Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Safely Home

After five airports, a heroes meeting, a nap and some sleep, I realized that I should probably update my blog to report that I'm home.

I am safe. I am tired. I am working on an essay that'll probably crop up at a Heroes event some point in the future.

Thanks to everyone for being so supportive. I'm looking forward to seeing you all soon.

And hey - if you're in the Seattle area on Friday night. Stop by the Owlrey for a little homecoming gathering.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Back in the DR

Jessica has arrived safely in the Dominican Republic on her way home.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Last Night in Haiti

Aaron here. Just got off the phone with Jessica. Tonight is Jessica and Nathan's last night in Haiti. Tomorrow they head back across the border into the Dominican Republic to begin the process of getting back stateside. Apparently roaming charges are being waved for Haiti but not for the DR, so this was the last voice communication we will have until Monday.

Yesterday Jessica and Nathan collected 25 more orphans, single moms, and pregnant women and brought them back to Juampas. Today they built beds for the orphans and went and got more resources for the refugees.

Nathan spent some time today conducting some interviews for a movie that he is making about the trip. They also spent some time helping Johnston and Pascal apply for student visas and admission to UNC.

The Juampas girls braided Jessica's hair into dozens of little braids. I tried to convince her to keep them until she returned, but she refuses on the grounds of needing to get a real, thorough washing once in the DR. She did, however, promise to take pictures.

You would think that the fatigue and layers of dirt and sweat on her scalp would make her overjoyed to be returning, but she's not. She's excited for a glass of lemonade WITH ICE, but she's not ready to leave. Neither of them are.

I made Jessica promise that she would text me at least once each day till she can call again. I'll post when she does.

Monday, January 25, 2010

News from Juampas

I just spoke with Jessica (on Nathan's phone) for about 30 minutes.

She's good. She's tired and dirty--there's just no way to stay clean, apparently--but she says she doesn't really mind.

Today Nathan and Jessica distributed medical supplies to the clinic. Then they played games with hoards of children who were amused to no end by the hand-slapping game that Jessica and Nathan taught them, and by Nathan's antics in particular (I think she said there was butt shaking involved). Jessica replaced whatever piece of garbage some of the girls were using as jump rope with a length of clothes line that I gave her, and did some twirling herself. Later she did her best to keep up with the women who were washing clothing (by hand of course, with bleach), but her middle-class-conveniences-soft skin was no match for the professionals, and her wrists are chafed and sore.

She's using what little scraps of French she recalls to communicate as best as she can with the locals. She's sweating and running out into whatever rain falls at all hours for a free shower. Some of the locals point and say "blanc" when they see her and the kids swarm to touch and braid her strange soft, straight hair.

As we spoke, Nathan and Johnston, a local who crawled to safety from the earth quake wreckage of a collapsed school building, were in the next room discussing God, naturally.

It sounds like the experience is powerful for her. Juampas, the village where Jessica and Nathan are stationed, is located, as Jessica puts it, in the most beautiful landscape she has ever seen--"more beautiful than Hawaii," she says. However, the poverty is also worse than anything she has ever seen, and this is, apparently, one of the better-off villages.

And she's never met friendlier people.

Tomorrow they head down into Port-au-Prince with the two trucks that HopeH is purchasing for $400 to round up as many orphans and pregnant women as they can who are willing to relocate to Juampas, at least temporarily, with the promise of the kinds of resources and medical supplies that are running dry in the devastated capitol.

Jessica says that her initial anxiety about the trip has dissolved into frustration that she can't do more to help.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Text Messages from Haiti

Aaron here again. The following is a text message from Jessica to me via Nathan Bean's phone, Sunday, Jan 24, 2010 at 6:59 PM:

"This is jessica. We literally carried several hundred pounds of supplies across the border on foot then went the rest of the way in the back of a pickup on top of all our crap. We are now in juampas. I have never been to a more beautiful place. The people here are very kind and grateful for the supplies. Tomorrow we plan our next trip into port au prince to find more orphans. I love you so much. I hope your show went well. I know it did. Phone isn't working here could you get word to my father that we arrived safely. So much love from both of us."

Also: Nathan Bean has an article in The Stranger, Seattle's hippest rag. It's called, topically, Text Message from Haiti.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Just got off the phone with Jessica. She sounds good. Small correction on details:

Jessica is in Santo Domingo today and traveling to "the village" in Haiti tomorrow...I apologize for not getting the name (should have had her spell it)...I'll get that the next time I talk to her.

Jessica has arrived in Haiti

Hello, friends and family of Jessica. It's Aaron--Jessica's boyfriend. Jessica was concerned that she would have limited access to the internet in Haiti (if any at all), and so she asked me to post blogs here for her, which I will try to do every day that she is away.

I dropped Jessica off at Sea-Tac airport yesterday morning. I received a text message from Nathan this morning, 1/23/10 at 7:28:30am, PST:

"I have retrieved Jessica with all of her bags and we are currently running chores. Everything is good. Love you."

If any of you have specific questions for me about anything that I might possibly have answers for, feel free to contact me at

Sincerely, Boyfriendofahero

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Hello all,

The night before I left PayPal shut down my account because they determined that my account was an unsafe risk for them to support or something:

"For the safety and security of the Paypal network, we often review accounts for potential risks. After reviewing your account, we have decided to close it because of security issues."

...whatever that means.

Anyways, those of you who have posted very generous funds to support the costs of my trip will be refunded your donation. I'm sorry for the hullaballoo - it will all get figured out when I get back.

Anyways - I'll be fine while I'm down there. Thank you all for your support!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


The people at HopeH have assembled a list of supplies that they are in need of. I will be shopping for them tonight. If you would like to donate money for those supplies, please donate from my first post and flag the donation as "for supplies."

If you are in the Seattle area and can donate any of these things to me by Thursday night, please let me know and we'll coordinate a time for pick-up.

  • Gauze
  • Surgical Thread
  • Latex gloves
  • Sheets
  • Variety packs of bandages (all sizes)
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Towels
  • Women's underwear
  • Sanitary pads
  • Sandles (various sizes)
  • Children's clothes
  • Baby clothes
  • Adult clothes
  • Razors
  • Diapers
  • Toys

Monday, January 18, 2010

Traveling To Haiti

Hello Friends,

On 1/22 I will be departing for Haiti to join HopeH: I will be assisting this splendid volunteer clinic that is about 40 miles outside of Port-au-Prince. I will be joining my friend and fellow hero, Nathan Bean, who is already on the ground.

I will return to Seattle on 2/2. Ascentium, my employer, has graciously granted me the time off to help do this crucial work that the world has already courageously responded to.

If time and resources permit, I will be posting to this blog - but I'm not sure that the connectivity issues will allow it. However, the writing will be in me, even after I return.

I am honored. I am scared. I am eager to help.

If you would like to help defray the costs of my travel, please click the donate button in my first post and all money that exceeds the cost of my travel, etc will be donated to HopeH at the end of my time there.

So much love...