Up close and personal

Becca Olek shares her second blog about her mission trip to Haiti…

I’m in the car with seven others from my mission group and four Missionaries of Charity. We’re driving through Port au Prince to what I’ve labeled as “down town.” If I thought I was already adjusting to change of cultures I quickly realize that I’ve still got a long way to go.

The windows are down to make the heat bearable – but that only lets me experience Haiti through my nose. Sometimes I can smell the Haitians cooking fish and bread. Sometimes charcoal or trash burning in the streets. Sometimes waste from the desolated buildings which people have turned into public restrooms.

When I lurch forward I am immediately reminded of the interesting, yet surprisingly effective driving code (as I interpret it): don’t hit anyone or anything. Stick to that and anything goes.

As our small jeep pulls into the gate of St. Joseph’s school and dispensary and see a long line of people waiting I prepare myself for what I’ve come to do: clean and dress wounds.

In the back of the dispensary, surrounded by pills and medical supplies, we gear up. Wash hands and put on surgical gloves. Aprons. We bring out the supplies, pray with the people and watch as the people unwrap their festering wounds.  I watch as an aspirant of the Missionaries of Charity demonstrates what we are to do, but I can’t remember any of the steps; all I can do is stare. But when I can’t hear the usual hum of the city outside and black spots blur my vision, I walk back inside. The sister inside takes one look and me, smiles, and gives me a job organizing medicine.

This morning after mass we shared our prayers for the day. I prayed that all of us would find the face of Christ behind those we worked with today. Well I found him, my Crucified Jesus.

My God, what have you done? Why is it that you suffer all this and more simply to love and redeem me?

The sister keeps working as I silently cry, not out of pity for myself and surprisingly not out of pity for those who bear those horrible wounds. I’m grateful, because they showed me the wounds of Christ, up close and personal.

About Rebecca Olek

Rebecca Olek is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi. She is based in Dallas, and works with Mission Youth.
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