Wow...what a crazy week this has been!
I don't even know where to start, but then end result is that I have airline tickets to go to Haiti on March 12 and return on March 23. I am so utterly and completely excited to go on this adventure. I look forward to helping these humble people that are always in need of help, but especially right now in the wake of this devestating earthquake.
A lot has happened since the decision was made that if I *could* get tickets, I would go. I am going with the Utah County Team of Healing Hands for Haiti. Our team leader is Katie Walther and she is an amazing woman. I am happy to be associated with her. Katie told me to basically get my crap together just in case I could get tickets.
So, yesterday, I managed to find my old passport (expired 1998; got it in 1993 when I went on another amazing adventure with my Dad to England and France - thank you Dad!), my State of Alabama birth certificate and filled out a passport application on line and printed it out. I went to the Provo Post Office and quite frankly, expected some gruff, grouchy USPS employee, which I would only get to after a long line. However, I found that there was only one person in front of me and there were two employees so I got helped right away! It was a breeze and I bet I was there only 7 minutes. The lady warned me that going to Haiti would be devestating, which I told her I knew already.
From there, I got Carson home and to Cub Scouts. My next project: immunizations! I am sure that I have been vaccinated, but I have no record of anything but my 2 doses of MMR and the seasonal flu shot and H1N1 shots I got last fall!
So...I got a tetanus (ouch!) in my left arm, a combination Hepatitis A/Hepatitis B (ouch!) in my right arm and then I also got pills for immunization against Typhoid Fever. I still need to get choloroquine to help protect against malaria. I'll get a 2nd dose of HepA/B before I go but won't be able to get the 3rd dose until after I get back, as it has to be 5 months from the second one.
At this point, I am still thinking it's not really going to happen. People have been checking and checking and checking the airline sites for flights and they have just not been pulling up. It was going to be a task today to find out if they are not pulling up because they are sold out or because they are not selling them. Well, just for kicks, I got on Delta.com last night and guess what...there they were! The exact flights I needed. Then, I checked American and guess what...there they were, the exact flights I needed to get back. Here's the best part...they were fairly reasonably priced, only about $40 more than the cheapest I had heard anyone get them for. I was so stoked! Then, after all was said and done and I had my confirmation emails, I had a small, private panic attack but I got over it quickly. I am going to miss my family terribly.
As all of this has been progressing, I told Carson that I would not keep him in the dark about anything that was going on and so this morning, I told him that I got tickets. He nodded and said he was fine with it. I will be gone on his birthday but he says he doesn't mind because I'll be here for his party (when all this started to come together, we decided to have his party on Saturday the 27th). My mother in law called me at work today and she made a good point and it actually made me feel a lot better. She said, "He'll probably remember this one more than the others because it's different. Just like missionaries always remember their mission Christmases". And I thought, yeah, hopefully he will remember that on his 9th Birthday, I wasn't home but was off in a far away land, trying to do a little good in the world. I am certainly going to try...
Feel free to go to these sites for more information about the group I am involved with:
http://www.healinghandsforhaiti.org/ (main site of the organization and a place where you can make donations)
http://www.chiefhhh.blogspot.com/ (blog of Dr. Jeff Randle, founder of HHHF, who is in Haiti right now)
You can also become a fan of "Utah County Team Healing Hands for Haiti Foundation" on facebook. Lots of good information there. Updates from the HHHF employees in Haiti, etc.