Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Medical Relief for Haiti Earthquake Victims

This has just been one of the longest and most mentally exhausting days of my life. I don't even know where to begin... I got up this morning (Thursday) at 4AM in order to make it to the airport for my flight. Upon arriving at the dark hanger out of Melbourne Airport, several of us from our team and others came together to meet for the first time and match faces to names from many long phone calls. Cherie was so wonderful. She had McDonald's breakfast waiting for us. I quickly discovered I was flying all the way to Haiti on a Cirrus plane! Those from Duluth will appreciate the irony of this knowing that cirrus planes are made in Duluth. Those familiar with Cirrus planes will recognize amazement that a plane that compact can easily fly that far away. There were only 3 of us in the cirrus and 5 in the other plane . We all joined together before taking off and prayed for a safe trip, for safety, good judgement, relief, compassion, and praised God for leading us on this adventure of a lifetime. I took the co-pilot's seat, next to our trusty pilot Troy and Robin in the back. After about 3.5 hours and a getting to watch a beautiful sunrise along the horizon line, we landed in the Turks, a country not far off the coast of Haiti, to get refuelled and wait for our landing slot. The community here has mobilized and created a depository of additional supplies that we were able to stuff the rest of the plane with... mostly things for kids, diapers, formula, food, etc. They also had supplies for the aid workers. They had several handmade sandwiches to choose from, chips, and drinks. There was a big comfy couch, air conditioning, and a chance to meet with others coming through and just start to prepare ourselves for what lie ahead. By the way, the Turks are beautiful! There's blue water like I've never even seen before there and even more beautiful people.

Finally, we reboarded and took our flight into Port Au Prince. We had to sit on a holding pattern for a while until we could finally get onto the strip. Of course, Murphy's Law, just as we're coming in to Port au Prince with this amazing overhead view, my video camera died, and has not been working since. Oh, well. I'm really bummed, but know it's probably for a reason. I do still have my regular camera and am just hoping that the low quality video on there will be adequate for memory sake... perhaps the video camera will just start working one day again too.

As we passed overhead PAP, you could see the massive destruction. What looks like whole sides of the mountain are just landslides of cement. Many of the other houses are hard to tell they are collapsed from the air because everything so compact and smashed together. As we were coming in for our landing, watching the Marines, the herd of rescue boats and everything else, I listened on my headphones to the background of airport landing personell, the song from U2 "If God Will Send His Angels." There were many angels descending upon the city both from the ground, water, and air.

Once landing, there was a massive effort of relief and military installations to provide security and distribute rations. Although, it must be noted that the majority of the supplies and rations just simply sat on the tarmac not moving at all. That was rather disturbing. It was neat to be amid a swarm of military from around the world, all decked out in their uniforms and AK47s, big planes, helicopters. I looked over at the small Cirrus plane that we flew in on and realized we looked like a little mosquito amongst a flock of birds. I suddenly was amazed that we had traveled so far in such a reliable plane. It made me proud to know these planes are made in Duluth.

After much shuffling around, we got our passports stamped, got through customs, and our pilot was told that if he didn't pay about 200 dollars that he would be jailed. They called it some sort of airport fee (no one else had to pay this) and we're pretty sure the money went right into the airport authority's pockets. Once we were secured on the ground, our pilot went to meet the 6 orphans that will be taking our empty seats back. They will finally get reunited with their parents who adopted them several years ago, but who have been waiting to have adoptions finalized.

At this point, things had come together and I had officially joined the CDTI Hospital Team because the director of the hospital was on one of our charter's fleet where we had all left together in the morning and asked if I would like to join them. It's amazing. I'm now joining forces with Dr. Rod an internist from FL, Nurse Linda Kubiak from FL, and Dr. Michelle Henderson an orthopedic surgeon from FL as well. We were picked up at the airport by the owner of the hospital, went to the UN Promess medical supply ware house, and were taken to his relative's house where there were mattresses and pillows waiting for us. There is a 12 foot security wall and guard that protects all the medical staff inside. The house is not entirely structurally safe, but it's adequate... and certainly nice for now until I move on to the village and am in a tent. There are huge cracks going up the walls and ceilings. We keep jump bags by our sleeping bags in case another earthquake comes and we have to run out. Although, it's kinda disconcerting because the windows around me all have bars on them, so kinda scary. Everyone here has been expecting the aftershocks to continue and just recently, the locals were being told an 8.0 might be expected. A seismologist who had given a conference here last year warning people of the quake's imminence was telling me that the plates were backed up by about 250-some centimeters, and even after the earthquake, there's still about 140-centimeters to go. Those movements could come a little at a time, or all at once. I think it's past that happening, but taking safety precautions is certainly important. That includes being aware of the nearest exit wherever you are, always keeping your passport and water bottle on you, and not going into dangerous locations. Not to freak anybody out or anything, but I'm so happy with my life right now and where my path has led that if it would be my time, then I could be okay with that. I would have gone doing what I love and taking care of the people he loves. I'm not afraid to die... but I'd rather not and get to continue my work into the future.

So, as far as the drive to the house, things around the airport didn't look too bad. I didn't see people rioting, fighting, and few buildings looked very damaged. I was thinking that maybe it wasn't that bad here after all. As we got closer to downtown PAP and into the neighborhoods, it was a complete change. Suddenly, it looked like a warzone. Entire cafes, grocery stores, banks, hotels, homes, and businesses reduced to nothing by rubble. The nursing school lost 200 nurses in the collapse. Even a 7-floor hospital collapsed to a pile of dust. Can you imagine that... you get severely injured and are able to get to a hospital only to find it gone... including all the people inside who you know would be your only chance of survival. Some people even arrived at hospitals already fresh amputees from the chainsaws they had to used to cut pinned limbs from the rubble. Sorry for the gory details, but it is the reality for these people here and the reality of the type of psychological trauma that hasn't really even been addressed. We talk about a nation of amputees, but how about a nation suffering from severe PTSD and depression. It's another area that needs to be addressed. If you think reading about these things are hard, imagine having lived through them!

It's sad to know that there are many bodies still under the debris as well. The locals are saying 225,000 confirmed dead and another 150,000 expected dead beneath the rubble. Then, there are the tent cities. You'll turn a corner and see blocks upon blocks of homemade tents. People are using sticks, branches, poles, sheets, and tarps to provide themselves with shelter. It makes me smile knowing I will leave behind a tent that will become someone's home... especially with the rainy season around the corner. There are pigs, goats, and dogs running in the road. We even saw a big cow on the sidewalk the other day. I'm actually surprised they haven't turned to bacon yet! Surprisingly, the smell is not too bad. It comes and goes. In some areas, things smell just completely normal and in other areas the smell of trash and feces. There's a haze around the city still, just walking down the road, it's hard to not get the dust in your eyes. It permeates the air. The sounds are not as I imagined them either. It's loud, but there's not really people crying and shouting... unless it's throughout the day at the hospital where some are moaning and wailing.

Everyone is just sleeping on the streets and in these massive "tent cities". These cities consist of about an inch of space between one tent to the next. The people have constructed homes using sticks, branches, and sheets. It looks like a massive quilt from above. Once it rains, the sheets will be pointless. Right now, the sheets just help diminish the hot Haitian sun. There's one tent set up that has 200 orphans living in it. They have no food, no water, and are just trying to stay alive, and figure out what next... like everyone else. There's a real need for huge humanitarian efforts here to provide safe and dry housing for these people. It frustrates me when I think about the hurricane Katrina response. When FEMA brought large trailors to live in and some decided to complain that they were not good enough... well, there's no FEMA here, no clean water here, no food rations here, and most of these people aren't complaining.

Next, the process of rebuilding and recovery. I've been speaking with a few structural engineers and controlled demolition teams that are working with the buildings affected. The Israeli's apparently have some sort of rubble-eating machine that they will use to break down the rubble, re-mix it into a cement, and use it to rebuild with. Talk about rising from the ashes! One day they should rename this country Phoenix.

There is already some hope, markets are starting to open. In fact, there are lots of street vendors returning to business. Some sell egg sandwiches; others are selling things like luggage, belts, and cell phone chargers. I have no idea where they got all this stuff from, but it's nice to see the economy returning.

What has struck me as disturbing is the number of people I see throughout the drives and walk of people who literally are walking around with a zombie-like look on their faces. Many of these people have lost everything... their homes, their families, their livelihood, their friends, and their hope. It's just a look of complete despair, aloneness, and trauma. I'm reminded by some in the movie 28 Days Later, where the deadly rabies plague wipes through Europe. I actually listened to the unnerving 28 Days Later theme song on my walk into the hospital today, I felt like I was in a movie. Another fitting movie for where we are is "I Am Legend". Very depressing. It's also kind of scary because many of these people are in the anger stage of the grieving process. They've gone through the denial, the depression, and the negotiating, but the anger phase is stewing. Many feel they have been forgotten, that the world doesn't care. They're getting testy and desperate. We hear gunshots every night, there have been 2 reported kidnappings that we know of, and the looting is still going on.

The military presence here is enormous. The U.S. appears to have complete control of the airport in PAP. Everywhere you go, there are humvees, tanker-looking vehicles, and soldiers in uniforms armed with large guns. It's interesting because we are seeing soldiers from around the world. This truly is a global effort, whether that be from the medical front, the supply front, or the security standpoint.

Back to the story, we stopped by at the location we will be staying. It is the house of a relative of the hospital owner. There are about 30 us living in it right now. We sleep on the floor. It's a shell of a house, no furniture or anything, but it is dry and safe. The mosquitoes fly through and get pretty bad because none of the windows have any screens. I’ve actually got my tent set up inside the room without the fly to keep the bugs off. The room I'm in looks like a cell block, surrounded in metal bars. The house has an armed security guard that watches a 12-foot wall that surrounds the property. Just over the wall, people are living on the street in makeshift tents. Electricity and water come on and off sporadically. There's a toilet to use, but we sometimes have to add the water in order for it to flush. There's a shower that trickles down, but a broken pipe off the side of the house that works pretty good. All of this is still pretty rugged conditions and certainly not the way I'd choose to live, but I've never felt so blessed! When I found out there was a sheet for me to use, it was like winning the lottery. I like this simple gratitude swelling inside of myself. It feels good.

After dropping off our stuff at the house, we went to visit the hospital. Upon arriving, we were greeted by a nurse standing outside emphatically smoking a cigarette and crying, saying, "The French have left and there are no nurses or doctors here. They didn't leave any orders. We can't do all this alone! There's nobody here." I went over and gave her a big hug and just said, "I'm Jitterbug, I'm a registered nurse, and you’re not alone anymore. We're here to help, what do you need." That woman has become of my favorite people here since. She's a real hoot and an incredibly strong individual. I've been holding it together really well since I've been here actually and been staying pretty emotionally strong. However, when we finally got to the patients at the hospital, the reason I'm here, it hit me. I've never seen such collaborative pain. I started walking into the tents and holding patient's hands and praying for them. The tears started to flow, and I realized at that moment that this was going to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. But, I do know I'm ready and prepared for it. My whole life has been preparing me for this moment here right now.

The CDTI hospital is huge. It's 4 stories tall and has everything from CT scans, to Ultrasound, to patient suites, to an OR, ER, and pharmacy. However, it is very much lacking at the moment, including structurally. One half of the hospital, the wing with all the patient rooms has been deemed structurally insuffient. That's where we store all of the supplies and stuff now. The patients are all being placed in the open area surrounding the hospital and living in tents provided by the French. They have also been lending their medical staff which is relieving a large burden of the work. However, it's very confusing because you'll go to read a patient's "chart" (which we call their dociae and consists only a scrap piece of paper or cardboard) and it will half be in French and half in English. This is also a problem with the supplies and the medicines coming in. Supplies are coming in from around the world... I've unpacked boxes from Morocco, Israel, France, and more. Many of the drugs have different names that we are not familiar with here. Many of the supplies are incompatible with one another. It's frustrating. As far as the global effort of medical professionals, I'm working with docs and nurses from Israel, Russia, France, Haiti, the U.S., India, Philippines, Canada, and Holland. As a matter of fact, the Israeli docs say in all of their wars, they've never seen anything this bad.

The hospital has received little support from the Haitian government. In fact, the government is more often an obstacle. For instance, when the hospital opened the ER department, all the equipment sat at the airport on palates for 3 months before being released. Now that part of the hospital is at risk for collapsing should another shake come, the government is certainly not helping to keep it standing. It will cost about more than $75,000 alone just to solidify the main support pillars so that the space can be used safely. The rest of the repairs will be upwards of a half-million dollars. Insurance doesn't cover things like this because it's exempt through disaster status or something. Some people are saying the hospital should just shut down so the owners can cut their losses and stop hemmhoraging With no income coming in, daily operating expenses exceeding $8,000 a day, the funding will certainly end up running dry. However, what will happen to the people still needing care? The earthquake left an estimated 400,000 people injured. Every day we're seeing 3-400 patients alone... and those aren’t all runny nose, diarrhea cases. Many of the cases are severe wounds and infection.

While I've got your attention on the hospital, let me explain some of its great need. For the most part, we are doing great on supplies. We've got tons of medications, wound care, and protective equipment. But, there are still some orthopedic needs. The director of the hospital and U.S. orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michelle Henderson says on her wish list of hospital supplies most needed would be SYNTHS, large and small frag sets, femoral and tibial rods, external fixators, other orthopedic supplies, and anesthesia drugs including Propophal and Ketamine.

Regarding staffing, the hospital is in need of Orthopaedic surgeons with experience in non-union, mal-union, and osteomyelitis. They would need to bring hardware for surgical fixation of fractures with insertion devices and instruments as well as a cast saw with blades. They need plastic surgeons to perform split thickness skin grafs and local notational flaps. That department is in need of dermatome, dermatome blades, and mesher. Other doctors needed include internal medicine, family practice, and pediatric doctors who can also bring medications that would be used in clinic. If you are a surgeon, come as a team with anesthesia and an RN. IF your an emergency medicine doc, bring and RN or a paramedic. If you’re a Family Practice, Internal Medicine, or Pediatric medicine, CDTI suggests you bring your own RN or MA as well.

Lastly, the infectious disease department is in major need of vaccines. The drug companies could not get any vaccines here quick enough. I spoke with hospital administrators today and discussed public health concerns of the upcoming rainy season. Port au Prince without the earthquake sometimes gets 2 feet of water downtown. Now that the drainage systems are clogged, people are living within inches of one another, and thousands of dead bodies lay beneath the rubble, the rain will cause big problems. The medical disposal containing blood products and bodily fluids will mix with the water, rains will filter through the rubble and drain the decay from the dead bodies into the streets, the mountainside that's composed mostly of sand will likely have mudslides, and if any disease breaks out, it will spread like a wildfire. Just regular old influenza could cause enough of a problem, but then add the posibility of Cholera, Typhoid, H1N1, Dysentery, Tuberculosis and we have another disaster zone on the way... yet it is one we can predict and prepare for. I'd like to see the WHO stepping up to produce mass quantities of vaccines and health care workers just going into tent city, tent to tent to adminsiter them. There's basically another disaster on the way and unlike the earthquake, this is one we can anticipate and prepare for.

On our ride home that night, as we passed the candlelit sidewalk filled with Haitians with no home and nowhere to go, I was filled with gratitude to be here and blessed to know I was being provided for.

It was our first full day at the hospital today. Throughout the night we got our first exposure to the gun shot sounding around the neighborhood. We wake up at about 6:30am, get dressed and then hike about a mile and a half to the hospital. On our walk we spotted the collapsed church and saw an amazing sight. While the building was collapsed, the cross was still standing. I don't think there was even a scratch on it. It speaks volumes; the body of the church is not in the building, it's in what it's all based on. In the midst of all this chaos and rubble, to see a sturdy reminder of the importance of faith was profound. My friend Linda and I always try to start and end the day with prayer. This has become our new place we pray in the morning. Now, we've got others joining with us as well. In the mornings, we stop at the cross, hold hands and just lift up our hands, feet, decision making, and guidance to the heavens. It's beautiful! It's also the only reason I don't think I've lost my sanity yet. Apparently, there are 3 other churches around PAP that had the same thing happen. The church collapsed, but the cross is still standing. People are all freaked out. Even many of the voodoo doctors around here are flipping out. When the earthquake happened, many saw them should out "Jesus." Now, when people come to them, some of them are saying, "I cannot help you anymore, but Jesus can." Let me get kinda sappy here... what I like about this whole thing with the cross is this... when you come to the cross, you come exactly how you are. You might be man or woman, rich or poor, desperate or hopeful, diseased or healthy, ragged or clothed, but God meets you exactly where you're at. When everything around you is falling apart, he can be the one thing that will always be there to look up to, and the one thing that can gently take you by the hands and lift you off your knees. That is hopeful.

Once we got to the hospital for our first day, we found out there had already been at least 3 cases of tuberculosis, 2 cases of tetanus, and a case of rabies. We heard a story about a 2 month old baby that was found in a pile of trash in the woods. Someone heard a baby crying, found the baby, and brought them to the hospital. The Haitian nurse who found him and has been unable to conceive a child for 12 years now wants to adopt him. He was baptized and named Noah. Another story about a patient I have here is this young boy named Joseph. Both of his parents were killed in the quake and he has nowhere to go. He's got a fractured leg and lays on his bed crying in French, "Why? Why? It's just not right!" Once he can ambulate with crutches, we'll have to hook him up with an orphanage somewhere.

The layout of the hospital is shared with the French medical teams here. They have one area and we have another, but yet they are mixed. You just don't touch their patients or else they will get upset. People come in through the front secured door and get triaged. Some go to the French, some come to us. Those with more serious conditions are housed in the tents we have set up. These tents are not very big, but they can house about 8-10 cots. There are 9 tents up in the front, and then there are more post-op tents with patients in the back. If patient's need x-rays, ultrasound, emergency care, or surgery, those things are available inside as well. Sometimes the lights flicker and sometimes the OR has no lights leaving the docs to operate with headlamps, but it is working for now.

I discovered the rooftop today. You can climb on the roof and get a broad 360 degree view of the city. You can see the dozens of boats in the PAP harbor providing supplies and care, you can see the damaged mountainside, and you can look below at the hospital tent city and see the healing being done. It's now where I like to go and decompress. You can catch a beautiful sunset over the mountains from there and the breeze feels good.

Just as we were about to finish a 12 hour day, we quickly realized we weren't going anywhere. We had a guy get brought in with a gunshot wound to the chest. He had been an innocent bystander when a looter decided to steal something. As people were scrambling, the innocent guy went running. The looter thought he was coming after him and popped him in the chest. This was intense! I was one of the nurses in on the case. The guy was laying on the gurney coughing up blood, getting the death gurgle, and his eyes weren't responding to light or accommodation. I was suctioning his airway and holding his IV bag above his head all at once while we're trying to wheel him into radiology. He needed surgery right away, but all of the surgeons had already left. We ended up having to get him to another hospital with surgeons, but had no way to get him there. We're all standing in the street with this dying man and no one would pull over and stop. People just kept driving past. Then, once someone with a truck did stop, no one would help lift him into the back of the pickup. My New Jersey cop friend was screaming for people to help. I threw some gloves out of my pocket towards some guys and finally we were all able to drag him into the back. It was the most pathetic transfer I've ever seen, especially considering the fragility of his condition, but it was the best we could do. No one would step up to the plate. We all just stood there quietly on the street after they zoomed off, covered in bloody gloves and looking at each other blankly saying, "What just happened?" It was surreal! Then, a girl came in with a fractured leg and another man is dragged in amid a grand-mal seizure. We put him in the ER, got a line in and tried to suppress the seizures with some valium. It wasn't until 25g IV that he finally started to calm. That was my first full day at CDTI and it was exhausting. But, I must say.... I love this stuff!

Today was just another day of work. We put in another 12 hours in the sun and treated anywhere from 300-400 patients. About midday, I heard a couple singing in one of the tents. I went over there to find a Haitian nurse leading the patients in this song. I joined in and started building the energy. Before I knew what happened, we had a full blown hospital tent revival! The patients were smiling; the nurses and I were dancing with some of them and their families. People were clapping their hands, singing praise, "Amen, Amen, Amen, Alleluia!" It was so inspiring because for the short bit that song lasted, those patients forgot they were victims of an earthquake. For a short while, they forgot about their loss and embraced the moment. I was very touched to be a part of the whole scene.

On another note, I was in on an interesting case today with a patient getting their leg amputated. The tools used look like something out of a medieval movie- lock cutter looking pliers, a chisel, mallet, and hacksaw. This poor patient had been fighting the recommendation to amputate for 2 weeks now, but the infection was going to kill her if she didn't. To watch someone's leg get cut off and then placed in a bag is pretty gruesome, I must admit. I just wonder how the doctors who had to do 20-30 a day in the beginning are feeling now. That takes a toll on your emotional bank account.

On our walk to the hospital today, we passed a religious ceremony going on. Hundreds of people were gathered either because it was Sunday or perhaps as a funeral service for those thousands lost. We worked along tediously throughout the day and got off a little early. We drove to an opened place called the Pizza Garden. We got to have pizza and watch the Superbowl. It was so American and fun. There was lots of laughing and some of us even got up and danced after it was done.

As we retired at night, it started to rain. That was the first time this area has seen rain since the devastating earthquake. I do think it was God's welled up tears. It's also an uncomfortable reminder of the rainy season that lies ahead. Perhaps it is making its arrival sooner than we had planned.

I finally connected with Anne-Kary of the duluth-based Kako Foundation. The program is a music school created in memory of a boy named Kako who was kidnapped and murdered 2 years ago in Haiti. His family wanted to create a music program in his honor and that's exactly what they did. The children there were so sweet. Two of the students had died in the earthquake, many fled town with their families, and the rest were still in the area. This was their first day of classes back. Anne-Kary picked us myself, New Jersey cop George, and Dr. Rod the internist from the hospital. We rode to the Kako Foundation and met the children. We were able to give all of them and some of the parents complete physicals. Everyone checked out and appeared to be pretty healthy too! During the physicals, the kids were taking part in a therapeutic support group that the program will continue. Anne-Kary talks to the kids about what happened the day of the earthquake, how the kids were affected, and how they are dealing with it now. It's such a crucial part of the healing that needs to happen in this community and I applaud the Kako Foundation for not wasting time getting there. Once done with physicals and therapy, the kids got to pull out their instruments for the first time since the quake. They happened to be in the building that did not collapse and were intact. It was the neatest thing to witness... children managing the "after-shocks" of extreme stress and trauma pull out their instruments and start to make music. The trumpets were going, the saxophones were humming, a flute delicately added to the mixture, and a set of drums kept the rhythm. The music provided a sort of invisible barrier from the outside world. It was a distraction from knowing that within a 1-block radius there are probably still bodies buried and buildings demolished. George, Rod and I just stood there feeling some peace. Amid all the doom and gloom this place was actually happy. I remember doing a news story on the Kako Foundation a couple years ago, and never did I think I'd actually be in Haiti standing in the Foundation! After the music, the kids got a snack and I was able to give them some balloons from the CSS Cultural Anthropologist and some cards and pictures from a 1st Grade Class in Duluth.

After work at the hospital today, we got to go somewhere very exciting... a grocery store! We had to drive a little ways to get there, but once we arrived, I was in heaven. I love going to the grocery store to begin with, but it's so much better when all you're eating is rice, beans, and granola bars. I was so excited to get peanut butter (that was one thing I left behind in order to pack more medical supplies), jelly, dried cereal, tang, and bread. The imported brands there cost an arm and a leg. A container of Gatorade costs $20 american!! Usually, you can find a locally produced equivalent though.

Following our little grocery field trip, I returned to the compound, changed out of my scrubs, and went with Alex (the brother- in law of the hospital owner) on his motorcycle up the mountain. I have never been on a ride quite like that. It's dangerous enough driving in a car through Haiti, but a motorcycle is even crazier! There are practically no rules. He was flying about 90kph through town and then weaving through the windy road up the mountain. I was holding on for dear life, but those who know me, know I loved the adventure. The only ride crazier than that was when I was on the Snowmobiles driving across the lake in Moose Lake. But, there you didn't have to worry about rubble in the middle of the road, pedestrians, night lighting, or other cars. We went to one of Alex's friends houses and had dinner along with a structural engineer, a controlled demolition expert, and a couple guys from India doing work in the orphanages. It was a nice time and the nightime view above PAP was wonderful.

I got in late last night from my motorcycle ride. I woke up and had to say goodbye to my original crew. Michelle, Linda, and Rod had to leave today to fly back. It was so sad to see them go because I've really grown to care for them. When you're out here working together, seeing the kinds of things you see together, it is a very bonding experience. Plus, most of us are cut from the same thread because it takes a different sort of person to just pack up, leave, and find a way down here. Everyone I've met here has become a friend and what's even better is that I'm starting to build my medical relief team that had been established prior to leaving. The word is spreading through camp that it's something I'm doing and I'm having doctors, nurses, and transport people come and ask me if they can be a part of it. I tell them all, 'Of course, yes you can be!' It's exciting to watch it building.

It's about time for a day off for me. Today, I decided to stay home. Alex was supposed to come and pick me up on his motorcycle this morning at 9am, so I got dressed quick, sat out on the porch waiting for him, and he never showed. We were supposed to ride out to Leogone, a city that was like 85-95% destroyed. I waited for about an hour and a half until he called and said he was still coming and he'd be here in an hour... waiting on the hot porch alone, sad that my friends left this morning, and now pissed off because I just got stood up! I tried taking a nap later in the afternoon, laid around and watched "I Am Legend" on my iTouch. The thing is that perhaps there was a reason I wasn't at the hospital or on the motorcycle today. Perhaps I would have got poked by a needle, or perhaps the motorcycle would have crashed. Again, it's one of those things that didn't go my way (like the videocamera breaking) that I have to just continue to trust in God's higher purpose and plan. In the end, I think he wanted me to just rest, relax, get my mind off of the tragedies I'm experiencing and just simply be. Perhaps he does have plans for me to stay here for a month or two and is just trying to keep me safe, relaxed, and well rested. Either way, I can't be too upset about the situation anymore because as it turned out he had been in some sort of an accident, something happened to his bike, and some friends of his that were an SAR team at the Market trying to recover dead bodies. The whole thing then collapsed and now there may be some rescue workers either dead or injured. Now, I'm not so upset that Alex never arrived. Instead, I got to just relax. The Mexican medical team is coming in tomorrow and the French are slowly fazing out; things are going to be changing with this new group. I'm headed to sleep.


At February 10, 2010 at 1:44 PM , Blogger Cory said...

Hi Julie, All amazing. Your dad sent me a picture on you and the plane you flew down on. That was sweet. He told me he would put me in touch with the group you went down with. I'll wait to hear. My thoughts and prayer are with you and, well, everyone. Cory

At August 24, 2017 at 2:19 AM , Anonymous Urology Surgery India said...

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