Over the last week, Barry, Troy, John McHoul, John Meadth, Pierre, Junior, and I have traveled on two separate occasions from the southern part of Port Salut, Haiti up to the northernmost part of Cap-Haitien, Haiti. It has been quite an adventure seeing the countryside of Haiti.
You might be asking what the “Run For Life Haiti” is and why is Heartline involved? We will tell you more about it in the coming weeks and months. Just briefly, the following is from the website:
Barry will run 500km or 330 miles across Haiti. The distance will be run over 12 days plus 2 rest days.
The run has 3 main objectives:
1. To raise money to build the new Heartline Maternity Center.
2. Raise awareness for maternal health issues for women in Haiti. Sadly Haiti has one of the worst maternal health systems in the world. We want to highlight this issue and hope the spotlight brings much needed change.
3. Raise the profile of smaller NGO’s across Haiti. These NGO’S impact the lives of the Haitian people every day showing compassion and love and giving hope. Each of the NGO’s that will be highlighted on the run operate on a showstring budget but make incredibly large impacts.
Port Salut Recon Trip
We commence at 4:15am. Traffic is crazy in Port au Prince, so the sooner we can get out of the city the better. Using Beth’s truck, we pack all our equipment and bags into the seats. Troy and I sit in the back with camera’s, computers, and other equipment to record the journey. I made sure to bring the Garmin to record the elevation of the run.
We make multiple stops along the way taking footage of the travels. We capture shots of Barry running along the path. Knowing that this will be the same path he will be doing for the full run. Our goal is to highlight the beautiful parts of Haiti.
Almost all of the news that is broadcast about Haiti is tragic and paints a very dark picture. While this is true for much of Haiti, there are pockets of hope all over this amazing country.¹
The 5 1/2 hour trip turned into an 8 hour trip with the multiple stops but that was the purpose. One of the stops is at a Haitian hospital to see Mamma Emmanuel. To be honest, it is my first time in a Haitian hospital. I had been to hospitals usually just to drop people off, or one other time I was visiting someone they put outside the hospital in a tent.
I walk in and we saw Mamma Emmanuel after her surgery. It was so good to see that she was being taken care of, but difficult because she still looked pretty bad. Seeing her and also quickly realizing that this looks nothing like a hospital in the states, my heart just breaks. Something as simple as seeing 20 flies on the patients’ beds just shocked me – not to mention all the medical equipment and staff missing from this place. I gulp and tell Troy I will be in the car.
I just barely make it to the car and just burst into tears. I am thinking, this is why we are here in Haiti. This is why we need to support Barry on this run across Haiti. We are so so so privileged to have access to quality hospitals.
Pressing on, we leave the hospital and continue to drive to Port Salut. We stop at a place Rachel recommends to us for food. This is probably the best sea food I have ever eaten. I am not accustomed to eating fish with the skin still on but these fish taste so good. It took 95 minutes to get the food so they may have just caught them
We arrive in Port Salut and are able to stay with our good friend Rachael. We first ran into her at the Guest House months back but have since become close friends. Tonight we are thankful to be able to crash at her home.
Rachel is working with No Time For Poverty and have almost completed a 9,000+ sq/ft. hospital in Port Salut. It was so impressive and shines hope into this community. It is such a switch of emotions for me after seeing the other hospital. I am very impressed with this project and how far they have come along on the hospital.
Rachael was so humble in talking about the hospital and especially about what she does. It is no small task organizing and undertaking a project of this size. I know they probably feel like it’s taken forever, but in my Haiti eyes, it seems like they are ahead of schedule!
We settle into a nice evening at their house and are thankful for the opportunity to come visit with this group. This seems like such an excellent spot for Barry to begin the run.
Video made showing Barry running through small town:
¹ Quoted from http://runforlifehaiti.com