Kristen Chapin

Haiti's Rainbow

Kristen Chapin
Haiti's Rainbow

Miracles Happen. Look for Them. 

So often, I look at events in my life and ask “why”. I don’t always see the rationale or reason and therefore, I can’t distinguish a miracle from a burden.

I returned from my Haiti medical trip last night tired and amazed at the miracles that happened right in front of my eyes.  Miracles that I honestly originally deemed to be annoying barriers.

I will admit that this trip to Haiti did not go as planned, well as I had planned. To start off, we had to post pone our original trip due to unrest in Haiti.  I wasn’t sure if I would have a team to reschedule with. I ended up with a smaller team in terms of numbers, which originally made me nervous. What I understand today is that numbers do not make up a team, heart does.

We arrived at our pick-up location at 3 a.m. last Thursday morning and began to load the suitcases with medicine and supplies into the van, at which point I got a text saying our flight was cancelled. I was instantly annoyed and called the airline and argued with them until they agreed to fly us to Fort Lauderdale and then to Haiti that same day.

When we got to Haiti, we found out that city power was very limited and that we would be without power for the duration of the trip. This would normally not bother me, but I knew that there were parents that wanted to communicate with their children, so again my plan was being disturbed.

At this point I expected grumbling, but there was none.

During the medical clinic, we were able to streamline the intake process and utilize each person there to their fullest capacity. We treated 368 people in three days and were finished each day earlier than ever.  This is the most patients we have ever seen on a medical trip, with the least amount of people providing medical care and filing.

We were also able to treat 2 orphanages and I made connections with the orphanages facilitator to come back to Haiti with one of the PA’s father who came with us in May, to provide enough food for both orphanages for a year and look at what can be done to install a water filtration system in both orphanages. It truly keeps me awake at night thinking about how many children in the world are starving and how food cannot save them. We are feeding parasites, not children. Purifying their water, will be a dream come true for me.

Needless to say, the days were busy and we were all excited to go to the beach and relax on Monday.

We arrived at the beach and were soaking in the sun and having a grand old time. We talked about what time to meet for lunch and originally, we decided on 1:30 p.m. but then decided to wait until 2:00 p.m.

I sat down at lunch next to a PA friend of mine, Sarah. We were talking and getting excited for the snorkeling trip that we had planned next. All of a sudden, we heard screaming and saw a crowd gathered around the pool. We all jumped up and ran to see what was wrong.

I can’t remember what exactly happened, except that the other people seemed to be invisible and all we saw was an unconscious child on the side of the pool.

Someone was administering CPR and our first thought was that he drowned and needed to be flipped over on his side. I screamed at people to move out of the way in sheer panic.

We ran to him and checked his pulse and breathing. He was not breathing and had no pulse.

We turned him over, Sarah and Justin (a PA student) opened his mouth and I started giving him back blows to try and get the water out.  Another PA (Kristin) looked at him and said he had a seizure and then began to treat his mother who had passed out.

I am not sure how long this all lasted. All I know is at some point, he coughed up water, he regained a pulse, and the glazed look on his face disappeared and I literally saw life come back into him.

The first thing Joe did when he came back was raise his hand and look to the sky in thanks.

When we were able to sit him on his mother’s lap, she did the same.

It turns out that their family has a history of seizures but this was Joe’s first one. He had a seizure in the pool and drowned.

I cannot begin to communicate the emotions that we all felt. I keep envisioning his lifeless face, just praying and begging that we would be successful as I administered back blows.

We rode with Joe and his mother to a nearby hospital and she told us that God send us there at that very minute to save her sons life.

I have never in my life felt so many emotions at once. I was annoyed that our trip was delayed and we randomly decided to change the time we ate lunch, or we wouldn’t have been there.

I truly believe that Joe wouldn’t be here today if our team wasn’t there.

This is the greatest miracle of my life. That our trip was delayed, that we ate lunch at a different time, and that we pulled together as a team and knew what to do.

Last night, on the way home from the airport our van broke down right off the bridge out of NYC.  The Port Authority Fire Fighters and police came to drag the dead van to a gas station and we had to get another van home.

On the way home it started pouring, thundering, and lightning.

One of the PA students said “Oh my gosh, did we not see enough children? What did we do.”  A couple more miles up the road the storm seized and a full rainbow appeared and we all knew what it meant. No matter what sufferings we endure, we will overcome. We will be strong and courageous, not easily frightened, and not dismayed.  Skies are not always blue. There is no sun without rain, joy without sorrow, and peace without pain, but eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason.