I arrived in Haiti on the second charter flight from Los Angeles on the 21 January 2010. For the first day we were just establishing the camp, putting up tents, sorting supplies etc. We then went on a project at University of Miami Hospital in Port-au-Prince at the request of one the head doctors. This ended up being the project I would work on for the next two weeks.
When we first arrived at University of Miami Hospital we didn’t get the warmest welcome. They didn’t allow us to bring any more than four volunteers and we were stopped by the not-too-friendly Special Forces security when we arrived. We explained that we were there upon request but they didn’t let us go until we had them talk to the head doctor. Once in, we asked what was needed and they had us organize one corner of the hospital supply tent. We then moved on to the food section of the tent and this is where the hospital staff could see what we could do for them.
We worked fast in organizing the piles of random cans and boxes. After a while our progress was easily seen. The woman who worked in the supply tent saw this and said “Wow! You Scientologist guys rock!” She then requested as many volunteers as we could offer. By the end of that day there were over 16 volunteers working in the tent at one time. From then on we were the unofficial in charges of the supply tent. The woman technically running the tent was telling doctors and nurses who came looking for supplies to ask the Volunteer Ministers if they needed to find something, not her!
By the end of our stay there we had that place in ship shape. There were clearly defined rows of supplies that were organized into categories with signs to match. We received many thank yous from the doctors, nurses and staff of the hospital.
At that point priorities began to change in the camp so most of the team moved onto different projects and only three Volunteer Ministers stayed back to work on the operating room. I was then posted to oversee several projects, at the Miami Hospital, General Hospital, the orphanage, the Mexican team (or “Topos team”) and the Haitian delivery team. I thought it would be a good idea to get familiar with the teams I’d be over so I went out with a different team every day for the next couple days.
While I was visiting General Hospital, a man approached us and thanked us for being in Haiti and helping. He explained that he was a Dianeticist that was part of a group in Haiti that existed already quite some time before the earthquake on Januar 12, 2010. He expressed interest in what we were doing (at the time we were giving Assists to people at the hospital) and with his help we set up our first Assist seminar. It was held at the orphanage and had about 21 attendees. At the end everyone wanted to have another seminar and we ended up doing a seminar every day for the duration of my stay in Haiti.
In doing the seminars with one of the Dianetic groups, we discovered that it was a BIG group! They told me that they started as one group but eventually became too big and they had to divide. As it stands now they said they had 27 Dianetics groups for several years already. When I left they took over doing Volunteer Minister seminars!
Being as a Volunteer Minister in Haiti was truly a life changing experience.