecessarily. We know many families still wait for word on their loved ones. We yearn for them to get their answers.
We miss our children and are anxious to be with them. They always make us laugh - and right now we really need that.
The boys are both taking swimming lessons with their big brother-in-law at the YMCA. That sounds so 'normal', doesn't it? They sound happy on the phone, but Noah is a daddy's boy and is missing Troy terribly. A few days ago we found their hermit crab alive and well and are attempting to smuggle him in and make him an illegal alien pet ... "Hermy" the crab is about to become a Texan crab. Lydia has changed in three weeks. I can see it in photos. Hope has been with Grandma P. for a while and is heading back to Central Texas to meet us. Phoebe gets picked up first and will join us for the long car ride. Paige is glad she got to come back and organize her life a bit and help out. I am thankful Heartline allowed her a spot on an airplane to come get a little bit of closure ... or whatever it is she got. Britt and Chris did an amazing job these last three weeks. We're anxious to relieve them of their duties and allow them to get back to the business of newlywed life and college.
Until we can update again, I know you'll keep praying for World Wide Village and Heartline and the countless other AMAZING organizations on the ground. More importantly, I know you'll not forget the Haitian people.
We won't either.
Nou p'ap bliye ou Ayiti cheri.
With deep gratitude -
Tara, for all 10 of us
PS- Specific people you can pray for by name if you wish - Dr. Owen at the tennis court hospital, Dr. Jen, Dr. Peter, PT Brian, PA Kevin, Nurse Wes, Nurse Ryan, Beth, John, Don, Byron, Nurse Donna, Nurse Nancy, Nurse Laura, Nurse Theresa, Nurse Jessica, EMT Trent, Support staff - Ruth, Sam, Kelly, Sherry and Dan ... and the new folks landing in the coming days. Troy and I are sort of bailing out on Jen -- she is our good friend and we would really prefer to support her in this big role she plays for another two weeks ... she is gracious and courageous and understands our need to go to our kids ... but we would really appreciate it if you could say a special prayer for our friend Jen tonight.