you world changer, you

by Kayla Raymond

I just want to say thank you. In case I have forgotten to say those two important words or you haven’t heard them enough, I want you to hear them today.

You, my friend, mean so much to me. You have encouraged, motivated and inspired me. You showed up when I needed you and I can’t say thank you enough.

You’re making my dreams a reality. You’ve lightened my load and given me peace.

Yesterday, I took 18 people to the dentist. We traveled over an hour and my sweet crew of students and members of the community spent 8 hours taking turns being seen by a dentist from Louisiana. This was the first time most of them have ever been in a dentist’s chair – we know how scary that can be! – and they were great. Teeth were pulled, cavities were filled and much pain was relieved. The grown man who had had pain for so long, hugged the dentist with the excitement of a child and with gratitude at the end of the day; his pain was finally gone.

We take so much for granted. You and me. Us, silly North Americans. But, can you believe it? The rest of the world goes on without dentists. They somehow survive, but there’s still so much hidden pain. Two of my ViBella artists had cavities filled yesterday and I felt so guilty not knowing they had been in pain for so long. I know you’re not guilty of something you don’t know, but people I work with side-by-side each day are suffering, it’s a shame.

So, we got our teeth fixed. We enjoyed the beautiful view of the mountains. We even enjoyed a cooler day as the rain fell at noon.

And, this is where you came in. You paid for their meals. You paid for the gas. You paid for snacks when we were stuck in traffic.

You made yesterday possible. You gave me a peace of mind, when before I wouldn’t have been able to afford to take these sweet 18 souls to the dentist.

And, of course, because there is never a boring day in Haiti, as we were nearly done with the dentist, I got a phone call from my husband. It was late afternoon and two students had been severely injured in a motorcycle accident on their way home from school. The six-year-old’s face was all beaten up, the 12-year-old’s arm was a mess and the driver’s leg had a severe case of road rash. They needed an emergency room and needed one fast. So, my husband quickly drove the three to the nearest hospital, 45 minutes away in Port-au-Prince.

And, it was at the emergency room you showed up again. You paid for the bill. You paid for their medicine. You paid for their care.

You were a world changer yesterday.

Thank you again for believing in what we do and for making the Lazarus Fund possible, and wow, I just can’t thank you enough.