By: Dr. Jeff Cadichon | Clinical Director
On March 8, 2018, my wife and I decided to offer ourselves a moment of escape and relaxation by going to a comedy show starring two talented Haitian actresses living abroad but passing through in Haiti. We both needed that to relieve moments of stress and anxiety. We had decided that this night was going to be our night. Our moment. And work was our last concern. We did not even think about it. The moment had to be pleasant with laughing and joking.
The show was about to start when my phone start ringing. I did not have the phone number calling me in my contact list. I hesitated before answering because the call had disturbed my moment of relaxation. I thought I should have turned off my phone. But, the conversation I was going to have is a proof that sometimes you have to deny yourself and continue your ongoing commitment.
The call was from one of my psychology students at a private university in Haiti. This student knows that I am the Clinical Director of Nadege in Haiti. She remembered I was explaining to my students during our first class that Nadege is an organization working on restoring hope to survivors of sexual violence in Haiti by providing holistic care to victims in our safe house. She asked me if the safe house is already open because she needed help for a young woman who had just been raped.
I told her unfortunately, our safe house is not open yet. However, I think there is a solution. I suggested she goes with the woman who was victimized, as quickly as possible, to Doctors Without Borders, which provides short-term 24/7 emergency medical and psychological care to victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
All the more that Doctors Without Borders is a referral partner for Nadege. They will refer survivors of sexual violence to us for long-term care. I explained to her if necessary, the survivor will always be able to join Nadege's program for long-term support with a long stay in the safe house.
My student said she understood everything and noted the information. We promised to keep in touch so that I will be updated on the development of the situation.
After this phone conversation, I was able to attend the show. And it was a great moment after all.
Five days later, I had a meeting call with Emily, the founder of Nadege, and our colleague Amy, Nadege’s Administrative Director. While we were discussing about a chapter of the Bible in Matthew 16, I told them about my experience of March 8. The story touched them so much. It was an emotional moment.
For me, this experience could be an example of what is said in Matthew 16:24: ‘’Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’’
I am committed to restore hope to survivors of sexual violence in Haiti, to work with my clinical staff at Nadege to provide holistic care to them. It's my mission. It's my commitment. Somehow, it's my cross. I have to be ready to take up it and continue my ongoing commitment. So, if necessary I have to forget myself to carry out this work.
And you, are you ready to do the same?