BerksBarristerSpring2017 - 15

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My Mission Trip to Haiti
By The Honorable Richard E. Fehling

I

n 2014, I saw the movie, Fury, in which a WWII tank
commander Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) and crewmember Bible
(Shia Lebouf ) briefly talk about why they are in the midst of
the war. Bible says, "And I heard the Lord's voice saying, 'Whom
shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here am I;
send me!' Wardaddy surprises Bible when he responds, "Isaiah
Chapter 6, verse 8." I saw a TV rerun of Fury in Summer 2016 on
a Saturday evening and the next day in church, a member stood
before the congregation and asked for volunteers to go to Haiti
and build a house. I thought about Isaiah 6:8 and signed up.
Members of our church have gone to Pignon, Haiti seven or
eight times to build homes in association with the Fuller Center.
The Fuller Center was started by Millard Fuller, who had initiated
Habitat for Humanity. Fuller had a falling out with Habitat and
formed a new organization. We were scheduled to go in October
last year. I had shots and meds for malaria, dysentery, Zika, tetanus,
hepatitis, dengue fever, and who knows what else. I bought cargo
pants and shirts, boots, bucket hats, gloves, etc. (all of which I left
in Haiti when I left). I had Deep Woods Off, Coppertone SPF
70, Permethrin, Imodium, Lava, Purell, glow sticks, granola bars,
EmerGenC, beef jerky, a roll of TP, tissues, and more. I also took
composition and coloring books, pens, pencils, markers, crayons,
soccer balls, and basketballs (deflated of course), an air pump, toys,

and beads for kids at a school we would visit.
I checked in with a Deputy U.S. Marshal for info about
and security for Haiti. She said officially, "Don't go. The Marshal
Service recommends that you not go." I said, "OK - I hear that.
May I please have info about Haiti?" The Marshals provided a
great deal of excellent information. In particular, I was given a
suggestion that Pignon was not involved in any demonstrations
or other potential problems. I was warned about spending any
significant time in or near Port Au Prince (PAP). They did tell
me that a contingent of U.S. Marines was more or less on-call in
PAP if needed. That was comforting and evoked thoughts about
all sorts of movies in which the Marines, Deltas, SEALs, Rangers,
or other of our armed forces swoop in and rescue idiots who put
themselves in harm's way.
We were all set to go in early October when Hurricane
Matthew swooped in with other ideas. We postponed the trip to
January 28 to February 4, 2017.
Pignon has a really first-rate hospital, a number of schools
for kids from age 4 - 16, and very little crime. The hospital was
founded and funded by an honest Haitian doctor who actually
used all of the money he got from the US and elsewhere for
the hospital. Students from Illinois Institute of Technology had
built a water distribution system that served a portion of Pignon,
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