By Hermann Schirmacher
We thought we had a work routine established, but everything was different.... After the 13-hour shift Monday night we tried to sleep through the day on Tuesday. Some of us had just fallen into a sound sleep when the coordinators from Samaritan's Purse came to wake us saying, "You have 10 minutes to get ready to leave for Bercy to replace the group there because we believe the night might bring an uprising."
A few days ago there were presidential elections in Haiti. The results are being announced, and there may be large disagreements amongst the political parties and their followers might close the roads. Amid this organizational chaos I could sense that members of our team were somewhat discontented and justifiably so. They hadn't eaten lunch and to leave just before supper was to be served—and lacking sleep after very heavy days—this news was not well received.
They suggested we could take military rations (MREs) and extra clothing in case we could return from Bercy. All of this we were lacking After four days we believed we would have Sunday free. Well, we'll see. I didn't like the idea of eating pre-packaged food, so I was looking for something else in the kitchen. It was there that I found the cook beginning to prepare the evening meal. To miss something so special couldn't be happening. I asked him to hurry so that I could take some of it and if he said no, I was going to take him with us! We were able to pack a nice meal and a salad with some cans of soda with ice.
We arrived in Bercy where we did the shift change quickly so that the group leaving could get back to the base before nightfall. Once all the patients were stabilized and things were more or less quiet, we had our meal or perhaps a supper much better than we had thought we would get. The day (or night) was saved which was a nice ending after all the stress and confusion.
At 9 o'clock they announced the election results with all the Haitians listening intently to their radios or cell phones to hear the news. Their spirits rose like in the closing moments of a soccer match. They announced that the former first lady, Mrs. Milande Manigat, had come in first and that the son-in-law of the current president, Jude Celestinsolo, had come in second. [There will now be a run-off election to determine the winner.]
Only minutes after announcing the results we heard that disturbances had broken out in Port-au-Prince with gunshots fired and in another town a local radio station had been taken over. Various streets were closed. Now, many hours later, we are back at the base after our 15-hour night shift.
We are fine, and thanks be to God there were no deaths amongst the patients. We witnessed several miracles where some awoke from what should have been a sure death. Patients without a pulse that were given 4 liters of intravenous liquids in a lapse of 30 minutes and their pulse returned and they awoke from their state of shock.
We're going to rest and have a whole day of rest. We'll sleep in 4-wheel-drive vehicle and at double speed!