Tuesday, February 02, 2010

an e-mail from Haiti

This afternoon, I received an e-mail from my cousin, Regina, that she has given permission to share. Regina describes what she has done and seen over the past four days since she's been in Haiti. And also, what is needed most: Prayers. And lots of them.

Raymond. I can just imagine that sweet boy in my mind. I do wish there was some simple way Regina could bring him home. Or, send him to me.


Hello All!

I am alive and well, however completely exhausted. We've been here 4 days and there are no words to describe what my eyes have seen and my heart has felt.

The gravity of destruction to a generation of this country is beyond words. So many of the children without limbs simply take my breath away. I have one little boy, Raymond, who I've grown very attached. While trying to comfort him just after he came out of surgery, I was told by the doc that he was all alone. He was recovered in the rubble in Port Au Prince and his family is presumed dead. Hearing that, I scooped him up in my arms and just couldn't hold back the tears. He kept looking at his bandaged shoulder stump and saying in Creole, "All gone? All gone?" Oh, how I wish I could bring him home. And sadly, there are many others like Raymond.

Our days have been very long. We start work at 8am and finish anywhere from 10p-2a. We are taking care of patients that are laying on mattresses on the floor and army cots. We kneel or squat to reach them. The rooms are filthy and all of us nurses have had difficulty caring for our pts in such unsanitary conditions. We do our absolute best, to practice aseptically, as we would at home, but truthfully, it is next to impossible. We often crack jokes about JHACO!! {Jen asks, what is JHACO?} Needless to say, I'll need a full body massage when I get home. Oh, and throw in a pedicure too. My feet are swollen and blistered. Chairs are a commodity here. Any available seats are occupied by the family members who have no where to go, so they stay in the pts wards. Just more people to add to the chaos!

We are doing so much good here. Although I've never been so physically + emotionally drained, I am so glad that I came. I knew it'd be grueling, but I didn't expect to have the feeling of sadness that I've experienced. To look in the eyes of these people, you sense an emptiness. They had so little to begin with and now they have nothing. And, then there are their families who do not hesitate to provide the most intimate of care. Not only do they help their own, but also those who are without families. It is a culture that really looks out for the little guy. And they are so grateful for our presence. In spite of their agonizing conditions, they kiss our hands and pat our backs in gratitude. I just hope that in the months to come these victims will get the rehab they need to learn the necessary skills to have some quality of life with their handicaps. Looking around at the infrastructure of this 3rd World country, it is certainly hard to fathom.

The Caritas contingent is highly regarded down here. I love telling the other volunteers that I'm from Boston. They respond with "Oh, Caritas has been so responsive to this mission!" ... and then they thank us on bended knee. It gives us all such a sense of pride. And thank you Caritas for providing us with Blackberries to keep in touch with our families. I'd never get through this overwhelming experience without hearing the voices of Colin, Andrew and Mary Kate. Their support and encouragement have kept me going.

I haven't had a lot of time to take pictures, but I will get some soon and send them out.

Please keep us all in your prayers. There is very little rest here and we desperately need the support of prayer to keep us going.

Feel free to pass this on. I wish there was more time to write to everyone individually.

God bless.


  1. i am so glad you wrote this post. haiti has been weighing so heavily on my heart, and i feel so powerless. my DH just edited a two part special for The Doctors (a tv show) about the medical needs in haiti right now. i saw the footage and it was the hardest, most heartbreaking footage i have ever seen.

    i often feel like i shouldn't be writing about the good things in my life when there is so much suffering in the world...and the people of haiti could definitely use our prayers. a lot of them.

  2. And God Bless Regina. What she and others from around the world are doing to help the people of Haiti is no short of amazing.

  3. Wow, Thank You and your Cousin so much for sharing this. Please let Regina know that we will hold her in our prayers. We will also be praying for all the volunteers and the Haitian people.
    There was a news article on tv the other night that was Regina's and Raymond's story. Except her time was up and she had to leave the little guy, it just broke my heart.
    Is there anything else we can do beside pray for your cousin?

    On a side note, I'm sorry to hear that you're sick again, but what are you thinking...Swimming in February, no wonder you're sick ;o)

    A second side note, Did you get my note on Saint Anthony?

  4. I believe JHACO is an oversight group similar to OSHA.

  5. By "JHACO", I'm guessing she means Joint Commission, or JCAHO (often pronounced "Jay-Co", at least by people where I am, despite the fact that it doesn't match the letters).


    I'm so glad that people like Regina have been able to go to Haiti and lend their hearts and hands. Much love to her and everyone else.

  6. Wow. What an amazing woman.

  7. Regina. Your amazing. Love, Marg.

  8. WOW....poor sweet little Raymond.

    Regina is a gem; I'm so proud of what she is doing. Thank you for posting this.

  9. She has my prayers and good thoughts and thanks. I am sure it will change her forever.

  10. Thanks Jen for posting this. {I knew you would}. Your blog will certainly reach thousands and those prayers will help a great deal.

    I am sure Regina will return home a very changed person. I doubt that I could endure those conditions. She is very a very courageous and generous person and I am proud to be her sister.

    Peg O.

  11. JCAHO is an org that really looks out for a pts well being while in a hospital. The certification is once every five years I believe and the process can be grueling for hospitals and staff. My personal opinion is that you should never be treated in a medical setting that is not accredited. Ever

    Jen-thanks for posting this. My thoughts and prayers are with Regina and the people of Haiti

  12. Bless her heart. Regina you are a wonderful, wonderful person.