I sit quietly in seat number 9A, blankly staring out the window in an exhausted daze. Views of beautiful bright blue water, white sandy beaches and tall buildings cover the shore line of Miami’s South Beach. Here is where I should be crying. Here is where I thought the tears would start to flow and I would turn into an emotional wreck. Instead? I just stare. I just blankly stare out the window. Not exactly sure of what has just happened or of this numbed and confusing feeling. Not exactly sure.
My week in Haiti was without a doubt the greatest experience of my entire life. A bold statement to make, but so completely obvious at the same time. Sitting here, in this different world, it feels as though it might have all been a dream. As if it were perhaps a clone of myself who was there last week. As if it didnt even happen at all. How is it possible to be looking out the window seeing what i see now, only a 2 hour flight away from a country of such extreme poverty. How? Why? I don’t get it.
The things I saw and the people I met. Their stories. What they’ve been through. What their eyes have seen. What their daily life is like. It will forever stay with me. It will forever change who i become. How. How is it possible that this world lives only a 2 hour flight away. That is why it all just feels like a dream. Transitioning from such drastic and almost unimaginable extremes. With a completely new and opened awareness. A life changing and unforgettable experience..
I hear from friends who have been before that the tears will hit me at the most unexpected times. When I’m at work about to hang a readily available medication on an IV pole instead of from a string hanging from the ceiling. When a patient is complaining that their sheets have not been changed in 2 days, when they are fortunate to even have a sheeted bed at all. When I have 3 sinks to choose from to wash my hands, a sink that I could drink out of if I needed. When I am helping a patient to the bathroom, instead of sending them behind the hospital to use the most uncleanly out house I have ever seen or smelled. That’s when it will hit me. In times of simplicity. The simple things that I have always taken for granted. Because I had no idea of the opposite extreme. Absolutely no idea.
I’m curious as to how this experience will change me. Of how it will alter my path. It feels too early to even begin soaking any of it in. In a week, with hardly enough time to eat or sleep, I have only given myself 5 minutes to cry. Thats all i have needed so far. After seeing so much, I know there are many, MANY more tears that will come. I know that I will feel all different kinds of emotion: Anger, frustration, sadness, laughter, confusion. I know I will feel it all.
I spent a week of my time helping the people of Haiti. Little did I know how much I would receive in return. Of how much this beautiful and colorful country, filled with beautifully spirited people, would change my life forever. I know it’s only the beginning, and I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of how much this experience will positively affect me. In only a weeks time, I already feel overcome with a deeper sense of humility, compassion, kindness and calmness. A deeper sense of gratitude. Already. Already i have received so much. I am so humbly grateful for this experience.
Thank you to the people of Haiti for giving me so much in return. For opening my eyes, as well as my heart, more than i ever Imagined was possible. Thank you. I will be back, I can promise you this.
Smile with your heart.
(More pictures and stories to come…..)