When MedShare employees talk about foreign travel, we usually get to tell a story about visiting a developing country and seeing the need that is there, and the good work that is being done. Sometimes, though, travel to developed countries can lead to valuable stories, too. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take a vacation in Barcelona, Spain, where I had a great week of sightseeing and enjoying Catalonian culture. A few days before I came back to Georgia, I took a cab ride and fell in to conversation with the cab driver. By his accent, it was obvious that he was not from Spain, so I asked him where he was from. “Haiti,” he replied. “Do you know Haiti?”
“Of course,” I answered him, and I told him about my work as Logistics Manager at MedShare, how committed we were to providing urgently needed medical supplies to his home country, and about how our barrel collection program works. “Where do you do this?” he asked, and when I told him that we were based in Atlanta he became really excited. His sister also left Haiti when he had, but instead of going to Spain, she had gone to the United States and settled in Atlanta. Seconds later, our driver thrust his cell phone into my hand and said “It is my sister in Atlanta.” I spoke to her and she told me that not only was she in Atlanta, but that she is a nurse who works at Gwinnett County Hospital, and that she regularly places surplus medical supplies in MedShare collection barrels.
As if this coincidence was not enough, it transpired that a few hours before I had that conversation, MedShare had shipped a 40-foot container out of our Decatur facility, and that container was sponsored by the First Lady of Haiti to go to a Hospital in Cap Haitien. I have no evidence that it happened, but I like to believe that the Haitian nurse I spoke to in Atlanta from the back of a cab in Barcelona had contributed some of the supplies that MedShare sent to her homeland of Haiti. What I know for sure is that the world is often a much smaller place than we imagine it to be, and that the efforts of the volunteers and staff at MedShare truly have a global impact.
Logistics Manager, MedShare