Selfish, Self-Centered, Self-Seeking, Self-Interested are just some descriptive words we use when we think of some individuals today. In most cases people get involved in something only if this something can acquiesce something greater for them in return. You can always find an abundance of volunteers if there is the promise of a spotlight shining on them, however, this spotlight can’t be any regular spotlight. Its beam must be bright enough to shine on them but cast a dark shadow on everyone else.
How often have we heard, “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mines?” I met the nicest, most beautiful, kindhearted group of people on this trip to Haiti who had no interest in the spotlight shining on them nor were they interested in having their backs being scratched. Instead they willingly sacrificed their time, talents, and finances to bring smiles, to show love, and to provide medical assistance to the people of Haiti. And what’s most interesting? The great majority were not of Haitian heritage, neither did they share the same skin pigmentation as the Haitian people they served.
I find it necessary for you to meet these people, and hopefully by the end of this reading you will find it in your heart to be a better person. I hope you’ll see why life is not about you but about others. I hope you will see that life is not about getting but giving.
What did these volunteers sacrifice to be in Haiti this year? Although they will quickly tell you it was no big sacrifice, you be the judge. Did they sacrifice or didn’t they?
One young man relinquished going on a Caribbean vacation with his family to be in Haiti. He passed up the splendor of turquoise Caribbean Sea, white sandy beaches, unbelievable snorkeling, and umbrella drinks. He traded all this for the dusty roads, 90 plus degrees, and 100% humid weather of Haiti. He traded in spending his week at a 5 star hotel with 24 hours butler service in the tropics for a blow-up bed in the corner of a small open room in a house in Haiti. He did this by willingly using his last few vacation days for the year in July.
Another, they called Doctor but I referred to him as the trooper in our midst. At 81 years old he decided to skip the beauty of Manhattan (NY, NY) and its splendor, rescheduled his Museum visits and some cold few drinks here and there with friends to be on this trip. We glad he came because he was of great help and kept laughing.
Most energetic in our midst were a pair of 16 year old twins and a 15 year old. The 15 year old gave up spending a week at her lake house frolicking and indulging in her Lake House activities. One of the twins gave up soccer practice and games with his friends while the other had to reschedule gymnastic practices and quality time with her friends. This week was with mommy, and Haiti. They missed their dads although they never said it.
We would never forget our captain. We called him captain but he wore many hats. He took care of our safety and security while planning and working out all the logistics to ensure a fruitful day, every day. For him, this trip meant closing his private practice and loosing income while in Haiti. He did so much for the people of Haiti and by the end of the mission he lost his vehicle due to engine fire, by far one of the saddest moments of the trip. This trip could not have been a success without him or the vehicle he lost.
One young man (a paramedic by profession), and his first trip outside the United States, said he was always working so he just shifted his work to this part of the world and was just grateful to be in Haiti helping, expecting nothing in return. Additionally he said, besides working he might have been watching a few baseball games or something else on TV this week. There was no television where we stayed.
A 23 year old Emergency Room worker rescheduled her Disney vacation, went without two weeks salary leaving her dad to pickup her car note, diverted from one week sleeping in late doing nothing and hanging out with friends to visit Haiti.
A well organized, highly energetic, hard working lady with great attention to details cancelled her Canada vacation with family and friends to travel to Haiti. Instead of heading north to Canada she headed south to Haiti and boy was she a tremendous help. She rose early every morning sorting through medication and preparing for the day ahead. God bless her for her dedication.
Another amazing, kind hearted, wonderful lady with volunteering in her DNA, found it necessary to forgo spending much needed quality time with her youngest daughter who will be leaving for college this fall, rescheduled time needed to find clinical sites for her nursing students in preparation for the fall semester made the trip to Haiti to save lives, bring comfort, and provide medical care. Her personality brought a fresh ray of sunshine into whatever room she walked through. She made a difference in the lives of other volunteers as well.
Some people are natural born leaders who operate in the shadows until the right moment.
This trip could not have been possible without the hard work, detailed oriented team leader who stepped into the leadership role at the right time when the team leader and pharmacy staff members got stuck on what was supposed to be a 4 hour flight turned into a 28 hour adventure/nightmare from NYC to Haiti because of flight issues. She gave up catching up with her house work, preparing lectures for fall semester to jump into the leadership role in the absence of the leader to make the operation run smoothly and flawlessly. It would have been an impossible mission jumpstart without her.
We went with one mission… Help others and to place ourselves last. And man this was the most rewarding week ever. We were able to serve more than 1000 people in 5 days.
We all traveled with Helping Hands And Beyond. Helping Hands and Beyond is a 501C3 not-for- profit organization which operates on donations from people like you. Helping Hands and Beyond has been traveling to Haiti providing services to the under privileged people of Haiti since 2008 and has since opened a clinic in Haiti. Helping Hands and Beyond has been providing services not only to Haiti but to people of other parts of the world including people in the United States of America, Grenada, St. Kitts and beyond. Helping Hands And Beyond is constantly looking for volunteers and they are committed to the cause. For more information about Helping Hands and Beyond and to find out how you can volunteer and or donate to future missions visit http://www.helpinghandsandbeyond.org/ or follow HHB on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/helpinghandsandbeyond
Written By: Michael Douglas
July 8, 2015
Established in November 2009, with the desire to extend unconditional, compassionate care to the vulnerable, disadvantage and the impoverished. Our aim is to foster wholeness for all peoples.