Ayiti, mwen renmen ou
January 12, 2010. How has it possibly been a decade? Ten years ago today, an earthquake struck Haiti, taking over 300,000 lives, pancaking multilevel buildings, leaving over a million homeless, and forever changing the realities, paths and perspectives of countless human beings, including my own. I landed on the island soon after, for reasons I still cannot fully comprehend, yet now know were meant to be on a personal-professional-philosophical-soul-spiritual-universal level. Mesi anpil, ayiti. From the bottom of a heart that gets heavy on this day each year — though otherwise celebrates the richness that Haiti brought into my life and continues to cultivate and radiate — I humbly thank everyone who taught me, inspired me, shaped me, challenged me, worked alongside us at the mad yet magical tent hospital, held me while I wept amid unfathomable tragedy, danced together at Mango Mango, schemed to achieve the impossible, protected me in tenuous moments, joined for The Schoolbag distributions, shared a Prestige (or roadside papitas or uncooked MRE or bag of tablet pistach or rare Barbancourt Cinq Etoile), and above all, showed up selflessly with open arms, hearts and minds in a time of need — whether in the immediate emergency relief, during my dozen trips to follow, and ongoing still today. You are my heroes, my family, my teachers — about life, service, health, children, faith, education, relief, recovery, resiliency, sustainability, motherhood, connection, medicine, love, loss, growth, truly everything. I am me because you are you, and because of our shared experiences, all held deep within my heart (even if we haven't seen each other or interfaced since wearing scrubs side by side in the mud). Infinite images, sounds and scents are forever seared in my mind, like this blessed moment with my dear boy Mack — then a 12-year-old goofball in pediatrics without a certain medical future or family, now a remarkable man who I've had the privilege to see thriving in Ohio and making his father in heaven Big David, his earthly angel of a mother Mama Nicolle, and all of us oh so proud! I love Haiti, believe in Haiti, have hope for Haiti and its beautiful people. Ayiti, mwen renmen ou — then, now and in the decades to come.