Monday, November 29, 2010

this cannot stand..

I sit here tonight and again I am saddened by the indignities that people of Haiti are suffering both in life and in death... please read the following post about the cholera epidemic occurring right now in Haiti. I warn you that it is disturbing but so very true and I thank the author for sharing and allowing me to share with you the TRUE realities that occur when a population is denied the basic rights of clean water, sanitation, health care... We live in a world of abundance when so many have so much that its hard to believe people have to live and die like this... This cannot stand..



Hi All,

First I want to say I am sorry this has been a long time in coming! I didn't really have time in Haiti to blog and since coming home I have been feeling uninspired and sad and although being reflective of experiences is healthy, dwelling in the helplessness of it is not I am!
This past trip and subsequent return have been much more emotional for me because I fear that the people of Haiti are taking up a permanent residence in my heart...and that to me is all at once exhilarating and equally as scary! I can't pinpoint any particular incident or interaction from this trip that has pushed my heart in that direction I just feel a longing and need to return more then I have ever for a place before..and a love and appreciation for the life that is so simple yet so frustratingly difficult at times...

I wish I could share my experiences with you tell you of the amazingly resilient people I saw everyday, how frustrating it was to try and negotiate the land for Roses house, how my heart broke when I saw her current living conditions, to tell you about the dying 6 day old preemie I raced off to Medishare hoping against hope that they would let us in and help us..hoping to keep him from becoming just another statistic of child mortality in Haiti...I wish I could show you the fallen down buildings that still occupy the majority of space, smell the garbage that lays strewn about, to hear the dogs and roosters...because that is what I saw the first two times I traveled to Haiti and its those glaring differences that most people traveling to Haiti usually notice..I know I did

But this time those differences seemed to fade into the background and I found myself falling in love with the things that make us different but in beautiful ways..I wish you could hear the beautiful voices of the nurses as they sang songs to start the day or the singing my friend Ryan and I heard coming up from our camp early one morning, I wish you could taste the warm,soft delicious bread made by Haitian bakers, I wish I could show you the beautiful children dressed in their uniforms rushing off to school amidst the rubble, I wish you could sense the true gratitude of patients after you have helped them... but most of all I wish you could bask in the simplicity of living every moment of everyday because that's all there is...and that is truly the gift I have received from this past trip to that beautiful Caribbean nation! A place I have fallen in love with...

Saturday, November 27, 2010


"Grief can awaken us to new values and new and deeper appreciations. Grief can cause us to reprioritize things in our lives, to recognize what's really important and put it first. Grief can heighten our gratitude as we cease taking the gifts life bestows on us for granted. Grief can give us the wisdom of being with death. Grief can make death the companion on our left who guides us and gives us advice..None of this growth makes the loss good and worthwhile, but it is the good that comes out of the bad."


Hi Everyone,

Just a quick post to tell you all that I am home, safe and sound...Thanks for all the support and encouraging words over the past 2 weeks. Am having a bit more trouble this time re-adjusting to life back please excuse me if I'm a little more withdrawn over the next little while...just processing a lot of stuff...Thanks again..

Love you

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tonight I am writing this in the dark, under a mosquito net, trying to convince myself that I can't stay another week no matter how badly I want too... John Mayer is singing about how life is good and I have to believe that although at times it doesn't seem that way, it truly is... I am going to close my eyes and try and get some rest. Thank you everyone for all the support... I promise to write more later and fill you all in on my past week.. But for now sleep! Thank u Sherri for keeping everyone posted both here and on facebook.. I love you and thank you for figuring out skype on your own for me! Goodnight all.. Love Lise

Friday, November 19, 2010

I spoke in person (yes- on the phone!) with Lise this morning at 8:30. At times the reception was good but at others really choppy. So here is what I understood and my perception of what is going on. Sean Penn has a house in the Northern most part of Haiti (that he is using for the staff who work at the clinic. Lise however, is staying in her own tent on the property). This is one of the homes that was untouched by the earthquake. The home has a pool; and when Lise first arrived last Sunday people were outside enjoying the weather and the water. The atmosphere since then has changed and Sean Penn held a meeting and stated that due to the high need and the political climate at this time they would stay focused and disciplined, and he had decided to drain the pool (sounds frivolous to mention, however, I gathered from Lise that he is an incredible Humanitarian and a man focused on principle and getting the right thing done... so it only makes sense). There are guards around and the staff is only able to go between the compound and the clinic. With the elections going on and the political unrest, safety is obviously a priority. I got a little chocked up on the phone but Lise said, Allister, his wife and their young son are here, and they are very intelligent people so the safety measures must be more than adequate!!!! On Sunday, Chris from Heartline is going to be picking up Lise and bringing her there. And, yes, she did say that travel to Heartline would be safe. Beth was going to pass on the message to Grandma last Tuesday that Lise would be arriving. Lise is hoping that Grandma leaves Rose with her for a couple of days while she is there or at least they have time together on Tuesday when Grandma and Rose come to the clinic. Chris will also drive Lise to the airport on Wednesday. Lise should be able to blog once she gets to Heartline on one of us will keep you posted. I signed off our phone conversation with a really loud "WE LOVE YOU!" So from all of us she knows we are sending love and thinking of her. She will be safe! Take care everyone. Much love and blessings- Sherri

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hi everyone!

I am blogging on behalf of Lise as she is not able to blog or use Facebook where she is. First of- she is safe and doing well, although there is much turbulence in Haiti right now.

Her most recent 2 messages to me were : Day was good and sad. Worked in the cholera tent. Sad little 4 yr old with cholera and possibly liver disease Ryan and I were looking after.
[11/17/2010 05:13:10 PM] Lise Budreo: Hey guess grandmas house is Going to be ready soon!!!!

Of course, she is happy as she is doing what she does best...and I know Grandma's house was a big one for her too! She also sat 100 feet from Sean Penn today too :)
Lise won't be able to blog until Nov. 22- so until that time I will keep everyone updated as I receive messages.

Lots of love and take care
Sherri Birdsell

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Today I was driving around the city getting supplies for my up-coming trip back to Haiti.

I kept getting texts to my phone "MSF treated 200 people with cholera like symptoms in PAP", "60 confirmed cases in Carrefour" to give you an example. With now close to 600 confirmed deaths due to Cholera and with estimates coming in at close to 230k+ dying in the next year from this outbreak I found myself in tears... and as I drove up Victoria Park Hill with tears in my eyes I thought about my friend Matt Cook...

For those of you who don't know about Matt you can read about him in my post here

As it turns out today would have been Matt's birthday. I think about Matt a would too if you had known him! He was an inspiration to those who did... but I must admit that I had not thought about him in the last few weeks, I most often think about him when I am running and want to quit..I think to myself "Matt ran with a prosthetic leg, you have 2 good ones..get going! So to think of him when my thoughts are of despair and sadness for a group of people faced with a fight for their lives does not surprise me.. Cause you see that's the type of fight Matt faced everyday and one he took head on everyday...

And its also no surprise to me that the letters FLM came into my head. For those of you who don't know FLM means "Fight Like Matt". Shannon Szabados (a friend of Matts and goalie for Team Canada Gold winning hockey team) made the letters famous by painting them on the back of her goalie mask, but as the Cook family told me they were coined by Brady (Matt's best friend and older brother). Regardless of how and who started it, FLM means a lot to a lot of people myself included.

The people of Haiti are once again in the fight for their lives... And I thought to myself "I'm gonna help the people of Haiti FIGHT LIKE MATT". I am going to do everything possible in me to help them live... There were many people that helped Matt in his battle against the Cancer that over took his body as there are many people in and out of Haiti helping in the fight against Cholera. So once again I find myself inspired by this truly amazing young man and I thank him for the strength that he gives me to do all I can...

Thanks again Matt. Happy Birthday....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


As I sit tonight trying to get as much news as I can about the tropical storm/hurricane that is about to hit Haiti I am trying to keep as positive a view as I can...but yet I still worry, fruitless to do so I know but one can't help but think of all the little Rose's living in tents (still no house because no land..too much rubble..) and worry what yet another blow will do to the people of Haiti...

As most of you know I will be heading back next what I am not sure and I guess even "IF". But I truly hope that I find myself there in 10 days to do whatever is needed of me.

News tonight out of Haiti is about "mandatory evacuations" by the government..really to where and how...I have been so lucky to be part of an email stream of people working to help those in Haiti..sharing of supplies, staff, information.. its truly been amazing (thank-you Amy King for hooking me up) And although there is not much I can do from here..I guess I will just prepare to return and do what is needed of me...

This article is about the evacuations from the JP-HRO camp to which I will be heading in 10 days...

Thanks again for the support!
Love Lise