Family Matters

Navigating Mitzra’im (the narrow places)

The Hebrew name for Egypt (Mitzra’im) means “narrow places.” During Passover, we are commanded to celebrate the holiday as if each one of us came out of that narrow place. This past April, CBI father and daughter, Dr. Mike and Adina Weizman, experienced the fragility and narrowness of life firsthand. This is their story.

“This past month, Adina and I spent Adina’s Spring Break volunteering in Haiti on a medical mission trip with a local organization called Consider Haiti. Participating in this trip (which coincided with Pesach) meant that we would have to miss the second seder at my parent’s house for the first time in our lives. The experience felt very important and timely for us, and we had Hanan and Goldie’s blessing to participate.

We traveled to Haiti with three other doctors, two other teenagers, two nurses and our team leader, Tom Plaut, who helped found Consider Haiti many years ago. Consider Haiti, which is a locally-based organization, focuses on some of Haiti’s poorest families by providing pediatric medical care one or two times a year, ongoing nutritional support for some of the most malnourished children, delivering sustainable and affordable clean water filtration systems to those in isolated
mountain communities, as well as providing pregnant goats to the most needy families to aid in sustainable nutritional support.

While in Haiti, our team worked four clinics that were promoted ahead of our visit by the in-country team of eight Haitians employed year-round by Consider Haiti. Two of theclinics were held in semi-rural areas (roughly two hours outside of Port-au-Prince) and two of the clinics were held in remote mountain villages. During these clinics the doctorsand teenagers saw 150-250 children at each site. After the physicians interviewed and examined the children, they were sent to the pharmacy (stocked with medications we brought into Haiti) for any specific medications they needed. They then moved on to the teenagers who helped administer
deworming medication, distributed vitamins, and provided a toothbrush and toothpaste to the grateful children. While in the remote mountain clinics, the doctors identified several severely malnourished and otherwise ill children that required transfer to the closest hospital that was two hours away by vehicle.

This eye-opening experience exposed both Adina and me to some of the most vulnerable people in Haiti, giving us a unique opportunity to help them out in our small way. At the same time, the extreme contrast between the beautiful Caribbean coastline (dotted with fortified compounds for the wealthy and well-connected) and the extreme poverty and litter-ridden streets and ramshackle dwellings of the masses was inescapable and clearly born out of chronic government corruption and neglect. We witnessed firsthand that in spite of living in extreme poverty and experiencing daily hardship that many of us will thankfully never know, the Haitian people are among the most gracious, honorable, compassionate, and resilient people on the planet. It was an honor to serve them and get to know them during our stay.

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