Second winds and little wins.

Thank God things slowed down a little yesterday, but I guess that is all relative. Emotions were running high after the first two days, so it was a timely reprieve.

I often get asked, are you exhausted? Today, I did. For the first time in a long time, I felt completely tired. As I was laying down on a stretcher in an empty operating room, I thought about how I was going to get the energy to do a big case.  I thought about the team here and at home.  The inspiration and energy came straight from them, and my tank started filling again. Thanks to you guys for that. Second wind achieved. Back at it.

This trip is the quintessential emotional rollercoaster but there can be some great views that come with it.  I witnessed that yesterday. An ambulance sits with the lights flashing in the hospital parking lot.  Not a big surprise for any hospital, right?  But this ambulance is brand new, and shines with the logo of Team Broken Earth painted on its side.  Thanks to the Malley’s and Collins’ back in Canada, we are able to transfer patients to get the care they need.  I cannot help but smile every time I walk past it. Another little win.

The nurses in the OR have barely had time to sit down.   From 7 in the morning to late into the evening, they never complain and never slow down. We have more work to do then we can ever get done and the push is on.

The eye clinic, run with the Lions Club of Newfoundland, has been so successful. Almost too much! The lines are long lines but all kinds of patients are receiving eye care and free glasses.  This has to be something we do again.

The nurses have been using their down time to teach pediatrics and life support skills while Dr. Paddy Whalen teaches surgical skills to a group of residents.  That will make more of a difference than any individual surgery we do while we are here.

Sometimes I think the need of care is the only constant in Haiti. We visited another hospital and it had what seemed like hundreds of patients, all in desperate need of care and no access.  People were laying on the floor, because the beds were full.  What beds they did have were falling apart.  Maybe the floor was the better option.   We passed through the emergency department and there were people waiting with all kinds of ailments, all acute, for days to be seen.   We are lucky to be making the hospital we work in here a little bit better but this is a reminder of work yet to be done.  Passing by their pediatric ward, my heart pangs and I miss my kids so, so much.

It’s election time here in Haiti.  Apparently that is the reason for escalated violence. It made me think of how lucky we are at home. I mean, regardless of who you voted for, or if you voted at all, you could rest peacefully knowing that there would be no violence, and that the process would be fair. That would be a luxury here and I’ve seen far too many gunshot wounds this week to reinforce that point.

It’s a count your blessings kind of moment. I know I am a lucky man. My kids will grow up in Canada.  They’ll take for granted the rights and freedoms that we enjoy daily.  They will never forgo treatment wondering who is going to pay for a medical bill. They will never worry about being shot when they vote. They will travel around our country without fear and will have the freedom to chase their dreams. A lucky man indeed.

I am always incredibly humbled and inspired by the team members, and this trip is no different.   Everyone using vacation time, and taking time away from their loved ones. Using their skills to help.

A simple concept really. Using your talents to help others, not for money, or for fame, but because you can. You cannot always enact the change you would like to see, but you always can make a difference. That’s what I hope my kids learn, live and breath… to leave this place a little better than you found it.

I am hoping Haiti is a little better today because of us.

– Andrew

8 Responses to “Second winds and little wins.”

October 22 at 1:08 am, Magagie Purchase said:

Thank you, Andrew, and God Bless!


October 22 at 1:59 am, Kim Gaulton said:

Andrew … and your team of professionals make me proud to say not only am I Canadian but also a Newfoundlander, Haiti is a better place because of your hard work and dedication. This world needs more people like you guys.


October 22 at 4:11 am, Arlene Scott said:

Haiti, and indeed the world, is a lot better because of you!


October 22 at 4:49 am, bernielynne said:

Andrew, a very well written and thought provoking post. The privilege of voting and having true options seems so routine for us.
And yes the little wins are the ones that make this a true saying.
— enjoy the little things for one day you will look back and realize they are the big things –Robert Brault. So hug the orphans and hug your kids and know that the difference you made has changed many lives.


October 22 at 11:17 am, BettyAnn Gaslard said:

You guys are amazing and doing such a great job! I’m sure there are so many grateful souls there and appreciate what Broken Earth is doing!


October 22 at 9:04 pm, Mary O said:

Beautiful job Andrew,happy to see the Ambulance which is a big improvement from the back of a truck.very inspiring words.Good luck the rest of the week.


October 22 at 9:12 pm, Jim Maher said:

Thinking about you folks there , keep up the great work ! I Leave you with a favorate quote from mother Teresa that shows her sense of humour
” I know God will not give me
anything I can’t. handle .
I just wish God wouldn’t.
Trust me so much.”

Take care


October 23 at 1:31 am, Mary Trask said:

Wonderful work, Andrew! What a great team of people. It makes me very proud to see what you are doing for Haiti and for all of us. The world is definitely a better place because of you and your Broken Earth Team. BRAVO!


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