I sat in my rocking chair back in January and wept as I watched the continuing news coverage of the devastation heaped upon Haiti by a Jan 12 earthquake. Our youngest children, Grace and Jack, decided we should adopt two Haitian orphans, one girl and one boy, and told their friends at school we might.
While I knew the legal and moral complications of that kind of response made the plan unlikely (not to mention the logistical challenges of our existing life!) still, I was struck by how profoundly inadequate it felt to be writing a check to a relief organization and calling it a day.
So, three months later, when the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas (FAVACA) called Ron Sachs asking for a senior manager to go to Haiti to help with strategic communication planning, I felt that a door had been opened and immediately offered to step through it.
Since then, about a week ago, I have been leaping over hurdles to make this hurried trip possible, with the assistance of many angel helpers. The challenges lined up like dominoes and fell just as quickly: I had to get an expired passport reissued in just three days (thanks to Ray at RushPassport.com); start taking malaria pills and get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, tetanus and polio (thanks to Chris at Tallahassee Primary Care Associates, who has to be Tallahassee’s most knowledgeable person on avoiding communicable diseases while traveling;) get my household ready for a week without me (thanks to my husband, Matt, who encouraged and emboldened me from our first conversation about this;) and tie up enough loose ends around the office to allow me to leave town during the last week of the legislative session. Everyone at Ron Sachs Communications has my heartfelt thanks, especially Ron, for offering me this opportunity and helping to underwrite the costs; Marilyn and Herbie for working through the logistics with me; Alia for her great wisdom and insights as a diplomatic corps brat; Ryan, for weathering the last week of session without me; Lisa G, Lisa N and Ivette for keeping those contracts and client accounts on track; Rosemary and Erin for helping me figure out the technical issues; Gay for the beautiful heart; and David for always having my back (I know you’d come to Haiti and get me if need be.) Special thanks to Chris Beyer with FAVACA for all the support and assistance.
As much as I hope to provide value to the staff of the Haitian Ministry of Culture and Communication, with whom I will be meeting, on many levels, I feel like this opportunity opened up for my own benefit, as an answer to my own prayers. Living in the United States, it’s so easy to take our blessings for granted, to get lost in the busyness of our lives, to forget that every day is a precious gift, to rely on our own steam rather than leaning on God. Embarking on a visit to post-earthquake Haiti, where simple survival is a struggle, I feel my illusions slipping away.