Haiti through the eyes of a Scientology Volunteer Minister
Nearly three weeks after the 7.0 earthquake destroyed the city of Port-au-Prince, doctors, nurses and other medical workers continue the battle to save lives of the victims of the disaster. Teams of Scientology Volunteer Ministers are providing support to the medical teams at the General Hospital and the University of Miami Hospital Tent that was erected at the Port-au-Prince airport, helping with everything from distributing food and water to cleaning and bandaging wounds, assisting doctors in intensive care units and operating rooms and lending moral support to the victims.
Nicole, a Scientology Volunteer Minister from Los Angeles, left on January 22 on a flight chartered by the Church of Scientology, to transport doctors, nurses and EMTs to Haiti, with Volunteer Ministers for logistics support. Her first day there, assigned to help at Port-au-Prince General Hospital, Nicole was startled to see all the patients had been moved out of the building onto the sidewalk or the grass and were lying there on blankets or cots. Despite the possibility of complications from unsanitary conditions, the likelihood of the hospital collapsing from damage caused by the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks was an even greater threat to the patients’ survival.
Almost every patient Nicole saw had open, bleeding wounds. Most were amputees or were otherwise disfigured. Inspired by the dedication of the doctors and nurses, Nicole took on any task that would free up these medical professional so the patients could get more treatment. “I washed patients and fed those who could not feed themselves. I massaged atrophied muscles. I got people to sing, to lift their spirits.”
Nicole will never forget the patient she called “Miracle Man,” a name she gave him because only a miracle could have kept his emaciated, maggot-ridden body alive. Oblivious to his surroundings, he could not eat his food, so Nicole found baby food, which she mixed with water and fed to him through a syringe. She held him, sang to him, and tried to draw his attention to the world around him.
Suddenly she saw him focus. His eyes no longer vacant, he began to speak. He called her “sister,” telling her he had no one else in the world—she is his sister now. He told Nicole to return the next day, that he will be there waiting for her—he had decided to live.
More than 100 Volunteer Ministers have served in Haiti with the Scientology Disaster Response Team, working in hospitals, distributing food, water and medicine, and providing any other assistance needed by medical workers and other humanitarian groups to bring help to the people of Haiti.