Sunday, February 21, 2010


Today as I traveled up to Borel a 60 mile round trip that I make 2-3 times a week I reflected on my last 6 week here in Haiti. It was just 6 weeks ago today Jan. 10th that I returned after a 3 week Christmas Holiday. January and Feb. were scheduled with work teams coming to Haiti weekly but the quake Jan. 12 changed that and we quickly geared up to bring in medical teams instead. This week marks are 6th orthopedic medical team we have had working at our hospital in Pierre Payen.

The last six weeks has gone by quickly it seems like a blur yet it feels like I have been here six months. What is it about time , it is a measurable thing yet at times in our lives it seems so unmeasurable . We all have the exact amount of it 24 hours each day, 7 days each week , 365 days and 12 months each year. God gives each of us a certain amount that we define as our lifetime we are free to spend it as we like. As Christians we are expected at the end of our time to account for how we spent it.

My weeks have been pretty predictable these past six weeks with Saturdays being our team rotation day. Several weeks though we have had a second plane arriving either on Friday or Sundays with nurses. On these airport days I have to make the 120 mile round trip to Port au Prince and on one occassion didn't get back to Pierre Payen till 12:30 pm. On other days I have made the same trip to port to pick up medical equipment or to pick up or deliver my friend Ric Bonnell to the U.S. Embassy. As I said earlier I go to Borel 2-3 times each week to check on construction projects. On other days I go to St. Marc to buy food supplies and building materials.

My days are filled with helping other people who are spending a week in an unfamiliar setting get things done. Everyday brings it's own set of problems to deal with and eventually overcome. Today's was the road construction crew severed (tore out) our water line that runs under the road to supply water to the hospital. Last Thursday it was how to unload a 1 ton x-ray machine from a truck setting out on the road in front of the hospital and get it into the operating room without a forklift or lift gate on the delivery truck. It seems everyday here brings new challenges.

Besides spending lots of time on the road each week, overseeing the needs of the medical teams , keeping the Pierre Payen guesthouse running and solving the problems that each day brings there are other things to squeeze in each day. I have construction projects going on at each compound which are 30 miles apart as well as maintenance, repairs and clean up going on at each place. It often seems that things aren't moving as fast as I like on many of these projects so last week I set deadlines for completion on several of them. Hopefully this will move these projects along for my incoming work teams that will start arriving this week now that commercial airplanes have resumed flying again. Starting in March I will have multiple work and medical teams at our two compounds. Several weeks we will have a medical team and work team at Pierre Payen and also a work team at Borel. My wife will be returning to Haiti in March after 2 months apart and I'm hoping we get to spend some time together at the same compound. As the saying goes "time will tell".

Usually I get up each day at about 6:15 am which is when it is starting to get light outside. Bed time comes at anywhere from 9-10:30 pm and I'm normally asleep within the first 2 minutes of laying down. Thankfully I'm well rested by the next morning and ready to start another day. Yes time is measurable yet also unmeasurable we use many ways to describe it and put all kinds of prefixes along with it as we describe it and measure it. Even as I sit here at Club Indigo writing this (the only place I can get a reception) an old Jim Croce song is playing called "Time in a Bottle" part of the lyric's is "there never seems to be enough of it".

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Last week was a bittersweet memory for me as looked forward for my friend and long time mentor Dr. Vic Binkley to be able to return to Haiti just one last time. His dying wish was to get here one last time and through my friends Wendy Bonnell , Holly Schrader and Shelly Hedrick we were able to grant that wish through the donation of some private jets.

I picked them up at the airport in Port au Prince on Friday Feb. 5 but by Sat. afternoon it was apparent that Vic wouldn't be able to stay through the week as planned and we started making arrangements to get a plane in to take him and Donna back home. They left on Monday evening to catch a 9:30 pm flight back to Indiana. I had left Pierre Payen a few minutes before they departed to buy some bread at the street market in Montrouis it was about 7:30 pm and as they passed by me in their car Vic rolled down the front passenger window and shook my hand and said good bye it was our final conversation.

On Friday Feb. 12th at about 3:30 as I was heading back to Pierre Payen from Borel I received the call that Vic had passed away at 1:15 that afternoon. Maybe fate has nothing to do with it but it was the one month anniversary of what Vic called the worst day of his life the news of Haiti's devastating quake and the doctors report that his cancer was spreading.

As I think about his passing and that I most likely won't be able to attend his memorial service it came to mind that I alone may have the ultimate eulogy to give to his lifetime of service. As his successor I have not only the opportunity to carry on his lifetime love and efforts to establish a great health facility in Haiti but to expand it beyond even what he may have imagined.

God works in ways we don't understand I'm not a surgeon like Vic my abilities to serve lie in working with others and getting them to get involved by encouraging them. I think the term networking is probably the best way to describe how I get thinks done. So when I knew I would be taking over the leadership of Project Help-Haiti I contacted my friends Drs. Ric and Wendy Bonnell they are what I would call the masters of networking.

We were in the preliminary stages of getting a plan in place to develop a medical/surgical program to carry on Dr. Binkleys work when the quake hit Haiti. The disaster just gave us a jump start to get things moving in the right direction . Yes Vic's lifetime of service is going to go on and it is our intention that even before this year ends we will have finished with what Vic intended to be Phase 2 of the Pierre Payen Hospital, that is the best way I can eulogize my friend and missions mentor.