The last few days for Team Broken Earth in Port-au-Prince were bittersweet.
After spending nine days together, 32 people, some of whom knew each other beforehand, became teammates. We all became friends. Thirty-two people who saw moments of relief, anger, glee, heartbreak, confusion and elation – sometimes those people were us: Relief after the last surgery scheduled for the day had been completed or when a patient’s haemoglobin is rising when it looked like it wasn’t going to. Anger for the situation good people are put in. Pure glee after watching a child see fine print or distant objects, knowing they won’t struggle through school because they can’t read the board. Heartbreak for the families who carried their loved ones through the gates of Bernard Mevs, knowing they need help but not sure they could afford it, but relief again finding out Team Broken Earth could help them. Confusion as to how some of the injuries happened, how some survived and others didn’t. Elation for how well this team worked and moved.
Thirty-two people gave up the comfort of their own beds, used their vacations to travel to Haiti and work long, hard days to create some change, no matter how big or small.
The last day in Haiti was heartwarming, all smiles and hugs between Bernard Mevs staff and Team Broken Earth. While there may have been protests and gunshots not far outside the compound walls, there was hope and joy within them.
We left with a police escort, looking to avoid the street fires and protests, to return home and begin planning the next trip.
After seven days of hard, challenging, heartbreaking and rewarding work, Team Broken Earth is back in Canada. It’s hard to describe the feeling of home after seeing how people in Haiti live and survive. I know for many of us, a warm shower and the ability to brush our teeth with tap water was a welcome sign of being back in Canada. It’s not lost on us how lucky we are to do such daily tasks without worry.
A week may fly by, but the memories last much longer, and so will Team Broken Earth’s impact in Haiti.