Guest Post: Jillian Gabiou

This will hopefully be the first of a few posts from Jillian. She is a PHX local and a long time friend of many at Ropa. As she mentions, not only is this her first time in Haiti, but it’s her first time out of the country. At the moment, she has no medical experience. Because of these details, she likely matches the circumstances of many would-be-humanitarians that might be reading. Hopefully her recount will inspire those out there who need a little extra push to fulfill their relief work potential.

Well, the day is finally here. I will be joining alongside the Peacework Medical team and heading to Haiti late this evening. I received a wakeup call from Colten this morning which made it all feel a little more real. We are actually leaving today. I have talked about going so much that I was annoying myself. I started to feel like one of those people that is constantly talking about the things they want to do and put them off and off and off. But finally, it is all in the present and five of us will be leaving from Phoenix tonight where we will meet up with the rest of the group in Haiti.

This will not only be my first time traveling to Haiti but also my first time out of the country. Colten asked the other day if I was feeling nervous about anything. “Um, should I be?” I then said nervously. There is something about this guy that makes you question your every action when he says only a few words. I guess I haven’t felt nervous because everything about this so far has just fallen into place. When learning there was a non-medical group going, my immediate thought was that I was going, no matter what. My job was incredibly supportive, my instructor gave me the okay to miss class, and I had this money jar that I was saving up for the past year.

A few weeks after I emailed Pam about being a volunteer I found myself at my uncle’s funeral just after Christmas. At the luncheon, filled with over 150 people, I was sitting next to a woman that has been going back and forth from Haiti and across from a woman that grew up there. Obviously this is completely by coincidence, but it gave me a feeling of comfort and encouragement so I haven’t felt that feeling of anxiety. I recognize that I am entering a devastated region and the things I see will hit me like a brick wall once I experience it. At this point though, I’m just excited to be with Pam and Colten, getting to be a small part of what they and others have put so much heart into.

1 comment for “Guest Post: Jillian Gabiou

  1. Cathy Higgins
    01.19.14 at 09:17

    My thoughts and prayers go with you all. I so admire my nephew and all that are involved in this project. A selfless act of love to humanity. Have a safe, productive trip.

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