The Things I Saw

March 18, 2015

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By Carrie Petersen, team member just returned home from Haiti:

Translator Jean and volunteer Molly evaluate a patient at the eye clinic.

The plan was to blog my way through a week of volunteering in Haiti. But life in Haiti requires flexibility, and this past week, that meant living without the internet. I was able to post one update before the internet came to a grinding halt.

I made a couple more attempts to connect to the world wide web before I shut it all down and breathed a sigh of relief. While it meant that I couldn’t do any online work for Haiti Foundation of Hope, the broken internet also meant that I had an entire week of no personal or work emails, no instant messages, no news alerts, and no social media.

It meant that I had one whole week to be present. To see the three dimensional world around me. To sit without staring at a screen. And this is what I saw:

Nine graduates receiving their certificates after three years of training at the women’s trade school.

A village celebrating International Women’s Day with singing, dancing, laughter and encouragement.

Volunteers on their first trip to Haiti stepping up to teach English lessons all on their own.

A nurse making a house call to treat a toddler whose armed was burned by hot food.

Patients who could see for the first time in years after successful cataract surgery.

A graduate of the women's trade school receives her certificate.

A one-year-old girl weighing only 13 pounds but immensely loved by her father who brought her to the clinic.

Children eating healthy school lunches.

Medical staff missing out on sleep to treat patients throughout the night.

Translators whose care for the patients at the clinic was beyond measure.

Tears of gratitude.

Students studying physics into the night under the only light in the school courtyard.

Mothers of malnourished children learning from their neighbor how to cook healthy meals.

I saw love.

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