It took me a while to post this – half digesting my time away, half extremely ill (still on meds), but man – to say this was a life-changing trip is an understatement.
I left for Haiti very stressed, unsure of myself, and somewhat unsure of my future. Haiti is a funny place….it makes absolutely no sense, and yet makes all the sense in the world. It has this funny way of giving you exactly what you need…whether it’s the perfect group of teammates (who so quickly became great friends), interpreters, or a patient interaction that isn’t just vital signs, but a life lesson.
Brief Life Lessons:
-I met a 103-year-old woman who told me the secret to a long life is loving yourself and being kind to yourself like you would anyone else. She said, “It’s simple. You’ll find it in the Bible.”
-I met an 86-year-old woman who when she first saw me, she grabbed my face and said, “Praise God he let us both awake today so that we could meet.”Each day is a gift.
-I learned to work hard (we saw 2,829 patients in our 2 weeks), and play harder (pretty sure we hold the record for Prestige consumption).
-“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.”- Kevin, a teammate wrote out the Desorata for me… if you haven’t read it…you should…it’ll make you cry. And has a way of telling you exactly what you need to hear.
-Little kids will point and wave at you for being white. They will also shyly touch your skin and laugh at you when you try to speak Creole.
-Speaking of Creole… I am so thankful for my two interpreters who taught me so much. Even though I butchered some things, I was able to triage some patients without an interpreter. It is my goal to get better for next time!
-Finally…the skies in Haiti….they’re unforgettable. I had the pleasure of watching the eclipse from the balcony…no light pollution….just a million stars, the Galaxy line, and the lunar eclipse…it was by far the most awe-inspiring thing in my life. Nothing will make you feel smaller than that. It reminded me that some of this stuff we get caught up in doesn’t matter…we are all a part of a much bigger plan.
Thank you for all of you who supported me and prayed for our group while we were gone. Caring for those people who were so grateful to just have their blood pressure checked… it’s incredible. I cannot wait until our next adventure together, and hope our same group can return, maybe with some new faces, too!
As they say in Haitian Creole…Se pa orweva men nap wè byento! (This is not a goodbye, but see you later!)
-Maggie Ludwig, a first-time volunteer
January Medical Team