My Journey to Haiti: Re-entry into First World Life

Waiting in her Sunday best

It is good to be home.  I mean, really good!  A lot of people have asked me if it was more or less difficult than I imagined.  The conditions in Haiti are significantly worse that I imagined.  I’m just not sure that you can picture that amount of suffering from the comfort of your life in Connecticut.  I feel an obligation to help the Haitians to start to help themselves.  I will forever have Haiti running through my blood.  It’s now a part of me.  I think about it all the time.  I’m reading Paul Farmer’s book, “Haiti After the Earthquake.” He is my idol!  I just can’t get enough knowledge fast enough.

I have to say, though, that my range of emotions coming home is much different than I expected.  People told me that I would want to take the children home with me and that I would be aggrevated with my children when they whine about first world “problems”.  But, I don’t feel any of those things.  I feel like taking a child out of that environment would do absolutely nothing to help Haiti solve the larger problem at hand.  I think I can add much more value as a Board Member of Medical Aid to Haiti, trying to figure out how we can help solve the chronic issues, like available health care and public health education.  I am so thrilled and blessed that my kids have the freedom and naivety (at 7 & 8 years old) to have first world worries.  Believe me, I wouldn’t want my kids to be starving, thirsty and sick.

The trip was much physically harder than I imagined.  It’s difficult living in such hot and dirty conditions without first world comforts.  We spent 1 1/2 hours each day, each way, jammed into a hot van.  We got a 3 minute cold shower each night.  And, there is obviously no air condition.  The mosquitos were brutal, even with 33% DEET.  And, every allergic reaction I’ve ever been know to get flared, from sinuses to skin conditions.  The living is just hard.  But, at the same time, it is totally worth every minute.  Crazy, huh?

I am so grateful to my husband, Rob, for being so supportive.  It’s not easy to be home with two kids all week and worried about your wife’s health and safety.  Without his support, I couldn’t be doing the things that provide me such fulfillment.  And, my colleagues at Key Hyundai and my brother were so terrific while I was gone.  They picked up all the slack and I never worried about work for a minute.  I got lots of hugs when I walked into Key Hyundai of Manchester Monday and Key Hyundai of Milford Tuesday.  It made me feel so great.

So, I’m equally thrilled that I had the experience as I am to be home.  I had to see it in order to further my work for Medical Aid to Haiti.  I am much clearer about MATH’s mission and vision now.  Until the next time….

About Jill Merriam

I am a car dealer (, a Mom to my little loves and a wife to my hubby Rob. I am addicted to my mission to be help people drive nicer, newer cars, leadership development and leading a fulfilling life. I hope you enjoy my musings.
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