Today began with a nice walk around Santo Domingo. A leisure breakfast and a warm ocean breeze are so wonderful! I slept rather well and I think that will go a long way to helping me feel better or at least to help my body heal. We left the hotel (all 14 of us and all our bags – we met 11 others traveling to Haiti last night) at noon to drive to the airport. We have met some wonderful MDs and nurse practitioners (NPs) and a NICU nurse from Chicago.
After a quick trip briefing from the UN officer about our bag weights for the prop plane (a World Food Program plane), we re-packed bags to be at the correct weight and shuffled supplies all around in order to get important medical supplies on board. Thankfully, everything made it on the plane – the minus: one person didn’t, but he will fly out tomorrow (for some reason his name was not on the register).
Port-au-Prince. Wow. The devastation is bizarre. One building is fine and the next is rubble. It’s like a huge wrecking ball came through with no apparent purpose, swinging where it may. People lined the streets. Camps (tent “cities”) sprang up around the next turn. Brightly colored pick-ups full of people ferried through the city. Steep streets lined with rubble and street vendors. Bumper to bumper traffic all the way to our destination. Faces with so many stories to tell. Whole sides of mountains cleared, mudslides of cement. So much was lost. So much to still dig out.
We ate lunch at the UN headquarters. It was fascinating to see each different country coming together to serve this country. Such a huge operation and everyone seemed to have a specific duty. They were each on a mission. La Plaza Hotel (my home for the next two weeks) is very nice – too nice it seems. A bar, a pool, and beautiful buildings make you believe, if only for a minute, that you are in paradise. Tomorrow things will change. Tomorrow I will see the reality of disparity on a closer level. Tomorrow will be different.
We got our assignments after a brief orientation/introduction. Corey and I (along with Julia and John – an NP and MD from Chicago) will be going to a rural clinic to do public health work. We leave on Sunday and will stay there until its time to leave. This makes me very excited! What an amazing opportunity. They say the clinics see 120 people or so a day. It will be such a huge learning experience – rich in learning! Tomorrow will be a day in the ER tent. Eileen is working nights tonight and tomorrow. So much is so new!
Lord God, would you be with me as I enter this time of the unknown. I have no idea what to expect – I am even scared that I don’t have anything to offer. I continually need your guidance. I need you to be my hands and my voice. Would you protect me against the evil one. Keep me safe in your arms. Be a healing presence here. Thank you for safe travels and an ease that only you can provide. Thank you for AT&T and free calling – what a blessing! Thank you for your promises. May I find rest in you. Amen.