This was my second trip with IMA to Haiti, and my third trip overall. I thought I was ready for what we would see, but found out just how wrong I was.
The details of this trip were handled by Homayon and IMA, taking into consideration the suggestions offered by our team. They were able to discuss time frames for the trip, and we were able to make the arrangements for time off from work. They purchased the tickets and than we paid them back, and it made for a very smooth transaction. They made arrangements so that we all arrived about the same time to the airport, so there was no delay in being picked up. So we never felt we were “stranded” in a foreign country.
Transportation was with a large, enclosed vehicle. This made me feel very safe, and our entire team was together. It was also very nice to have the translators travel with us at times, which I feel just made our team gel even more.
The housing was separate this year, and this made me very grateful. I didn’t feel as if we were in anyone’s way. I must admit, I did miss the time sitting around discussing the events of the day which we did the previous year. This year, each person went to their rooms and there was not much interaction after the end of clinic. If there had been a more central area to gather, with a table and chairs, this might have happened.
We came prepared and packed food for our trip. Homayon made sure that there was plenty of fresh water at the house, so no one had any issues with dehydration. The house was secure and I felt safe, and we were right across from Pierre, one of the translators and a local Pastor that I had worked with before.
This year was very different from the previous year. There were so very many sick people to treat. One that will always remain in my mind was Ode. He was a little one who was very sick. After being treated for 2 days in the clinic, he came to where we were on Sunday, and we knew his condition was grave. Homayon altered the plans for the day, and we spent several hours at a local hospital, before traveling to where Ode could receive more definitive treatment. But he died the next day. This was very hard for me to deal with, as being a nurse we think we can “fix” everything. I was having some problems dealing with all the emotions from this. And even though I was thousands of miles away from home, I could feel that I was surrounded by people who cared. Never once during this did Homayon try to push me to work, and I feel was very caring for what was happening to me during this time. This meant a lot to me. And, because of what I saw and heard, and how people were around me, I was able to come to terms with Ode dying. It still hurts, but I feel this was my way of learning that we can’t fix everyone, we fix the ones that we can. And because of the actions of others, with everyone pulling together as a team, we did make a huge difference during this clinic.
Again, Homayon made everyone feel important, and never made me feel like my suggestions were unimportant. This leadership caused our team to pull together, and the teamwork was like we had all worked together for years, instead of just a short time.
I appreciate the professional way that IMA deals with the trips, how they make everyone feel important, and how the encourage eveyrone to be an active participant in planning future trips. This will lead to continued trips for me with IMA.