Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Forgetting Haiti

I haven't been to Haiti in more than two years. That's a long time and despite work on behalf of Haitian Hearts and living with a Haitian, it is too easy for me to forget. I'm a middle class American with the concerns, and obligations and tunnel vision that term implies. I get wrapped up in my own world. I'm writing this post on a very full stomach.

My main salvation in this regard is that I also live with someone--John--who spends a few months a year in Haiti. So the poverty, the hunger, the sickness, the suffering remains very fresh to him. Going from this world to that world, back and forth, so frequently is unbalancing, in a good way. It keeps him on his toes and taking nothing for granted. I listen to John and read his posts and so get this urgency in a second hand fashion. But it is better than nothing.

The other thing that helps is that I know some of the individuals who are suffering. I can't emphasize enough what a difference this makes. To actually know a person in Haiti and care about them. It is one of the big strengths of Haitian Hearts for those who host a patient, for those who help care for them in the hospital, for those who meet our Haitian friends when they come to the United States. It makes tangible all of the awful statistics we hear about places like Haiti.

I don't want to forget.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Heurese with her brother Johnny in Haiti. Johnny provides invaluable assistance to Haitian Hearts, helping patients get US visas.

Whoa! It's been a long time since I've posted in Live From Haiti. I do post about Haiti from time to time on my Facebook page. On my page, you can see the show of John's photography that we had to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Haitian Hearts. In the past 20 years, John has brought 200 patients from Haiti to the United States for heart surgery and other medical care. If you are interested in reading more about Haiti (and my life!), please friend me at Maria King Carroll.

Haitian Hearts continues on, and we thank you for your support, which makes this work possible. We currently have one patient, Heurese Joseph, in Cleveland awaiting treatment, and another, Henri Andrique, who will be coming to Colorado in early 2016. One of our biggest challenges is finding medical centers that will treat our patients.

Below is a post from my Facebook page that I wrote in October when Heurese was granted her visa.

Yesterday, Heurese Joseph was granted a visa to come to the U.S. for medical care. For the third time.The common denominator in all of these life-saving journeys is John Carroll. Heurese has been his patient since he met her in 1999, when she was weak and near death from heart problems. He sees her on most of his trips to Haiti, brings her medications, monitors her cardiac and thyroid problems, and accepts her frequent phone calls. He did the challenging and humbling work of finding medical centers to treat her and then negotiated the thicket of paperwork that it takes for a Haitian to enter the U.S. John does this for numerous patients; it's almost as if he has a medical practice in Haiti. He combines compassion, medical skill, and perseverance and treats his Haitian patients like we all want to be treated by our physicians. Thank you, John, for all your good work and your example to me and so many others. Luke e mwen--nou renmen ou anpil. Kenbe fem!

John by the Illinois River in downtown Peoria.