After joining the organization and participating in the monthly status meetings, other members of the executive committee routinely asked me when I was going to make a trip to Haiti. International travel was new for me; my last trip abroad was about 27 years ago to Switzerland. And, my familiarity with health care is purely as a consumer, or observer, of it. Eventually, the end of a few projects coalesced to allow me the personal and mental latitude to volunteer and go.
To say my experience in Haiti has been a life-changing one does not do the experience justice. Working that closely with a small team, serving the real needs of those in the small village and in the surrounding area, getting to know the parents, the kids, the pastors, the interpreters and all others who were so very generous enough and willing to share part of themselves has no comparable in any experience I’ve had, work related or otherwise.
It’s often said of different experiences - with school, with relationships with others, with work – that “you get out of it what you put into it.” Here, based on my experience, it’s a little different. With Haiti, you get out of it what you are willing to open yourself up to.
The trip to Haiti changed me. Priorities got reordered and rearranged; not simply realigned. The challenge for me now is identifying work stateside that gives me something close to the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment I derived in doing something good like I did in Haiti.
I will find that work and do that work until my next trip to Haiti, which will be soon.
- Andrew Flewelling