Supporting Communities Overseas
“Our trips to Haiti started around 2008/2009. Our friend Lyndsey (an Occupational Therapist), who had volunteered there several times, told us that people with our skills would be really useful, so we signed up. At that time we knew absolutely nothing about Haiti, but we intended to go anyway. Our company was new and just getting off the ground. Money was tight but we felt compelled to go. We rounded up as much equipment we could and set out on our first of many trips” (Al).
“Al went out to Haiti first and on his return he said to me: “Tam you are going to Haiti because you are capable of doing something with nothing”. “I laughed and said I consider this the highest compliment I have ever been paid by you” (Tam).
“It was easy to see how affected Al was by going and volunteering. How charged he was that his skills were being used to help people in a country that had been devastated by this natural disaster. He knew we could help so we went again and again” (Tam).
“The spirit of sharing with others even when you having little to give is deeply instilled from my childhood and youth. My mother always shared what she had with people worse off. Making a difference in the lives of others during our first trip to Haiti was addictive and we are hooked” (Al).
“Haiti is a country with unsolvable problems, I have no illusions of fixing or changing anything. I do know that we can make a significant difference to one child at a time. If I can make one child’s life better, the trip is worthwhile” (Al)
“”We simply want to help. We have an unusual skill set where we know the equipment well and what it can do and can’t do. We work fast and efficiently which is helpful under harder than average conditions. Often our goal is “One person at a time”, so being able to work quickly is important” (Tam)
“These children are no different from the children that I work with in Canada on a daily basis except that there is no funding for surgeries, therapy, and equipment. Because of the inequity in funding these children suffer far more than they should” (Al)
“Along the way we have involved other friends (with some gentle coercion) and colleagues who have given their time and used their skills to help get kids mobile” (Tam)
“A high point of these trips is working beside one of my closest friends I’ve ever had, helping some of the world’s most needy population” (Tam).
“One trip we found a child in a back bedroom, lying on a mattress on the floor. She had a picture of a giraffe pinned to the wall in front of her, it was all she had to look at. Her name was Ashley, the same as my oldest daughter. She had the largest head I have ever seen due to having untreated hydrocephalus. Because of her large head, the staff at the orphanage were unable to sit her up; she stayed on that mattress 24/7. I didn’t have anything with me that day that would work for her so I took notes and measurements and promised to return before leaving the country. We have a very limited equipment selection in Haiti and typically have to create/invent to solve the problems that we encounter. It took a few evenings of work but we came up with a solution that would work and were able to return to that orphanage and get her into the chair and get her outside. To this day, I think it is the greatest work that I have ever accomplished”.