As I leave Haiti, I have to think of the people that I have met. The first person would be Patrick. Patrick is 21 years of age who was placed in an orphanage before he was 2 years of age. An Aunt came to get him but returned him to the orphanage by the age of 4. From what I understand he was mistreated and suffered a great deal. The orphanage was large however to this day he has made connections with other children that were placed with him. He left the orphanage when he was 19 years of age as some people promised to assist him however they were empty promises. As he told me many people say they will help but they never do – unfortunately one of these people tried to get him to the States but unfortunately there focus was on themselves – how wonderful to say they have an orphan from Haiti - they tried to get him to come by tricking Immigrations - that went all bad and Patrick was sent back to Haiti. His dream is to go to the States one day. He works 6 days a week from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. – he left school after completing grade 10. He speaks French, Creole and English. He wished to return to school so he enrolled in public school – which is known as lottery schools – why? Some days you have teachers other days you do not. So after speaking to Patrick and others I made the decision to cover the cost for him to attend grade 11 in a private school with no strings attached. I told Patrick a friend and I have supported a young man in Nepal to complete a 2 year program for electrical engineer and he is in his last term ( top 10 in his class) so I felt I could assist him. I only wish to have the honour of covering the cost for his grade 12. Patrick is a very talented dancer and works so hard. He feels so all alone - so for me this is the right thing to do.
The other most amazing person I have ever met in all my life is Ninotte. I am totally taken by her – I don’t think I have ever met anyone like her before. She is so totally a classily lady in her late 30s who has a vision and a dream. One day she will play a major role in the direction of Haiti as she has such passion but has the drive to make it happen. She is the first person in Haiti that will have status with the North American mid-wives organization. She has been invited to D.C. to attend conferences as she has certainly impressed other people in the States that have met her. She will be completing her Business Administration degree by March of next year. She has also written a book on Haiti – the history and what are the options for Haiti now. She would like it published in Creole and English – but unfortunately the cost to publish in Haiti is like over 15 thousand dollars – so if anyone knows anything about publishing in Canada please contact me as I think it would be much cheaper than Haiti. She has and is living in poverty – she supports 4 family members and herself on less than $300 a month. I cannot go into all her details of the life that she has had but all I can say this woman will make a difference as she believes in her country and its people.
The other people are Sarah and the small group of staff that work at the clinic. What I love about the Olive Tree Projects is Sarah’s dream of sustainability – she is training local people to run the clinic but she is doing much more. One day soon she will have a school to train woman in Haiti to be mid-wives and run a number of clinics themselves. The staff are the kindest people I have ever met – when you talk about no judgement these staff reflect this like I have never seen before. Haiti has many issues and one of them is all about survival so it is not a monogamist society as it is based on one being able to provide food and shelter – so many families are headed by woman with children trying to provide for their children. STDs including HIV/AIDS are wide spread. The staff do not judge but try to assist to ensure that the mothers and babes are healthy.
The other person is my beloved six year old – she has taught me about survival. Amazing that I learnt from a six year old on how to be strong and how to deal with life the way it was dealt to you. You do the best that you can with what you have and this six year old has shown me that. She will forever hold a special place in my heart even if she gave me a run for my money.
I certainly can write about all the issues in Haiti and provide my own political point of view but I do not think this is the time or the place to do so. At the end of the day Haiti is in the new classification of 4th world countries - what I have seen and experienced is a depth of poverty like I have never seen before nor will I see again for a long time. However I have to say I have never met people young and old that are so determined to make Haiti a better place.
For me this has been a very difficult trip – it will take me a long time to process the lows and the highs of the last 4 weeks. However it makes me more determined to leave this world a better place. The things I do are a drop in a bucket as the work that needs to be done is endless. However a person told me if I can assist one person and make a difference in their life then I should be grateful for the privilege. And that is the only think I can hope for.
Who knows maybe next time I will take a “normal” vacation or not!!!
Until next time take care.