This post is the first of a series
I am excited to be going to do some work in Haiti this October.
My whole life I have wanted to do medical work overseas and now I am seeing a dream fulfilled.
I will be flying from San Francisco to Washington DC where I will meet up with an old friend and PA colleague from school and the team.
From there we will be heading to Miami and then into Port Au Prince.
We will then overland into the more rural areas of Haiti.
I don't know what to expect
I have done quite a bit of travel in my life, but never to a third world country.
Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere, and as we all know, the earthquake did little to better the lives of the typical Haitian.
Access to water is poor, and there is a cholera epidemic among other things. I have never seen things like cholera, dengue fever or malaria. For me it will be a real learning experience.
As a health care provider my goal is to do as much good as I can, not just temporary good, but the kind of good that can change lives. We are headed to Haiti for only one week, and I question how much good we can really do. Sometimes I feel like a medical voyeur, coming then going, seeing and then leaving the situation to go back to my warm home, fresh water and abundance of healthy food.
But the kind of problems that affect countries like Haiti can not be solved overnight. There are more NGO's working in Haiti per capita than I believe anywhere in the world.
Change and Growth
Travel anywhere outside ones comfort zone is a chance to grow as a person.
I will be leaving the comfort of my group to travel on my own for a week. Staying possibly one day in Port Au Prince and then crossing the boarder into the Dominican Republic.
My wife and I had lunch today with a couple, the wife who is US born and met her Dominican born husband while doing work for the Peace Corps in the rural Northwest of the country.
What I realized is that we have a lot of preconceived notions of a place that usually aren't true.
Many people have told me it is foolish to travel alone in these countries. And maybe if I don't make it back to finish this blog they are right. But what are we to do? We have to have faith in the world if we want to grow as human beings.
Beginning the Journey
This weekend I took the family to REI. I had a long talk with their knowledgeable staff about water purification tablets, bug spray and mosquito nets. I plan on packing for the two weeks in a small overnight pack. I have learned the key to happy travel is lightweight travel. This is something I have fine tuned with years of traveling and regrets with packing too much just about every time.
I can't wait to head out and I will be documenting my experience here.
My colleague tells me we have paid for a local Doctor to accompany us, which I assume we must have to work in Haiti as PA's. I am fascinated to see how this works, and even more fascinated to learn a bit of Creole.