Jacky, Vice President of JDC’s Board of Directors, wrote the following post en route from London to Haiti, where he is accompanying JDC professionals in their meetings with field partners and on-the-ground assessment of the situation in Port-au-Prince.
I am dressed in jeans and a sweat shirt, a heavy backpack slung across my shoulders. I look like a student backpacker ... hair whiter, a few more creases on the face perhaps but the same youthful stride ... ready for anything. And so begins my journey to Haiti. It’s 1600 NY time. I’ve just flown in from London ... I’m sitting in front of the check-in area awaiting my travel partners, Shauli and Sam from the Joint, who have experience in disaster areas—the latest being in the recent rescue of Jews under fire in Georgia. Joining us will also be Mandie, who will be coordinating operations out of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
My journey began at Heathrow Airport, where security has become increasingly tight ... everyone has to open their bags; all items are removed and hand-checked before being replaced. My rucksack contains all my needs for the few days in Haiti and in view of the limited space everything is tightly packed—just so. I am dreading this intrusion into my meticulously packed bag which took me—a generally disorganised fellow—the best part of an hour to get together. It is my turn ... “You—over here”...
I approach the bench with trepidation. My rucksack lies across the table displayed for all to see. The first item to come out is a solar powered battery charger equipped to power phones, computers, ipods, etc. (there is no electrical power yet in Haiti). This leads to the obvious questions: “What’s this for and where are you going?” And so I prepare to explain my trip to Haiti ... but I don’t get beyond the word Haiti when tears well up in the security agent’s eyes. She is from India or perhaps Bangladesh ... has children of her own ... feels the pain and anguish of the people of Haiti ... she so wishes she was able to do something in her small way but she has little to give ... I tell her that there is something that she can do that would make a real difference. “You can bless me,” I say, “and I will carry your blessings to the people of Haiti. ” She smiles and with tears in her eyes she blesses me. And so I pass, touched by our brief but moving human encounter ... and blessed that I don’t have to repack my rucksack. Hope to report further as my journey progresses....
Jacky and the team are safely on the ground at the Israel Defense Forces’ hospital.
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