Haiti: The Mission

In the wake of the disaster in Haiti, I just didn’t feel like writing about food or the latest recipe I have tried. I fell in love with the people and country of Haiti and my heart goes out to them right now. I urge you to donate if you can – small or large, everything will help.

I still had one topic that I wanted to write about after my trip to Haiti – The Mission. The whole reason I was there – and the whole reason I will return.

The Haiti Medical Mission of Wisconsin is such a wonderful organization and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to visit Haiti with them. They take many trips a year – and this particular trip was the yearly Ophthalmology (Eye) trip. The surgeons did about 30 surgeries in the 4 days we were there, in surroundings that are a bit different than what they are used to, but a vast improvement over the operating room held in the church sanctuary in years past.

Most of the patients had walked to the clinic, some walking for days, even weeks to be seen by an Eye Doctor. This could be the only chance they have all year. We saw patients who had been hit in the eye while farming 4 years ago and never received any sort of care. It was generally too late to do anything except give them some protective glasses to protect their other eye.

They waited all day and many were turned away because there simply was not enough time in the day. With the exception of one, I did not hear or see anyone complaining about having to wait all day, or even having to come back the next day.  Or worse, next year.

My heart broke and I fought to hold back tears when the Dr. told a patient that, “I’m sorry, but there is nothing we can do, you will be blind.” It would be a phrase I got used to hearing.



Filed under haiti

12 responses to “Haiti: The Mission

  1. Thanks for posting this! I donated!

  2. Great post and thanks for showing us how important our contributions are.

  3. i love that red cross is making it easy for people to donate — i did and encourage everyone to do so.

    thinking of you emily!!

  4. Dan

    Many people have been asking about any news regarding our medical clinic in Thiotte, Haiti. Pete Vrabec has heard from our friends in Thiotte, a small rural village in southeast Haiti, that their village and clinic were not heavily damaged. They did feel the earthquake, but did not suffer the devastation that has been the case in the capital city, Port au Prince. We have also heard from our friends in Port au Prince who staff the Matthew 25 House (the place we stay when in Port au Prince). The house is heavily damaged, but not destroyed. We have heard (indirectly) that our friends who work there have survived. We have not heard from our friends who are doing interpretation for our medical teams, and we pray for their survival. Phone service is down all over the country. Thank you to all who have helped us help Haiti – please continue to keep the people in your prayers, and donate to the various relief organizations that will need money to start the long process of rescue and recovery. Our surgical team that was to leave for Haiti this Friday, has cancelled the trip because there is currently no commercial air travel in or out of Haiti. Again, thanks to all who donated their old work uniforms, and I will be sending them via sea container this month. – Pete Vrabec, Pharmacy. Note: To donate by text: dial “HAITI” to “90999” and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts. You will see this charge on your next phone bill. Thank you!

  5. savoringsarah

    I totally was thinking of you Tuesday when the news broke. I have donated to a couple different causes…it is so sad…and I wish I could do more!

  6. Thanks for sharing your experience in Haiti. I wish there was more I could do to help, but I’m thrilled to see how many people are mobilizing to help!

  7. thank you so much for sharing this. I was watchign teh new yesterday and just devasted…my thoughts and prayers are with those in Haiti

  8. Mary Speidel

    It saddens me to know that you were just there doing so much good and this unforseen event happens. Keep spreading the word, every little bit counts.

    Haiti’s in our hearts…

  9. I know what you mean, I feel strange blogging about food in the wake of this disaster, but what else can you do? Just have to keep praying and hope it all works out!

  10. this is so awesome. i just really want to give you a big hug right now, because if anything like this happened in thailand, it would be so hard. when you have that personal connection to a country and its people, that is a bond you never forget. i donated, and it looks like everyone is really doing so much to help out. love to you 🙂

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