Our departure is upon us. Photojournalist Adam DeBacker and I will soon be boarding a plane to Port-au-Prince on a trip we’ve talked about making for a year an half. Adam and I have covered a lot of tragedies together- tornadoes, shooting sprees, and the Illinois political landscape- but this is our biggest adventure yet.
And it’s a personal one. Many of you know my husband and Adam’s buddy, Carlos Hernandez Gomez, died last January after a year long struggle with colon cancer. It’s an awful disease with unfathomable complications unless you’ve been through them first hand. To say my husband suffered is a gross understatement, and that’s why his empathy, sympathy and general concern at the time of the Haitian earthquake continues to serve as an example of the selfless and kind soul he was.
Carlos died a week after the disaster there last winter, and much of our last week together in our news-centered household was spent watching the horrible images there emerge on television. Carlos would watch with tears in his eyes, wondering how he could help. I would watch with one eye on Carlos, helpless in both causes. I couldn’t make him better, so the people on television would have to wait.
After he died, however, thousands of dollars in memorials and funds raised at a concert in Carlos’ honor were directed towards Living Water International, an organization I’ll explain more about later that maintains active operations providing clean water in 25 developing nations and has recently completed its 10,000th community water project. One more is now on the way- a well in the memory of Carlos Hernandez Gomez.
Adam and I are headed to the dedication of that well in Haiti- a country he so felt for when most of us would have been feeling sorry for ourselves. It will take place later this week, a week my husband would have turned 38. He won’t get to celebrate that, but an entire community can celebrate a fresh water source- truly a fundamental component in transforming lives.
We’ll cover that story as well as many others while we’re there, showing you what life is like a year and a half after disaster strikes- and after most news cameras leave. We’ll be visiting orphanages, medical centers and tent cities, and will bring you that coverage on WGN after we return. For now, we’ll be blogging and posting photographs, so check in often. Thanks for your interest as I head to Haiti to establish this honor for my guy, along with the best guy to work with in television news