Day 1: Mission Team Sets Off to Cap-Haitien
Wake up! A yawn leads naturally into stretching the woes of the night away. Brushes teeth! Warm showers always do the trick. Did anyone consider the idea of this being their last warm shower in a week? Probably not. The drone-like sequence is only complimented by its mundane continuation, flooding into breakfast and then something more interesting: phone rings
Naturally that would be the case, BUT it is the 26th of March and today we are going to Haiti! Thoughts of white sands and crystal blue waters at this subtle paradise are interrupted by thoughts of our non-profit organization, KORE Haiti. The 2nd anniversary of last year’s mission trip has arrived with a myriad of new characters.
I’m Benson Joseph, tasked with documenting the minutia of our experiences, emotions, special moments, and our overall trip. Our medical squad has evolved into a cast 18-strong and comprised of medical students, professional students, and medical professionals. We have an additional team this second time around, however we share the same goal. Enthused by philanthropy, our squad is charged up like the energizer bunny after a potent draw of Café Bustelo (as I carefully take a sip).
Onwards and upward, the charge of “Med Squad” marches through the departure gate.
“Wait, wrong way guys! We have to turn around,” someone explains as second-year medical student Christophe smiles sheepishly.
Last night we fortified our new found alliance in qualities like synergy and partnership, grounded in compassion.
Take off! The plane jerks Julianna harshly against her seat. “Tetris anyone?” On this day we get to realize a dream many of us have held since childhood; KORE Haiti’s founders charged us to write our own chapter in continuation of last year’s project. My shirt reads “Kore Haiti — treating with our hands” and that is exactly what we plan to accomplish.
The landing is always harsh. If it’s customary to clap to celebrate a safe arrival, the front half of the avion was not properly informed. A slowly exciting, hectic, bumpy and “uhh, fun?” ride (as enthusiastic professional student Yoldine would describe).
After a slight delay at customs , we all rode off into the sunny and temperate rue of Cap-Haitien.
“We made it safe and sound,” I type into my phone. I felt excited for this trip for the first time because, in all honesty, the idea of leading a group of unassuming students into territory unknown is daunting. First-year medical student Calvin exhales a small sigh. We arrive at the hotel.
More honestly, the idea of treating 350 or more patients and impacting countless lives over the course of five days engenders humbling feelings in me. I’m sure I speak for the whole “Squad” when I say we’re ecstatic to make a change and to fulfill the mission entrusted in us: “KORE Haiti — treating with your hands and leading with our hearts.”
Eighteen like-minded individuals march on, united in an effort to act on feelings of humanitarian compassion. And I am reminded of the country’s national anthem.
Pour le Pays, Pour les ancêtres,
Marchons unis, Marchons unis.
Lights out! La Citadelle Laferriere awaits us tomorrow. If we plan to treat the people, we must first know the rich history that they embody. Bonne nuit until the next installment.