With the fourth trip, we see progress and hope
Mission 4 Chapter 4
When we arrive at the Air Canada clinic the changes we see in one week are stupefying, there are more tents and the whole area seems more organized. We meet the director of the clinic who is a woman living in Greece, by way of Scotland, so the accent is quite charming. We have brought a truck almost completely full of food and medical supplies. Mary – Duncan’s wife has the biggest heart she has again brought duffle bags full of shoes and soccer balls and books. The little guy Carlos who has been at the Clinic is becoming an important dream for Mary and Duncan, they want to do everything they can for this little man.
Carlos was orphaned young and went to live with an Aunt and Uncle and his cousins, they were six in the house, the day of the Quake Carlos left to go buy himself a drink, in that instance his life was destroyed, he lost his entire family. Carlos wandered the streets and came upon the clinic and has been there since. Carlos his highly intelligent and has a bright smile and tremendous charm, when we get there he announces he wants to be a doctor. I see the faces of Mary and Duncan and I know that whatever they can do for this little guy they will do.
We spend a little over an hour at the clinic and help unload the truck; Gilles (trusted Air Canada Security Guru) is leading the unloading. He is being guided by John the young paramedic from Boston who has decided to stay for 6 more months. He has taken charge of Carlos and he is truly one of those heroes.
The light is fading and we need to get back, I see Duncan give Carlos a cell phone and teach him how to text and contact them if he needs to. We also get another list from the Clinic including a can opener; they have been using knives to open cans.
We make our way back to the plane and as we approach the airport we see that the area where our palettes were is now completely empty. I cannot believe it. Loune had sent me an email telling me that there were a lot of trucks pulling up and I couldn’t believe it in basically a little over 2 hours they had done the job. Now I know the AC staff helped and that again shows the incredible commitment and compassion of everyone at AC. As well, you have got to give kudos to PIH, they are a so responsible. I had explained to them that we had medication and a lot of it and they were ready.
I am sorry to say goodbye to Loune she has become truly a sister; and I adore her, every time we leave there is a tug at my heart, because I really want to stay and help more. I know this is not the right moment for me, I think we will try to organize a volunteer program with PIH and send people and I hope they will be able to accept them. We are getting dozens and dozens of emails and calls everyday from people who want to volunteer and we want to help but we will need to organize this.
The flight is full as we have over 100 evacuees. Again they are quiet and clearly they have been through some very difficult moments. This is my fourth flight and it still pains me to see our evacuees. The history of the world is full of examples of people forced to leave their homelands. Irrespective of what the nationalities of our evacuees, some are Canadian Haitians who were in Haiti for the Christmas holidays. Then there are parents of Canadian citizens who have been rendered homeless. There are single moms with 3 children who are coming to Canada because they have nowhere else to go. The single mom is pretty and one of her sons is not feeling well, I am helping her to fill out her customs declaration. This is something the whole team is doing, there are two customs and immigration officers on board but with the number of evacuees everyone gets on the job. I ask the pretty Mom for an address and she says she hasn’t one. I ask her if someone is meeting her and she says no. I ask her if she has a phone number of someone we can call when we land, she says no. She is coming to Canada without anything or anyone greeting her. She will land like all of us at midnight in freezing temperatures in Ottawa and she will have no one there for her. The full reality of this hits me and I am saddened, because no matter what the future will bring and we hope and pray that her children will get the benefits of all Canada has to offer; her life will never be the same again and she will have made the ultimate sacrifice for her two boys. I ask the immigration officers what will happen to her and they assure me that they will care for her and find her a hotel for the first little while as she settles. I am curious where she will go, Montreal. Toronto will she stay in Ottawa, I don’t know but as I deplane in Ottawa I look back at the plane we just landed in and pray that all the evacuees will find peace and happiness as quickly as possible.
Judith and I make our way to the bus which is going to take us to Montreal, the ritual continues and we have finished another mission. There are no surprises now we have another flight on Wednesday and only 2 days to turn it around. I am happy as I know we still have medication from Apotex as well as tents and Loune has requested food, no longer is it; “IF IT’S SATURDAY IT MUST BE HAITI, this week it will be Wednesday.
We at ONEXONE can’t say it enough we are blessed beyond words to be able to participate in these missions. We will continue as long as we can and as long as Air Canada and all our partners continue to support us. The eyes of the world are awaiting the results of this outpouring of love, we have an obligation to use our resources and our donations wisely and we need to make sure that people who have given to us feel good about having done it, so we move forward because stopping to look back is not an option.
“Together we can save the World”