Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Being here has taught me many things. The other day I had a conversation with my friend Jen who has been coming back and forth to Haiti for over the past 10 years. We talked about a lot of things but the one thing that she said that rings in my head every time I sit down to write this blog is how we, the "we" being people like me who recount and tell you all stories about our trips down here...and how "we" may not be representing the people and events properly... and that everyone, myself included need to really think before we write about the lives of others...

She was/is so right..

I started to look at myself and this blog like it has the potential to become like the old school game of telephone, where one person starts a story and it travels around a circle changing with each person it goes through...

Imagine you meet someone and have a brief encounter with that person, say they care for your child during a brief hospital stay. Now imagine unbeknownst to you that person has taken pictures of themselves with your child. That person has also read the hospital file that reports the vague details of your's and your child's case. Now that person has left their position in the caring for you and your child.. Imagine a year later you stumble upon a website with your child picture on it and a very inaccurate description of your hospital stay..a very inaccurate accounting of your child and your lives and how the person's brief encounter with the both of you had affected them so much they just had to write about it...

How would that make you feel?

I know in the past I have written a number of blog posts about people... for the most part I would say I was pretty accurate about the stories.. "pretty accurate" isn't good enough.. I know that now... I will do better!

I will however continue to write about me and how the situations here make me feel...how the people here make me feel...

Tonight a very sick man sang a song to me... had to hold back the tears...because people have the potential to move you if your open to them..in Canada or Haiti or really anyplace....

night from Haiti...


  1. Thanks for writing this, for making me and (hopefully) others reevaluate how we portray others, especially those vulnerable patients that have trusted us enough to ask for our help. The addendum I would add, though, would be that an 'accurate' description or memory of an encounter can be a very subjective thing. Our memories of people and events are shaped by who we are, and how we choose to view life, and that can't be helped. All we can do is portray others as truthfully and kindly as our memories permit, and acknowledge that they are indeed just our memories and our perceptions.

    What has burned me more than a little is the attitude I have seen some take towards people in developing countries, as if they are not just as deserving of respect and privacy as anyone in the first world. In my opinion far too much exploitation of struggling people is done by medical 'tourists' who swoop in to nab pictures and stories with which to enthral people back home, and then make a quick exit, smug and self-congratulatory in the assurance that they have made a difference. I wonder if they have any inkling what a legacy of resentment and bitterness they are contributing to.

    I have enjoyed reading your blog very much, because I can tell you are there for what you can give, and how you can truly help others. The insights and stories you get in return (and share with the rest of us) are received gratefully and shared generously and respectfully. You are passing along the gifts these people give you, and I wouldn't worry too much about whether you are doing a disservice to those in your care. Too me at least, it feels more like you are honouring them.

    Keep up what you're doing, I'm envious that you're out in Haiti again. We volunteered together briefly at Bernard Mevs last summer, but you probably don't remember me.

    Wishing you all the best,
    ~ Heather

    1. Heather,
      Of course I remember you and thanks to Jason I was able to follow your travels thru your blog. Thank you for your words, I completely agree!take care