Saturday, January 23, 2010

My emotional state

I want to be honest with you all about my emotional state. I am crying a lot more than usual, I find myself getting irritated with others, and I have periods in which I'm unable to keep working with the injured, when I just have to remove myself from the situation and sit alone. I am trying to take care of my own needs -- I"m eating when I should and I'm getting enough sleep -- but still, being constantly in the midst of such destruction and such overwhelming need is taking its toll.

The interesting thing for me has been the bond that exists between me and anyone that has been living through this with me. People like Commander Strong (below on right) and my neighbors at St Joe's, who other than Bill, I never knew that well, make me incredibly happy. Every day, Walnes at St Joe's gives me a full minute long hug. It's the best part of my day. Lele, also from St Joe's, makes me smile. That's rare these days. And my assistant G...well, he would die for me and I would die without him. That's all I can say about that.

TiPatrick, one of the youngest St Joe's boys, was hurt badly when the fourth floor collapsed on him as he ran down the stairs. He went into shock that first night and though I did everything I could for him, I feared that he would die or at least suffer severe long term damage.

Three days ago, the boys came to see us on their way to Jacmel and TiPatrick looks great. Seeing him and hugging him did my heart a whole lot of good!

Fignole, one of the older St Joe's boys, is the one who rescued TiPatrick from the rubble. Another of my heroes!

Aliston was stuck on the fourth floor but the boys were able to rescue him with a ladder. He had head injuries, but nothing too serious. I had just finished treating him when they started screaming to me that they had found Bill's body. Thus started the longest night of my life.

Vanessa made it here on Tuesday night. The surgeon she brought with her did some work at St Damien's and then got sent back to the US (again, bureaucratic nonsense). For me, the best thing he did was filter water for 3 hours. I now have enough drinking water for a week.

Up at the refugee camp, there is an orphanage of 27 kids. They are consuming most of the baby formula I can find.

Haitians are helping Haitians. No other aid is getting to us yet. Someone bought a car full of water bottles and brought it to the camp 3 days ago.

G and I continue to buy food for everyone, cook and distribute it. Contrary to what you are seeing on the news, people in my camp are quiet, grateful, and in perfect harmony with each other. The men monitor the neighborhood at night to make sure it's safe and G checks on my house during the night. I am proud to be part of this community.

All that to say, my sanity is fragile but it's there. More time with the Haitians and less time with relief workers seems to be a better fit for me right now. I still cry very easily and at some point, I will need a very long debrief and a very long cry. But for now, today, I am OK. We are working our way along, one day at a time.


Terry Baugh said...

Thank you so much for all you are doing. It is heroic work. You may remember my daughter Luda from Chop Point. If you have time, please e mail me. I work with several organizations serving orphans and we may be able to help you. Our goal is to enable immediate food and shelter, but as quickly as possible reunity children with parents/relatives and find family care for children. We have the ability to engage people to help the orphans. You can reach me at Sincerely, Terry Baugh, Kidsave International

Katie Kirkpatrick said...

Kez, I am crying for you. The children are so beautiful, the smiles so genuine. God bless you. I promise not to forget what is important, and to remember how incredibly lucky I am to have shelter, food, water at my avail.

Joe Polek said...

We are praying for you daily on the 2nd strongest radio station in Maine... miss you girl!
Joe Polek

Theresa said...

We are continuing to pray for you and Haiti, and that more help and supplies will get to you quickly. Blessings.

Hilary said...

I'm glad you sound so normal. Your emotional state is probably much better than mine would be after what you have experienced. Your last paragraph was great, one day at a time, and more time with the Haitians, especially the children, as that's the reason you're there. I love a room full of kindergarten students, but can't imagine a home of 2 or 3 hundred people.
Remember lots of us love you.
David, Gayle, Hilary and Kelsey

Nicole said...

Keziah, you are doing an amazing job. I am so proud of you and the way you are holding it all together. I cannot imagine how exhausted you are. I get tired taking care of my little family, I cant even fathom trying to take care of 300 people at once, with your limited supplies.
Thank you so much for sharing your stories and pictures. It is difficult for us back in the US to comprehend what you are facing everyday, but your firsthand account helps make it a little more real.
Those boys have certainly been through the wringer! Im so glad TiPatrick is fine, with no lasting damage.

What happened to Bill, if you don't mind elaborating?

Mom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

God Bless you Kez!!

Anonymous said...


CMDR Strong sent me an address and I have four boxes packed so far for you, for him, for the kids. Reading this I will add some formula. I will get them in the mail tomorrow. God Bless you for what you are doing.