Thursday, December 11, 2008

Live From Haiti: A Recap

I started Live from Haiti three years ago. My husband John and I were spending several months each year in Haiti, and rather than just keep a journal, I thought I'd blog about our experiences.

In those three years, we've made several trips to Haiti and spent close to a year there. In that time, I've written about many subjects, including John's work as a doctor, babies being born, orphans, Haitian Hearts patients, adoption, miracles, Father Gerry Jean-Juste, ordinary Haitians, book reviews, funerals, and Cite Soleil.

So how did we get so involved with Haiti? John first went there in 1981 when he was in med school. He had always known that when he became a doctor, he wanted to help poor people. Haiti was it for him; since becoming a doctor, John has spent part of each year in Haiti.

I went to Haiti in 1990 with my church, which had a sister parish in Haiti. I didn't return until 2003, about a year after I met John. Besides all of his working in Haiti, in 1995, John started an organization called Haitian Hearts. In his Haitian clinic work, John kept running across children and young adults with heart problems that could be surgically corrected; however, there is no open heart surgery in Haiti. Haitian Hearts brings these patients to the United States for surgery. One of our patients, 28-year-old Heurese, will have surgery in Ohio next week.

John and I got married in 2004. With the exception of this past year, we have continued to travel regularly to Haiti. I try to help him with his work as a doctor, and we also spend a lot of time on Haitian Hearts--trying to find hospitals for patients and then coordinating the myriad of details it takes to actually bring a Haitian to the United States. In 2006. we took our involvement with Haiti to a new level when we adopted our son Luke from there. He is the joy of our lives.

A family situation has kept us mostly home this past year, but we plan to stay connected with Haiti all of our lives. I'll keep writing, too. Haiti is a place where problems are real, people need help, life is vivid. It is terrible and beautiful at the same time.


Anonymous said...

Maria--please keep writing to this blog. Many of us read it and can identify with what you're talking about. Any way we can keep that connection to Haiti while we're home is greatly appreciated!

I especially liked your last line that Haiti is beautiful and terrible at the same time. That's so true. And the picture you used of the sunset--it shows how there is beauty in the middle of such awfulness. Each trip I take a sunset picture off the porch of the Sisters compound and I'm always surprised that it never shows the poverty that surrounds us when we're there.

When we came home in October, someone said to me that they were glad I got home in one piece. My response to those kinds of comments is always the same--"I'm not in one piece. I left my heart in Haiti."

We don't return to Haiti until May but I will contact John before that to see if there's anything we can bring down or do to help his people there.

Bondye beni ou.

debbie welter

Maria Carroll said...


Thanks a lot for your encouragment re: the blog--I really appreciate it. Thanks also for your help with getting stuff to people.

Either John or I--but mainly John--have taken almost all of the pictures on this blog. Besides being a great doctor, John is a great photographer. He took this picture on his trip in November. I thought it was amazing--the sunset and also the fact that it is reflecting off the jagged glass that is often on top of walls in Haiti. The beautiful and the terrible.