Alison Smith is a medical student at Tulane University who will be posting frequent reports from Haiti to the MTV Newsroom blog this week. Today she offers us the story of 33-year-old Haitian-American grad student Terry Pierre-Louis, who left for Haiti as soon as he heard about last week's earthquake and could hardly believe the scene that greeted him when he arrived.
Terry Pierre-Louis, Haitian-American grad student: "Today I woke up again thinking, 'How can I make a difference for the people of Haiti?' After seeing the aftermath of the earthquake, I immediately made plans to fly out to assist. I called up a good friend mine, Dominique, and told him we have to do something and we have to do something now. We boarded a private jet to the Dominican Republic because Haiti was not allowing any commercial flights into the country.
"Upon our arrival in the Dominican, we had to wait to get clearance from the U.S. to fly into Haiti. While waiting for clearance, we met a wonderful group of doctors who were in a similar situation. We hitched a ride with them and we stayed together at a local hotel. The following day, we all visited the General Hospital. I experienced things that I thought I would never experience in my life.
"It was like visiting patients that had been through a war. Every patient suffered major traumatic injuries. The injuries ranged from amputations and open fractures to closed fractures and crush injuries. The ages of the patients ranged from one-year-olds to 80-year-olds. On my first day volunteering at the hospital, I was there for an hour and drifted off into the streets because I couldn't take the sounds and look of the patients. I was not used to seeing people suffering in such magnitude.
"I started to talk to people on the streets about their situation and realized that I needed to be stronger than I was. I then headed back to the hospital and started helping the sick again. I began treating them as if they were my family. I've had to watch a lot of people pass away. Seeing people dying in front of you can be the hardest thing to experience. I pledge to do everything in my power to help the people in Haiti."
Head here to learn more about what you can do to help with earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti, and for more information, see Think MTV. Join George Clooney and Wyclef Jean for MTV's "Hope for Haiti" telethon, airing commercial-free Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m. ET.