Every stone’s throw created a ripple.

I’ve been lucky to meet some truly talented people. Outliers. Originals. The kind of people that inspire you by how they’ve made a difference simply by being themselves. Alan Doyle and Brendan Paddick spring to mind. And Andrew James O’Brien is one as well. Andrew is an award-winning musician with a big heart. He’s always been a huge supporter of Broken Earth and has joined us on our latest mission to Haiti to experience it first hand. That takes guts. But for an artist like Andrew, there is no other way.I asked Andrew to write a guest blog for us. Please, have a read.

– Andrew Furey

 

It’s 12:38am. I’m lying under a mosquito net listening to a child cry. Our bunk room is adjacent to the emergency room, which has been full of activity every day since we arrived here in Port au Prince. It’s tough to hear that sound and not want to get out of bed and help.  My personal qualifications are limited to say the least but the nurses that work the night shift are the best at what they do despite the heat, Mosquitos and the limited resources at their disposal. It’s a surreal thought to think that that child may not make it through the night but equally profound to know that he has a team of tireless and heroic people doing all they can to help him through to morning.

I have seen things here that have changed me in many ways. I’m still trying to make sense of everything down here. The poverty and day-to-day adversity that these people face is staggering. Mental, physical and spiritual duress is constant and seemingly unrelenting. Yet in the face of all this they are resilient, determined and stoic. Fathers stand over their children’s beds until nightfall then sleep uncovered in the open-air courtyard until morning when they return to the bedsides again. Unwavering love.

Patients don’t shout praise from the rooftops. They don’t thank surgeons on their hands and knees for the invaluable service they provide. Instead, they are quietly, deeply thankful. Their’s is a stoic appreciation. Their silence is intensely profound. They are tough and strong willed. They have to be.

I am grateful to the doctors and nurses. I, admittedly have taken for granted, living in Canada, how immensely crucial their services are and seeing them work here in Haiti with limited resources, less than ideal work spaces and literally thousands of patients who all deserve their attention, is absolutely incredible. They work with what they have and when they don’t have what they need they problem solve and push though.

This group consists of some of the most incredible and vital people in the world.

Inevitably, they’ll all return home to their regular jobs and, no doubt, their work will on some level be taken for granted by the ordinary public like myself. Perhaps that’s nobody’s fault. We live in a society where we come to expect their service without thinking or concerning ourselves with what that entails.

I know what it entails now. I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s branded on my brain.

I want to thank them. All of them. So does the man who’s femur was reinforced so he can walk for the first time in three months. So does the mother who’s infant’s heart can pump blood on its own again. So does the girl who had a cleft lip and was kept away from the rest of society. She smiles now.

Profound.

These doctors and nurses do this on their own time, for free, away from their families so that some of the millions of displaced Haitians can have a chance at life.

Dr. Greg Browne, General Surgeon said to me, “We can’t and won’t save everyone. Not even close. But maybe we’ll save the person who will have the answer to all these problems down here”.

Every stone’s throw created a ripple.

– Andrew O’Brien

12 Responses to “Every stone’s throw created a ripple.”

October 30 at 10:24 pm, Karolyn lee said:

Beautiful and profound

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October 30 at 11:14 pm, Ada Norris said:

I just love to read your blog .You are Angels for sure helping our Human race with the hope that someday the one you saved will change her or his whole society. God Bless all of you including my
grandaughter.

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October 31 at 12:47 am, Maureen said:

Thank you Andrew for being there too. Your contribution has help all. And, it seems it has had a huge effect on you too. We have so much to share. You have shared your talent in a time and place that could use an ‘up ” .

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October 31 at 10:15 am, Gillian Marx said:

My friend Anne-Marie is down there as a nurse and I so admire her generosity. I’m sure yours is a gift in the midst of that adversity because every little bit counts. I saw your generosity of heart one day when myself and my friend stopped to chat with you at Fred’s Records. Sondria was battling through breast cancer and we were on our way to the Writer’s at Woody Point Festival…so were you. You ensured her that there would be a ticket for her to come see you play and you were true to your word. What I saw was the profound effect small gestures can make when life has handed you its greatest challenges. You are a star on so many levels. Don’t stop doing what you do. Thank you.

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October 31 at 1:31 pm, sheila martyn said:

In life,when GOD blesses us we must and should become a blessing.

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October 31 at 2:41 pm, Genevieve Banfield said:

A wonderful read. As long as we have people, doctors & nurses and yourself maybe the world will become a better place for all nations. My son is in the Canadian navy and was sent to Haiti just after the earthquake and he described the terrible conditions there. Anyone who goes overseas to help the less fortunate in society are the heroes. May God Bless you all and keep you safe. Thank you from NL.

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October 31 at 5:19 pm, George Power said:

Andrew is a friend of mine and I knew when he went to Haiti that he would see and experience things that he may have only heard about. What he’s experienced will no doubt change him and give him empathy for the poor people who are living daily in a disaster. Equally as important, he will empathize with the many foreign medical staff who come to Haiti and try to help.

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October 31 at 6:11 pm, Colin said:

Thanks for sharing Andrew. Profound indeed

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October 31 at 10:31 pm, Peggy Allan said:

Andrew as I sit here reading your entry it makes me feels so lucky to live in Canada where we have such great healthcare. I admire all the individuals like yourself who have given so much to help those less fortunate.

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November 1 at 12:02 am, Donna Parsons said:

Difficult to express the emotions that I feel after reading your entry -I am in awe of the people that unselfishly give of their time and knowledge to help those who truly need it. It truly is a blessing and a privilege to be able to provide help to people that have suffered so much tragedy in their lives .Thanks so much for sharing.

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November 1 at 12:47 am, Lisa Inkpen said:

When you endeavour to bring out the best in those around you, you will always bring out the best in yourself!“ It is a wonderful way to nurture humanity, through your time and talents! Well done!
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” -Mother Theresa

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November 1 at 11:50 am, Deva said:

Andrew, I am in awe of your courage to make this journey. You are an exceptional person in many ways, but today I’d like to say thank you for writing and allowing us a glimpse into a world we know nothing of. I am saddened this morning for the people there who are in such need of what I know as basic necessities, but extremely grateful that I was born into such luxury and comfort here in Canada. Thank you Andrew and Team Broken Earth for all the fabulous work you do and for inspiring others to continue to make ripples in the lives of those truely in need!!!

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