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Haiti-My first Medical Mission I'm helping Midwives for Haiti to educate skilled birth attendants. Haiti has the highest mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere. Here is where I will write daily journals of my adventure.

Day 15

HAITI | Thursday, 26 October 2017 | Views [236]

Day 15~ The long day traveling home.

An early morning wake up at 6am is dreaded. I want to roll over and go to back to sleep and I also don’t want to face the day. I’m not looking forward to leaving Haiti and I’m also not looking forward to all day traveling. I know once I’m on my way, I will get over the sadness of leaving and then become excited to get home to my family and all the luxuries of living in the USA.

Coffee is made and we all start to get our breakfast and coffee. A few of the house staff are awake and some are still sleeping. After I’m done with my coffee, I go into the room, strip my bedding and get ready to go. I finish packing and bring out my suitcase. It is 90 percent full of souvenirs. I gave away nearly all the clothing I brought. Nearly all the food I brought had been eaten but some I leave at the house and some I pack up and take home.

It’s time to go and I go outside after one final walk through. I want to make sure I didn’t forget anything. Toro is outside. It is his day off and its 7am. I’m not sure why he is there but I’m happy to see him. His moto is there, and it has water under it from him hosing off the mud from the trip here. Toro is walking around with a big smile on his face. Something that never happened before.

Jonel is placing our suitcases on top of the jeep and securing them with rope. It’s time to go, sigh, I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye. Sam is hitching a ride with us to Port au Prince and is in the front. Stecy, Dan, Cindy, Judenel, Ronel, Canel are all there. Canel and Judenel are also getting a ride to Port au Prince. I hug everyone and get teary. Soon, Perrine comes to say by. She had told us last night that she never comes out to say bye to people because it is just too hard for her to do all the time. So, she comes out and says she is breaking her own rule. She hugs everyone and when she comes to me she makes a comment on how much of an emotional person I am. I had prewarned my team that I am a very emotional person and they should be ready to see me cry at times.

We climb into the jeep and I place my hands on my face. I’m very emotional and let the tears flow. The girls try to make me happy and say things that make me laugh.  I just hate leaving. I want to stay and help with the Haitian woman. If I had no responsibilities back at home, I’d probably stay. But I can’t because I do have things back home that are very important to me like my family and my job. I soak it all in as we drive through Hinche and head out into the country side. Soon, I’m not emotional anymore and try to enjoy the 3 hour drive back to the airport. It’s hard to enjoy the ride due to the suspension in the jeep and the quality of the windy roads we are driving on.

We arrive to the airport on time and Jonel gets our bags down. Ernest, the man who met us at the airport when we arrived, helps us with our bags and getting us to the ticket counter to get checked in. Winter changes her flight to an earlier one with Ali, so she doesn’t have to sit in Haiti hours by herself. Somehow, I managed to pack my bag to 49.8 pounds without weighing it. I had no idea it would be that heavy, but it was, and I was grateful it wasn’t over. I hate having to take things out of bags and juggling things around, so I don’t go over the weight limit. 

Megan and I check in for our flight and Ali checks into hers. Then we head for security. No problems for us getting through security at all. Then we head upstairs to where the American Airlines gate is located. the airlines has a seperate security check to go through as well. The airport is very small. Near the gate there’s a food court area. Even though we are in an airport, we still don’t trust any food. We are hungry though and decide fries would be a safe bet for ingesting.  The small bag of fries is $5. That is a lot in Haiti. I mean I know that airport food is expensive, but this is Haiti.

 It is time for Megan and I to board our flight. I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye to Winter and Ali. The anxiety is real, and I try to not let the others know I’m anxious for our goodbye. We all walk over to the gate and it’s time for hugs and goodbyes. We have made plans to see each other next year and I really hope that happens. I hug Ali and Winter and the emotions are raw and painful. We have bonded so much over the last 2 weeks and I hate goodbyes, so much.  The girls tell me not to cry and try to do things to get my mind off my emotions. It’s time to go though and Megan and I head for the gate. I am wiping the tears away and turn around and make one more final glance at Ali and Winter. Megan rubs my back because she knows I’m having a hard time. I’m silent and she asks what’s on my mind. I tell her I’m just really sad to go but I know once we are in the air and headed to NYC for our lay over, I will turn my sadness to excitement.

There is a group of people in front of us on the jetway. There are all wearing similar t-shirts and are on some mission for Haiti. I’m wearing my MFH t-shirt and one of the girls turns around and says she likes my shirt and wants to know more about it. She says her and a girl ahead of us are labor and delivery nurses. The girl in front of her asks me if I’m on the Facebook group ‘labor and delivery nurses rock’ and I say yes. She said she has been following me and saw some of the things I have posted and wanted to know more information on the twin mom. I gave her an update and we both thought how crazy it was that we are both getting a flight together and she has seen my post. What a small world.

Tap, tap with my right hand on the outside of the plane as I board. My good luck ritual. Megan and I find our seats and we are lucky again to have exit row seats. I have the window and she is the middle seat. The flight is not full, and no one sits next to Megan. When it’s time to take off, the emotions flood my mind again. The tears stream down my face and we take off. I silently tell the Haitian people I am sorry I can’t do more for them and that they had to be born in such a poverty ridden country. The struggle is real in Haiti. I look down at the country side below me until I can’t see anything more than the ocean. I don’t know when I can come back to Haiti. It will be quite some time and I am very upset about that. I really want to come back and be more involved. But it is not within my means to do so at this time.

The flight is about 3.5 hours and we get in safely. It’s a beautiful flight in to New York city, I love the skyline. When we get off the plane, there is a man standing there asking if anyone is connecting to Seattle. I say we are and he asks us our names. I tell him, and he hands us a bright orange envelope with our boarding passes. This envelope lets other employees know that we have a short connecting flight and gives us priority and skips long lines going through customs and immigration. We get through all that process quickly and smoothly and have enough time to go and eat a real meal. Salad is on our minds because we have been eating a lot of carbs the last two weeks. Our terminal doesn’t have a lot of food options, but we settle on a sit-down bar and take a look at the menu. We decide to share a cobb salad and a turkey melt sandwich. We each wash it down with a cold beer. Blue moon for me, in a glass with an orange slice. So yummy. After we are done eating and finish our beer, we pay the tab and it’s time to go catch our flight.

When we arrive at the gate, no one is there, and they have all boarded. It’s strange because there have boarded sooner than what it says on our boarding pass. The lady sees us coming and says overhead ‘Seattle?’ and we said yes. She apparently has been looking for us. If she was calling our names overhead, we didn’t hear it because the bar we were at had loud music. We apologize for being late and we head down the jetway only to stop half way. There is a line to get on, so we really aren’t that late after all. Another tap, tap on the side of the plane and we find our seats. No exit row this time but there is a man sitting in the aisle seat and he gets up, so we can get in our seats after making a joke the seats are taken. We recognize him from the flight leaving Haiti and tell him. Turns out his brother has SIX orphanages in Haiti and he had gone down to help him.

I’m all settled in and ready for takeoff. It’s gonna be a long flight, 6.5 hours. I’m excited now and no longer sad. I’m just ready to be home now. We talk to Brad, the man sitting next to us. He tells us his kids refer to him as B-Rad. Lol. I think that is hilarious and every time I meet a Brad from here on out ,that is what I will call him.

The flight is long and uncomfortable. It’s a newer plane but it’s still uncomfortable. Pilot comes on and says we are almost to Seattle. We will be in 30 minutes early. I try to send a text to Niles and my Mom to let them know, it will send once I have reception. Looks like I will be waiting for them once we arrive. The decent starts and so does the turbulence. This is common when landing in Seattle and I’m used to it. Megan hates it. I try to say and do things to distract her. We are having turbulence when suddenly the engines roar and the nose of the plane goes up. I tell Megan the landing has been aborted and she was like ‘noooo’. But I tell her the nose is up and the engines are roaring. She opens up the window shade and can tell we are gaining altitude. Then the captain comes on and says we can’t land due to the turbulence and we are gaining elevation and will circle around and try again.  At this time, my text had gone through to my Mom and I tell her never mind, the landing had been aborted and we need to circle. Therefore, we will be on time.

The second attempt at landing was smooth. We actually land on time and once we’ve landed, I send a text to Niles and my Mom saying I’m home and I’ll meet you at baggage claim.  Once at the gate, I put back on my shoes and gather my things. I say bye to Brad. Turns out he lives within a couple miles of me. What a small world! Megan and I get off the plane and head to a bathroom. We have drank 2 cups of coffee trying to stay awake. After the bathroom, we head to baggage claim. After figuring out what number claim to go to we head there. Awaiting there are Niles, my Mom and Tim. Mom has a bouquet of flowers for me and they all stand up with smiles on their faces and give me a huge hug. I’m happy to see them.

Niles gathers my bags from the carousel and I visit with Mom and Tim. Megan has her bag and her boyfriend James is there to pick her up. We all introduce ourselves and I say goodbye to Megan. I’m not emotional when I say bye to her because we live within 30 minutes of each other and can probably see each other whenever we want.

Once I have my bags, we head for the parking garage. We are parked on the same level as Mom and Tim. I say goodbye to them and thank them for coming. It really meant a lot to me to have them come all this way just to give me a welcome home hug. So sweet and thoughtful.

Niles and I get to the car and he puts my bags in. He hands me a red solo cup and a bottle of wine. He tells me to pour some and take a drink. Welcome home! The drive home is nice, and I sit and think about how lucky I am to live where I live. I’m going home to running water, electricity, heat, cooling, grocery stores, my friends and family, a dishwasher, washer and dryer, a vehicle, etc! I love my life and going to Haiti has made me grateful for what I have.

I get inside and dismiss my nanny. Its late and I want to go to bed. The kids are asleep in the living room. They were trying to stay awake to greet me when I came home but they couldn’t stay awake. I place them in bed, one by one. I try to wake them up to tell them I’m home but none of them wake up.

I take a shower, a nice hot shower. Oh, how I’ve missed hot showers. I climb into my nice comfortable bed and go to sleep.

 

Thank you to One Nurse at a Time for the opportunity to lead a group of nurses to Haiti. This mission would not have been possible without your help and the help of all the donors. This is something that meant a lot to me and I’m so grateful to being able to go and help the people of Haiti and save lives.

 

Tags: the long day traveling home

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