Chapter 5 “Haiti Forever”
When I last left you, I had just landed and was on my way home. Maria – the glue that keeps OneXOne going – was at the airport waiting for me with her husband and I am upset. It’s late and I really feel bad that she is out in the freezing weather.
They are so nice; they drive me home and I am exhausted but I am running on adrenaline. I can’t stop thinking of the last few days – the logistical nightmare to get a plane load of goods to Haiti and the work involved, especially on Air Canada’s part. It is still boggling my mind. But I go to bed feeling good about what we did – we started out as two teams (Air Canada and OneXOne), but we ended up as one family.
I am told I have an interview at 7:30 am Sunday. I can’t sleep. CTV wants an interview at 1pm and CTV Montreal wants one at 4pm and CityTV from Toronto wants something at around 7pm. I go to sleep. It’s 3 am and I am operating on very little sleep since Wednesday. I want to talk about what everyone did, and I want to describe what I saw. We have to keep the eyes of the world on this country. We cannot let people forget again.
The alarm goes off at 7:00am to be ready for the 7:30 am interview, but no call ever comes. The reporter forgot and wants to reschedule. OK, no sweat… no sleep, I stay up. 1pm rolls around quickly and I go to the CTV studios in Montreal. I am interviewed in a dark room looking into a camera, and I have an earpiece which is giving me the story of the rescue of the students from Canada – this is great good news.
The earpiece tells me – “90 seconds Ms. Adler” – it comes too fast.
First question – “what did you see on the ground?”
I stop Â– what happened to the logistics of the trip, the partners, the great job Air Canada did. I don’t want to talk about what I saw. I can’t talk about what I saw. I am stammering. I haven’t thought about it. I haven’t processed it. And I am sure that I can’t talk about it.
The pause is monumental and when I start to speak, I am close to tears. I try as hard as I can to control my emotions. I don’t remember the rest of the interview. All I know is that Geoff Dawe, our board member who helps guide our message (amongst many things), encourages me for the next interview. But they don’t seem to get any better.
Monday morning rolls around and I appear on Canada AM – they have always given us great support. I again find myself in a dark room where I am not sure what to look at and it is uncomfortable because I am clearly suffering from post traumatic stress. I am upset but handle the interview much better. I know sharing my emotions and being honest is what people need to see. People need to understand that what they see on TV is bad, but being there is unconscionable.
Two days later Sophie Trudeau and Jeff Feldman of ETALK come over. They want the truth. They want their audience, which is young, to truly understand. Sophie shares tears with me. Her husband, Justin Trudeau, is a fine young man and he is the Liberal MP in a Montreal riding with a large Haitian community. She is distraught and we experience a private moment as the camera rolls.
I am done, I can’t do this anymore. The whole world has been affected. People can’t speak about it without crying.
It’s Monday and I need to get back to work, but I can’t seem to get going. I come back from the Canada AM interview and it’s still early. I am sitting at the kitchen table, not moving. Well, it’s another day and there’s more to do – so I go, and I am happy.
I want to thank all of my team at Diesel – they all volunteered to help get some of the products that went to Haiti packed up and shipped out. They did a great job. They want to hear about it and I say I’ll tell them later, but I never get to it. The call comes from my favorite new friend Jude at Air Canada.
“Joey” he says, “We have a potential new slot time”.
Round 2 of Haiti Forever is about to begin. WOW.
More help, more goods, more work – but OK – let’s go!
There are doctors and nurses from the Jewish General Hospital who want a lift down, plus we still have lots of stuff left over from the first run that never made it on the plane. We also need the medicine that PIH (Partners In Health) have been asking for. Apotex, out of Toronto, comes through with tons of it.
We are really in good shape.
I have to do something for our wonderful police force on the ground who are missing some TLC – peanut butter, bread, some Pepsi and some other stuff. We are getting one of our board members to buy it and then we will put it up top, cause I know Jacques is going to meet us when this flight gets there.
The logistics are more complicated this time because we have to take doctors and nurses. We need to make sure they are all going to have a place to go and to be taken care of – still working on it.
In the end, we are lucky. We continue to be able to get goods there, thanks to the incredible generosity and support of Air Canada. But more importantly, we are also getting our goods into the right hands, right away and making them work almost instantly. This is the difference. We have the logistics done and we are lucky that PIH are so organized on the ground.
These are Labors Of Love. We have to know that none of this is ever imaginable. We all have the single mindedness to go forth, even when there are a thousand details in the air. Well, that’s what it takes to help.
But in the end, the key is that even for those on the ground who can take even one box off the plane, there can never be a more satisfying feeling. To know that with one little gesture, we are able to give of ourselves fully in the aid of another fellow human being.
OneXOne was based on the adage:
If you save one life you save the universe.
We believe in this more than ever before. Because in its simplicity, it teaches us the most important lesson – every life has infinite value and no life means more than another.
We must never forget.
What an amazing gift we have been given. To be there and to know that we were able to do just a little bit to help our fellow human beings.
Haiti Forever – Part 2 is becoming a reality…
“HOPE BELONGS TO EVERYONE”