Thursday, January 19, 2012

Deep Thoughts on the Eve of Departure

Okay, so I'm leaving for Haiti today (Thursday). I had originally planned on vlogging my thoughts tonight. But somehow time has gotten away from me. It's already almost one AM, and I have to be up in six hours.

So. No vlog. But I will tell you this:

I'm kind of scared.

Like if you told me I didn't have to go, I'd probably consider it.

Leaving my family?


That's got me so down. I had a moment at my Little Bean's school today, volunteering in the library, when I just broke down, you know? It just hit me. I'm leaving for Haiti. There's nothing easy about that.

But I'm excited, too. For all the obvious reasons, not the least of which is the children we'll be surrounded by because of the orphanage. But this just hit me today too--I'm about to get to know twenty-four people I didn't really know before. Good people. With big huge hearts. Some of them medical with healing abilities (Amen to that, baby), and many of them like me--no medical knowledge, but a need to heal anyway. A part of me is just a tad insecure, wondering if they'll like me. Think I'm an idiot. Or weak. But mostly, I'm just excited to get to know them. I wonder, too, if they're feeling the same way, or if it's just a newbie feeling? Or just me? It's sort of like a writers' conference, in that respect...if I were going on my very first one. In the poorest country in the Western hemisphere...

I have no idea if I'll have Internet access in Haiti. I hope so. Hubs is still working on my phone, trying to get it all sorted. But I'll attempt to blog tomorrow (today, technically) from the airport. If nothing else, I'd like you to see the people I'm traveling with. I'm convinced they're special people. I think you'll see that, too.

But, for now, let me catch you up:

This is the medicine I collected and purchased. It's hard to tell here, but you're looking at thousands upon thousands of tablets and bottles, ointments, and drops.

But it wasn't all me. In fact, I did very little of this. Honestly, it was all you guys. Every one of you who donated, helped break down meds, prayed, sent happy juju, encouraged, and all around lifted me and the team up--dude, it was YOU. You are the foundation of this Medical Team. Without you, there is no team. FYI.

I wish I'd gotten a picture of all the medicine when it was spread out as we were preparing to pack it. But I didn't get my camera out until most of it had been scooped up. Even then, it was only a portion, as a lot had been shipped in advance. But oh man. Seriously. I was blown away by the amount of medicine. A veritable Garden of Healing. Freaking awesome. What you see above was just a small percentage.

Here's Dana, our Team pharmacist and Carolyn on the right, Nurse and Team Coordinator. Without these two, the Team would sink. Clearly, they are AWEsome. And I adore them already. Those meds you see are all that was left after the initial shark feeding frenzy, aka packing up grab and go (I make this sound way simpler than it was).

Here we have Dr. Mark (aka Duck), Paul, Dr. Lee, and...I want to say Tom, but only because that's what his name tag appears to say. I'm not entirely sure who this is yet, or if he's going. There were a number of people helping at the packing party who weren't actually going. I'll let you know later if Tom went. He does seem very nice. Duck, by the way, is the guy who is responsible for Mission Haiti Medical. Like, THE GUY. We owe him a lot ("Duck" is a sign of respect. I promise. Story to come later.)

Here's some more packing up. I'm not sure about the two ladies' names. They seem lovely, but I didn't catch their names. I'll let you know about them later. I know the guy, though. That's Pastor Dave, who, by the way, is also resident photographer. His pictures will be much better than mine. 
He gives excellent advice. Because of him, this trip is a little easier for me. I also have a secret name for him...
P.Diddy. But don't tell him.

Here you have a piece of luggage getting weighed. It happens to be my luggage, actually. A little medicine. But mostly make-up (cue snort). It's important we get the luggage all the way to the max 50 pounds. No leaving medicine behind! The guy with the beard belongs to me. I'm not sure about the guy without the beard. But if he's on the trip, I'll find out. And let you know. He does seem quite nice.

And here's me, packing my carry-on, which my husband got up to 60 pounds. HELLO. Apparently, he thinks I'm Hercules. It's now a solid forty pounds, thanks to Carolyn's daughter (whose name escapes me at the moment. It's possible it wasn't Carolyn's daughter either. So. Hm.)

I'm really hoping people will fill me in on these names. Just a newbie here, people.

Anyway, if there's one thing I hope you take away from this is not really how much work is involved in doing a medical mission like this (that's a given--but also really difficult to convey). But rather, I hope you see how it takes a lot of people to make something like this happen. This is just a small sampling of the people involved. We have twenty-five people actually traveling to Haiti, but just imagine how many people were needed to support each and every one of the twenty-five. For me, one of the most overwhelming aspects of this whole thing was the notion that I'm just one person. How much difference can I possibly make? And how in the world can I do this alone?

But we're not alone. That's what I'm coming to understand. That's what we hope the Haitians will take away, too. For starters.


  1. Carolina!! Wow. Wow, wow, wow! Wow.

    I don't think I can add any more! You guys and gals are super duper SHINY STARS! It's people like you who give me faith in the human spirit and the human race! We can all make a difference - and you make a great big mega amazing one by doing this!

    Please be safe, safe journey, safe trip!

    Take care

  2. Carolina, Have a good trip. I know you're going to look back on it as one of those amazing experiences in life.

    Be safe and blog about your trip when you can.

  3. Wow, that's wonderful!

    Be safe, I'll be praying for you.

  4. I don't think that anything anyone could say will ever come close to the feelings you'll have during and after this trip, and for the rest of your life. As someone who once lost everything and received so much support from places like the Red Cross and loving people like you, please know that every person you meet will never forget you, just as you'll never forget them. Safe travels.

  5. Can't wait to hear about it! Have a life-changing experience!

  6. Your suitcase seems to be full of bread. So is beard guy your hubs, then? I always like to get to meet the hubs.

  7. Good luck, Carol! I'm looking forward to reading about your experience when you get back. Now go change the world! A little piece of it anyway. ;-)

  8. Dude, I was so nervous before I left for China a few years ago. Working in an orphanage scared the crap out of me. And it was hard, but also one of the most amazing things I have ever done.

    Praying for you, my dear.

  9. Big hugs for you and the group. BIG HUGS!

  10. Safe traveling - it will be an eye-opening, worldview expanding trip.

  11. oh my goodness, prayers headed y'all's way! What an amazing experience. I can't wait to hear all about it.

    I've sponsored a girl in Haiti for over five years now through Compassion International, so that country holds a special place in my heart. I've heard first hand from the eyes of a child/teen what goes on there, and it's heartbreaking. All the best, Carol!

  12. You'll be fine! And that is such an awesome thing you are doing, Carolina.

  13. You are the change you want to see in the world, Carol! That quote never struck me as quite so appropriate for anyone (aside from Ghandi, lol) before now. Good luck, be safe, and know we're all thinking about you!

  14. Have a safe trip. Look forward to hearing about it when you get back. You are doing a great thing.

  15. Wow! Have an awesome trip and I can't wait to hear all about it.

  16. The gentleman talking to Dr. Mark is Dr. Tim-----he has gone on many of the trips from Chapel Hill UMC.....The Guy holding up and weighing your suitcase is Carolyn Oliver's Son-in-law, Josh..... he has been there since the beginning trips.
    The 2 ladys in the picture with Pastor Dave is.....(kneeling by suitcase) is his wife Kim. The other ladies name is Kathy.
    I am glad to know the Dave has a new nickname!!!
    Have a great trip---it will be truly life changing for you......And just know that those of us that stay behind/home, we too are a bit scared and worried for you all as well.....and sometimes we even break down for no reason and at strange times.....
    Just know we will be praying for you all this week......

  17. Have a safe and nice trip :D I hope and think it will be amazing. <3 Enjoy everything :)

  18. Beautiful post, hon. YOU are an absolutely AMAZING person. AND YAY for everyone who pitched in. It's truly wonderful to see a group of people come together like that for a great cause. God Bless all of you who are making this trip.

    Safe travels. Big *hugs* Much love. Will miss you, but I KNOW you are going to have a life-changing experience. Can't wait to hear all about it <3<3

  19. Great post Carolina, Have a wonderful trip. I certainly hope you can post from Haiti. We family members would love to keep up with the groups adventures and progress!! Take Care and God Bless and keep all of you!!

  20. In case I haven't said it before, I'm in awe of you.


    I do try to live my life in an uplifting manner; try to be generous, giving, inspiring.

    But rarely have I stepped outside of my comfort zone to do so; and never have I stepped on a plane to Haiti.

    So thank you for taking what I've longed to do to the next level. I am beyond proud of you.

    And my best wishes go with you on this journey. Be safe and brave. Then share with us your insights and wisdom.

    Because my friend, you have already shared your heart.

  21. Be safe and have a rewarding trip. You are amazing. Really.

  22. My word, such love and generosity. You and your fellow companions readiness to give to others less fortunate, is truly awe-inspiring.

    Not only will you have a life-changing experience yourself, but will change the lives of those suffering in Haiti. I'm beyond proud of you.

    Stay safe, Carol. You will be in my thoughts. Much love xx

  23. Wow! You're truly an inspiration. So much of time, effort and careful planning ha gone into this trip- I hope it is a success and that you reach safely and return home safely. All the best!

  24. Sorry I'm late. You're on the plane right now! But we said our goodbyes and had our smooches;) You know I love you and will be praying for your mission's success!

  25. GO YOU!

    I got your text! I hope you stay with us, but embrace Haiti!

  26. I'm so excited for you. This is an amazing thing you're doing. You are changing lives and that is what it's all about. Be safe.

  27. Having a hard time blogging from Haiti. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. But I seem to have some access with my phone until about 9:30 PM. But we're all doing well. Haiti is already melting our hearts. Played a ton with the children from the orphanage. So friendly, so happy and precious. It's hot here, but it humid and there's a nice breeze. Had a clinic for the orphans today--even did some preventative dentistry, thanks to Paul who provided us with equipment. It's been amazing. Can't wait til I can get a post up so u can see pictures. Sending our love and hugs from Haiti!

  28. Adventures where you lead with the heart can only end up spectacular.

  29. I love this post of the packing party. It truly captures the essence of what its like at a packing party. I felt just as overwhelmed too...i had no idea who half the people were and whether they were going or not too:) I can tell you that "Tom"'s name is "Tim Pettigrew" he's an internal medicine doc that goes to our church and has gone to haiti several time. His picture can be found on the Mission Haiti Medical website caring for patients. he goes to chapel Hill. I think a lot of the chapel hill members that came to help pack, use it as an opportunity to say hi to the people they've traveled with in previous years. likewise, they've been newbies. Carolyn, uses them to keep us sane. or at least keep us from backing out.:)


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