What a day
Since we started HHA, our ultimate dream has been to open a Maternity and Paediatric unit at the hospital in Haiti. It was on our first trip to Cap-Haitien that we witnessed the completely unnecessary and tragic death of an 11 year old called Julie, which opened our eyes to the desperate needs. Driven by the vision and passion of our Medical Director – Dr Toussaint, who was caring for Julie that day and is himself a pediatrician, each year we have got closer and closer to the dream being fulfilled.
It’s not been an easy ride though, especially in the last two years when the buildings have temporarily been used for our emergency earthquake response, spinal cord injury unit, and cholera treatment unit. Yet, this morning the wards finally opened in their intended state – HHA is proud to announce that our Maternity and Paediatric unit is well and truly…OPEN! Photo above taken just a few days ago getting ready for the opening.
However, this morning I woke up utterly exhausted after the emotional events of the last week or so. It’s been hectic on site getting ready for this moment, painting rooms, making repairs, unpacking equipment and boxes, running staff training, reviewing policies etc. Everything built up to yesterday afternoon when we held a small but significant prayerful inauguration. When we planned to open the units on these dates, we didn’t realise it was Easter weekend, and the immense significance obviously couldn’t be overlooked. Yet, with the rain pouring down this morning and the tiredness setting in, I was filled with relief, rather than joyful excitement at the opening…that was until I got to walk into the wards.
Within hours of opening we had two of our first children in the new unit, one critically ill in a coma and currently being cared for intensively by our team. Not being medical I could only watch on as they cared for this vulnerable little girl, who seemed to have been given some form of home made poisonous medicine. I watched on with immense pride, seeing our new team respond with the love, dignity and compassion we had always dreamed would be possible. Since then, seeing the wards actually in action, I’ve felt quite emotional and overwhelmed, tears occasionally filling my eyes, feeling slightly speechless that God has actually made this happen. I never doubted His ability, but to have been involved in this vision has been a great privilege which myself and Reninca really don’t deserve.
This is it. This is the day we’ve dreamed of, right since when we first started sharing this crazy vision. I could write and write, and my minds a little all over the place with thoughts and excitement. However, all I truly want to say is a huge, big, fat THANK YOU to all of our supporters! Today, hope is being bought to life in Haiti, through the provision of compassion which you’ve been willing to share in funds, time, energy, trips etc. I know many of you have sacrificed a great deal to support us to this point, and today you have helped achieve a truly beautiful thing. In a country with the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere, this mornings life saving work has already made it all worth it. As I looked at that little girl being treated, my heart sang for joy, knowing that even if she was the only girl ever to be saved, this whole effort would have been well worth it!
The reality is though that she’ll be the first of many. A thousand births are expected in the next year, our OBGYN Operating Theatre is on standby (almost) and the neo-natal unit commences Wednesday. One chapter ends, another begins, and I really do hope that you’ll continue with us. On behalf of everyone here in Haiti, and particularly myself, Reninca and Dr Toussaint (who’s Dream this first was) – thank you all so much! This is a day we’ll never forget.
P.S. I’ll be updating news page soon with some photos, so be sure to check that out!