Haiti: Jim Brown’s Story – The Rest of the week

The rest of my trip with GCOM was spent in the same place in Carrefour. The next day in particular was the best day, in my opinion, in terms of logistics and efficiency. We were a well oiled machine that day. Someone came up with a way of numbering patients to reduce wait times, and this allowed us to spend more time with each individual and focus on them. We managed to get Kool-Aid for the kids and patients, which was a blessing because at this point we were giving them Peanut Butter sandwiches, which is a cruel type of torture if you don’t have something to drink with it. Many of the patients stayed after their treatment and asked to pray with us or to be prayed for, and the day really went by very smoothly and without turmoil or distress.

The team all had different days on which we had to leave, and we were all leaving Haiti at least one day before our flight from Santo Domingo, simply because of the difficulty of travel in Haiti. I was sad to leave, very sad, though I also was longing for a shower and a shave by that point, and my tent had a very peculiar odour to it after all my hard work and nasty clothing. Plus, sleeping on concrete was beginning to cause me to act like an old man in the mornings.

The next morning I got up with the animals again and had my last moment by the broken school and under the stars, and then met up with Anna and Bobby to make our way into Port au Prince to find transportation back to Santo Domingo. The bus station we arrived at had what I could only describe as a riot going on in front of it. As I was later told, some of the people felt that if they could just get over the gate, or even get their luggage over the gate, that they would be able to pass over the border and somehow get asylum in the US. There was also, apparently, a sense that there were a very limited number of spots, so everyone was fighting one another to get through the gate and to get one of these “spots” and get out of Haiti. We arrived at the back of this riot, which was for me quite nerve racking. Anna retained her normal simplicity and composure, and Bobby worked his normal magic with the crowd and got us closer to the gate. I, of course, was stressed out. Eventually some armed guards arrived and from what I could understand of the shouting, Bobby told them that we were Americans and needed to get out. The guards said something along the lines of: “These are Americans, they came here to help us we have to let them go first.” This was not well received by the crowd, and the guards were able to get Bobby and Anna through the gate, but for a minute I was caught outside and was being pulled in two directions. The guards were pulling my arms, and the crowd my luggage and backpack. Fortunately for me, I did not tear asunder and the guards won, and we were able to get through the gates and get on our way back to Santo Domingo.

I wish I could cover more, or really convey how … “successful” this trip was, but the media of written word doesn’t provide me that opportunity. I’m not sure anything provides it, except for experience. If the trip is measured in terms of how much we appreciably impacted Haiti, we don’t measure up to the big boys like the Red Cross or Catholic Charities, but then we never intended to. This trip was about getting directly to the Haitian people, and helping as many as we could directly from your donations to their hands and mouths and hearts, and that is precisely what we accomplished

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