Mission 4 chapter 1
It is Friday the 5th of Feb 7:45 pm, I am in the auditorium of Riverdale High School in Toronto. On the stage is Riverdale’s string orchestra playing Vivaldi, I happen to love Vivaldi; I also love Lil Wayne and Mary J Blige and all kinds of music. Before the string orchestra there was a Jazz Vocal ensemble of 8 voices; they were incredible, the high school is putting on a benefit concert for Haiti.
I have just flown in from Montreal tonight in order to make sure I am here on time for the 1030 flight tomorrow.
Last Saturday I wasn’t sure there would be another mission, but by Sunday of last week we were sure and we needed again to make it count. We have spent the last week rounding up medicine for PIH. Jude my Air Canada Partner and the man instrumental in making these flights happen, is helping me and keeping me positive. The list was long almost 30 items. We tried different approaches, including begging and cajoling and even being slightly nasty. Personally, I have a hard time when people don’t do the right thing; especially in circumstances like this. The truth is, I felt bad going back to Apotex, as they had already been so generous to us. In the end I felt we had no choice so I called Elie at Apotex and explained what we had done, where we are at and the difficulties we faced trying to get this medicine in a short time.
They worked all night between Thursday and Friday (today) and this morning they delivered more than the first time. I’m not sure if I can describe the joy I felt this morning when Jude called to tell me 72 skids had been delivered by 2 tractor trailers. As I write the Jazz 8 has become a barbershop quartet singing a Partridge Family hit, into a rendition of Tonight from the Broadway West Side Story. Partridge family cover aside these young men are spectacular; really spectacular.
We have more tents on the flight and more medical equipment and all that medicine.
When I landed tonight Duncan, Jude and myself were on our way for dinner when Duncan got a call from a well-known CBC reporter about the concert. She asked him if he would stop by and present the good work he and Air Canada have been doing. This is important, irrespective of what the tally will be tonight it is our responsibility to encourage and empower young people and make sure they know that their efforts are appreciated and respected.
The Quartet is called Rendezvous and I cannot believe the talent of these four kids, I’m thinking it would be nice to have them perform at one of our events. Young, talented committed. Just what the world needs.
We will be leaving for Haiti tomorrow at 1030 am. The communication between us, Air Canada and PIH is becoming second nature, the emails fly around and the coordination is becoming seamless. We also are bringing with us Dr. Lambert and 2 nurses who went home to Montreal for a break.
If it’s Saturday it must be Haiti.
I am humbled by the good fortune we have had to have so many people help us, the partners who have given and supported just keep growing and we are so thankful.
The concert is continuing, there is an adult choir that has come on, they are good but the finale has the high school choir join them in the singing of Lean on Me. The crowd is clapping and singing there is something warm and comforting being here.
A few more acts perform before the Riverdale’s high school band comes on. They are good, the brass and saxophones are good and they play an old Blood Sweat and Tears number which is perfect for the trumpets; it takes me back to my high school days; Lachine High class of 77 trumpet in the band.
After the Band the CBC reporter whose son is in the show comes up and gives the audience some insight of how CBC directed their resources to report on the disaster 3 weeks ago. She shows the clip of the Clinic which was running low on supplies before Duncan saw it and mobilized the forces. When she brings Duncan up on stage the audience stands on their feet and gives Duncan a standing ovation. Jude and I smile; it is a nice moment because it is well deserved. Duncan gives some great comments simply saying that events like tonight continue to show our brothers and sisters in Haiti that we care and want to help.
We leave right after as the evening is finishing with the Fire department Pipes and drums group.
This evening was not planned. It is one of those life moments we will always remember. A random flow of events; in the end what has brought all of us together, the people of Haiti and our desire to help them in any way we can. I am quite sure this scene is happening in many other places around North America. This tragedy has brought out the very best in all of us.
“HOPE BELONGS TO EVERYONE”