| Oct 30, 2010
I am on the final leg of my trip home with mixed feelings. I am excited to go back home to see my family and friends and enjoy the comforts of life and my routine. I will also miss so many things of my life in Haiti. Being in Haiti, you are fully exposed to life, in its raw and unfiltered form. Of course, this can leave you feeling vulnerable at times, but it also has you feeling more alive and partaking in all that life has to offer. You are exposed to a new language, a new culture, a new way of doing things -- you really need to be self-sufficient and creative to be able to able to provide care for others.
There are fewer distractions of forms of technology, entertainment and activities, so life feels simpler and less stressful in many ways (while stressful of course in other ways). The people are welcoming, warm, accommodating, and for the most part, appreciative. I met some incredible people along the way too. I feel like I was able to make at least a small difference in the many lives that I helped to serve and now I pass the baton on to the next group of therapists to carry on the program.
I hope that the Advantage program, along with Medical Teams International, will be able to continue to recruit the large number of skilled therapists to be able to sustain the needs of the program. The rehabilitation needs of the country continue to be great. Even though the earthquake was more than nine months ago, the rehabilitation needs will continue as people seek services not initially available or need additional rehab as revisions are made to their injuries that may have hastily been repaired in the crisis of the moment. Ongoing rehabilitative needs from the hazards of daily lives will continue to stoke the demands for services. At this point, there are not enough internally trained rehabilitation personnel to meet the demands, nor is there an established training program to meet the caliber of independent problem-solving and critical-thinking skills needed for a physical therapist to function in the capacity that is needed.
I, like so many of the patients I treated while in Haiti, am not sure what lies ahead for me. I know that in no time, I will be swept up in the whirlwind of life. I need to try to suspend this tendency for just a moment. I will try to preserve the lessons that my patients taught me to -- persevere, stay in the moment, see the joy in every day live, tolerate the ambiguity of the unknown, have patience for knowing the right path will come, be open to new beginnings and have hope for the future. The Haitian people have gone through so much, but they continue to show patience, joy, and hope in their lives. They are a truly inspiring example for all of us to live our lives by, and one I hope I will be able to maintain even a fraction of the lessons and lifestyle they have imparted to me.