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Erika, USA - "A motto to the VM Camp was 'Do anything and everything needed to get help to the people of Haiti'."

I went to Haiti with one of the Church of Scientology’s charter flights that came from Los Angeles via Miami and arrived in Haiti on 21 January 2010. Cindy was with us who just has recently done the VM courses recently and did a terrific job out there, mainly in the Future Orphanage. Paris drove us on his car, so when we got to Miami, Olaguer and I helped him to get all the communications equipment tested and wrapped up some set ups that had to be done before we could take the equipment with us.

So when I was in Haiti I helped with some aspects of communications and doing some things for Paris, typing and relaying communication. Computers were spare in the beginning so we had people hand write their messages when there was no computer available and I was typing it up later. I also helped to make ID badges for the VMs as we were required by the US Army as they were controlling the traffic in and out the Airport were our camp was.

The day after we got there I had the idea of making a internal phone book - I had noticed that Paris had several random notes of people’s phones, local numbers and in the US, VMs and other contacts outside the camp. So I made a handwritten Phone Book on a notepad. Days later at the Camp we had some Army guys visit us on trying to find help for a food drop with their chopper and one of our guys told him "let me find our Phone Book to get you the number of this team." The Army guys said: "A Phone Book! That's why we like you guys, we are so well organized". Well, they got their contact and their food drop lined up and happily left the camp (and I was proud).

The first three days outside of camp I was working in the General Hospital. It was very good that we got out there then because there were no visible groups of foreign doctors or other Disaster Relief Units there yet. Help was really desperately needed. The first day was a bit of a shock to me, it was so extremely hot, and seeing so many maimed people was not easy. I worked mainly in the park of the hospital, outside the buildings were there was a lot of people left lying around while the doctors were working mainly inside de buildings. I went around and saw what these patients needed, cleaning, sanitizing and covering wounds. I have no nurse training but I could do what anyone with some basic First Aid training can do to help injured people.

There were a lot of people in the park, I would say 60 people in beds, 20 more on the ground and their families or some family members with them. Someone I remember in particular was a woman who had an open wound on her breast she was in strong pain. I was giving her a touch assist so until the pain blew and she looked much more relaxed. Then I went onto help her 8 year old daughter to clean, disinfect and cover her wounds and taught her how to do it herself - I had just run in Haitian translator by then. She understood the importance of it.

I tried to keep log for the first 3 or 4 days but afterward all the days started to mush together, We just kept working, kept trying to help as many people as we could. Sometimes I lost track if it was day or night. And the days just after the catastrophe are vital and this is when you have the most confusion.

Then I moved on to the Miami Tent Hospital at the Port-au-Prince airport as they were requesting some more people to help over there. The first day they needed someone to route the visitors and keep security and control in who is coming in the three tents (housing hundreds of patients). Later I moved on to the storage tent and I was helping organize the medical supplies. Once the shelves were built and on their way to us we organized a fork lift to move around the big boxes of supplies and other goods to make space. A group of VMs then could put all the supplies in the shelves and finish organizing up the place in very short time. During the next days at the Miami University Hospital I was receiving new supplies and helped re-stocking the pharmacies at the Wound Care, OR and Pediatrics tent.

One thing that became kind of a motto to the VM Camp was "Do anything and everything needed to get help to the people of Haiti". I remember Elena from the Italian team mention this earlier but I really felt so in my heart and I could see for the actions I saw each VM take, everybody carried that out.