At a team meeting at work, my boss anounced that I'm going to Haiti. Sometimes it's odd for me to realize that not everyone wants to go. I feel so compelled to go that it's hard to imagine that others have no such desire, or are even afraid. I don't feel like a hero; I feel blessed to have been selected!
Shortly after the announcement at the meeting, I sent out the following email to the entire department, many of whom are in different workgroups:
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Some of you have already heard – but many haven’t – that I will be going on a relief trip to Haiti with a team of volunteers from all over the US. I will be gone March 16 – 24.
I feel extraordinarily privileged to have been accepted to be part of this team. We are heading to an orphanage in Léogâne, a coastal city 18 miles west of Port-au-Prince, which was the epicenter of the recent earthquake. In Léogâne, 80–90% of the buildings were damaged, and nearly every concrete structure was destroyed - including the orphanage where I will be based (see below).
This trip isn’t going to be a typical vacation (dictionary definition: a period of time devoted to rest and relaxation). Instead, I think this will be the most difficult trip I’ve ever been on. Our team has to bring all our food and shelter (tents) with us – kind of like camping, except that our days will be filled with clearing rubble, working in a refugee camp, assisting in a medical clinic, and whatever else needs to be done in a place that still has no basic amenities – in other words, no electricity or running water. And I hear that the surroundings aren’t exactly scenic.
I really could use your help. Each relief team member has to bring items that we’ll be leaving behind for the needy. I’ve been assigned to collect and bring with me two suitcases full of batteries. (Remember, there’s no electricity.) I’ll be packing all my personal belongings in my carry-on, and I need to fill each of my two suitcases with 50 lb. of AA, AAA, C, and D batteries. I’ve set up a box in my office for the batteries and would really appreciate your donations!
The link below shows typical conditions of Haitian orphanages. This isn’t the orphanage where we’ll be based, but the conditions are similar - except that the building is no longer standing:
Naturally, I’ll be bringing my cameras, and I’m hoping to borrow a pocket video camera. I would love to have the opportunity to share my experiences with you after my return.
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The reponse for batteries was overwhelming! By the end of the day, I had 100 lb. of batteries! A company that a coworker knew donated the full amount. I was stunned.
"Why are you surprised?" asked my husband. "Didn't God call you on this trip? Don't you think He knows what He's doing?"
I was humbled. And the batteries kept coming in. Last weekend, I drove 50 lb. of batteries to Ohio for the other team member who has to bring batteries because she hadn't been as successful in her battery drive. And the batteries, like God's blessing, just keep coming.