It's always hard to know where to start. The team did so much - Ina wrote about her work in the pharmacy, Emily wrote about teaching the chaplain and a doctor to administer the cognitive test which they did on all the kids, Heather wrote about the wellness checks we did on all the kids, several others wrote about the murals and the time with the kids but all those parts add up to so much more than just a list of tasks that was accomplished. And at the same time we know that there is so much more to be done.
I spent a lot of time driving around Port au Prince gathering supplies, watching what life outside the walls of King's Hospital and King's Garden looks like, and absorbing stories from Dr. Morquette. I often wonder what the life of the children would look like if King's didn't exist - would they still be loving and open and trusting with strangers? Would they still be content to draw and play jenga and listen to the sang English song on repeat for hours? or would they be exhausted and wary from focusing on survival and avoiding exploitation?
Last year one of the teenage girls told us that she didn't have any close friends in the orphanage, that her friends were the foreigners who took time to visit, and that the ones who came back multiple times were like her family. I spent a lot of time with her this year and on Thursday as it got late in the afternoon she asked if I would be back the next day. I told her yes, but that I had to go at the end of Friday, that Saturday we were seeing a different part of Haiti before we went back to the US. It broke my heart that she was so familiar with the routine of visiting groups - short intense bursts of attention and affection then long periods where she receives no individual attention. I was so glad that we were staying an extra day this year and wished it was for an extra week, anything to help make her feel loved and special just a little longer.
Top photo 2013, Bottom photo 2014