Posting from Chicago. We leave early in the AM, so I'll try to keep it brief. (HA!)
Some answers to some FAQs:
How did I find out about this? Through my union, SEIU, which put out a call for volunteers last week. They called me on Monday, 1/18, at which time I confirmed my availability and willingness.
Am I afraid? No. Excited, not afraid. A little panicky when it was time to pack, but no fear.
How can I protect myself from diseases? I've been doing it for years. It's called Universal Precautions. I've packed as many gloves and masks as I could carry and I have some really good anti-germy meds with me.
What if my stuff gets stolen? I'll worry about it then. My important stuff will be with me at all times.
What about everything that was donated, that I can't use? My family room is a mess. If you donated water, I couldn't bring it. I brought much of the food and baby wipes and camping gear and scrubs and toothpaste that was donated, and the $ that was donated went to purchase more. The things I couldn't bring (because of airline restrictions; I'm flying commercial, not on a charter freight like I originally thought) are sadly left at home. If you want anything back, call Fred and you are welcome to pick it up. Like bottled water, which is very expensive to transport. Food will likely be sent on a later flight unless you want it back. You are all so generous! Anything that I can't get to Haiti, if you don't want it back, will go to Gleaner's Food Pantry in Cranberry.
How can I help? Donate $ to a trusted charity. Red Cross, Brother's Brother, International Medical Corps, whatever. Do your homework and make sure that a large % of your donation will actually reach those in need, not going into some administrator's pocket. (Sorry to you administrators out there.)
How will Cece ever survive without mascara? No one really knows. It's never been tried. But really, this trip is about Haiti, not about me.
Why did you cut your hair? To make it easier in Haiti. Refer to the above answer: this trip is about Haiti, not about me.
What did you pack? Gosh. Deep breath. Baby wipes. Tiny towels that expand into big towels. Sleeping bag. Water purification tablets. My camera with 8gb of memory. New socks. Scrubs. Food for 3 days. Water purification system. (My traveling partner John has that. Thanks to SICU!) Gloves, face masks, personal medications. Shampoo. Portable shower. (Thanks, Fred!) Picture of my family. Stethoscope. Hand sanitizer. Candy for the kids. (Wish I brought more!) Sneakers. Watch. More hand sanitizer. Books including "Paris of the Appalachias" by Brian O'Neill, to remind me of where my roots are; and a seasonal missal from St. Ferdinand's Church in Cranberry. Sorry, Fr. Gallagher; but didn't think you'd mind. More, too numerous to mention, but all to keep me healthy and sane for two weeks.
Love you all!
Pray for Haiti.