The Hope of Haiti
Jim Shmerling, DHA, FACHE, President and CEO of Children's Hospital Colorado
Who among us has lost our home, family, friends, and country in mere seconds? On TV and online, we saw Haiti’s national disaster unfold before our eyes, a destruction beyond words.
Before the earthquake, Haiti stood as an impoverished nation in the middle of the ocean and it seemed much more than 2,400 miles away. In the last two weeks, Americans have reached out to Haitians, bringing people from another world into our hearts and homes. Whether we made a small donation, collected supplies, prayed at night, or traveled to Haiti, in ways big and small, we bridged the gap between the fortunate and misfortunate, the weak and strong, the hopeless and hopeful.
Haiti changed us. Children comprise 40 percent of the Haitian population and before the earthquake, more than 350,000 were orphans. Clearly they needed our help. Here at Children’s, our faculty and staff mobilized relief efforts within hours of the quake. Two nurses and four doctors from Children's independently organized a relief mission to Haiti to offer medical aid. They shared their raw experiences with us via blog, painting a picture of chaos and loss, hope and healing.
I want to share with you an excerpt from the blog written by Jennifer Bruny, MD. At the end of her third day there, she and her colleagues witnessed a group of displaced and wounded Haitians singing and dancing in the soccer field behind their makeshift hospital, led by team member Mark Wallace. Dr. Bruny wrote:
“This is the hope of Haiti …We are here for the heart of these people. For the kids who love to dance and sing and continue to do so despite the tragedy around them.”
These words moved me. They show all of us hope in the darkness, even with the world crashing. They show us our own power to affect others and change the world.
We should apply the spirit of the Haitians’ hope in all we do. As we see from Dr. Bruny’s experience, the energy of hope unites those who seem to have nothing. Their spirit shows us that even when the future seems bleak, all is not lost.