MCP Visits Miami Red Cross Shelter – Day 1

Medical Clown Project: Hurricane Irma Relief (Part 1)

“Everyone has helped to make this shelter feel like home away from home.” She wanted to remember this turned from horrible to beautiful moment at the Darwin Fuchs Pavillon shelter by having all of the volunteers sign her shirt.

It was a microcosm of the big effort of this huge assembled team from all over the country.

Before making rounds, I was given a quick debriefing. They were mostly stories about the folks here.

Many stories of people losing everything.
A South American family who is now stuck while seeking asylum.
Even a mother went into labor last night.

Getting started felt difficult when one of the first people I interacted with gave me a No by simply saying with a stern face, “I’m from the Keys.” which was the hardest hit of Florida.

I stood there to sympathize without saying much back. When the moment felt right, I moved towards a few kids away, but suddenly the man wanted to tell me about a magic shop that used to be on the Keys. Giving him all of my focus and my ginuine interest opened up further conversation.

Listening to him talk about his home and even a little bit about what he’s famous for put a smile on his face. Before we parted ways, he told me to call him “The Weaver.” Apparently, he has palm leave weaves in museums.

The rest of the day became full of entertaining everyone throughout the two conjoining shelters.

By the 2 hour mark, rumor spread that there was a Magician. When seen, requests started coming in to perform for various cots of different families and individuals.

Eventually, the ukulele kicked in and triggered sing-alongs and folks looking over to enjoy live music.

By the end of the 9 hour shift, the last group to get entertained were the Florida police officers who were so very happy to get a break.

Tomorrow will be a shorter day before heading back home. Though, the memory of working with these hurricane victims can be summed up with one of today’s responses, “I will never forget you.”