Women of Haiti: Momma V
On my recent trip to Haiti I was inspired by so many women...But I would be remiss if I didn't start here.
Vanessa Carpenter has 17 children. She has fostered over 150 children. People call her "Momma V".
She is an amazing woman, an incredible mother, a friend to all she meets, Unless you are standing in the way of something she wants. (Then you'd better watch out.) and a Super Hero!
I met Momma V when on our medical mission to Haiti. She is the director of Angel Missions-Haiti. Her organization helps Haitian Children. Children who need medical care that is not attainable in Haiti, come to the US. She takes care of getting their medical records, filing the required paperwork to get a Visa to come to the US, arranges for a Hospital, Doctors and therapists needed to get treatment. These Children also need a host family. She knows things and how to get things Done! More over she has one of the biggest hearts I've ever seen. How do I know you ask? Not that she wears it on her sleeve, it shows in everything that she does.
Our group was special to Vanessa. All of us are from Virginia. More accurately, We are from the same town as she lives in. Well lives is a loose term. You see she spends a great deal of time in Haiti. So, while she has a Husband, Children and a home in Virginia, more than 50% of her time she is at her home in Haiti. Ok, more clarification. It's not really a home. she and Kez, affectionately call it "the shoebox".
(Stay tuned, for a story about Kez at a later date.)
The Shoebox in Haiti, is about the size of a small 2 bedroom apt. It is the "Haitian home" for Momma V and Kez , it also houses medical supplies, food to be distributed and more. It is a "Humble abode" to be assured.
If you have never been to Haiti, there are some distinct differences from the US. Some of the conditions are as a direct result of the earthquake, some are just normal for Haiti. No running water (for most people) no electricity, well that you can count on, so Yeah, no refrigeration. I want you to begin to think about what life is like for the average woman in Haiti, let alone two White American Women in Haiti.
Yes, I said it. I know it's NOT politically correct. It is however accurate. It's not something you can deny or ignore.
Face it we are spoiled.
Spoiled & Rich Americans. Most of us will never truly know just how much, unless you travel somewhere like Haiti. Things that we take for granted EVERY DAY.
For example, when you flip the light switch it will come on. That the garbage you put in your can at the curb will disappear. That you can turn the faucet and water will come out AND That you can DRINK it! Yeah, you probably have plenty to eat...Many times EVERY DAY
What about this:
That if you get sick, you can pick up the phone and call your Doctor and that you will get seen at some point, or if you are injured or experiencing a life threatening condition, you can call 911 and an ambulance will come and get you, take you to a hospital where you will get treated. None of these things exist in Haiti.
So for the Children of Haiti, there is an amazing super hero...Her name is Momma V
What you say? You want to know her super power?
She gets kids from Haiti, OUT. (A major milestone in itself!) Finds hospitals & doctors who will give them care and finds them a place they can call home, while they are here. She is an amazing woman. She doesn't wear a cape or tights, she doesn't even have a BIG S on her chest, but she is a super hero.
While we were there, we took over the care of 3 patients from the USNS Comfort. We were responsible for their care 24/7. Our two infant patients, were accompanied by their Mother's. Our other patient was a 9 yr old boy, who sustained a head injury and a fractured femur in the quake.
On any given day Vanessa is working on... getting, oh about 20 or so Kids to the states for surgery!
Along with a multitude of other things she does or oversees. When I talked to her this week she gave me updates on 2 of our patients, and said she is dealing with her #1 man at Immigration, and that she is confident that our baby with Hydrocephalus & Our 9 year old will be coming to the US for treatment soon.
Maybe you don't think Momma V is worthy of "Hero Worship" or that "She's Just a Mom" as she was quoted saying in a recent article in our hometown paper but to many in Haiti she is all that and more. Given what I saw on my trip to Haiti, they could use a few THOUSAND more like her.
God Bless you Vanessa, & Please continue to Pray for the people of Haiti
If you would like to know more about Angel Missions, visit their website http://www.angelmissionshaiti.org/
BlogHer is helping "Write Women Back Into History" by participating in Women's History Month 2010. We are showcasing the stories of women in Haiti in the wake of the January earthquake. You can read more from BlogHer's Women of Haiti series throughout the month.