In Praise of Logistics

Meeting planning is not all about logistics.

But logistics have never looked so good to me as it did in Haiti, where I traveled in late March with Healing Hands for Haiti, an organization that provides physical therapy, prosthetics, and other rehabilitative services to Haitians with disabilities.

Promoting healing in post-earthquake Haiti was the heart and the soul of the mission, and most of the Healing Hands volunteers were doctors, nurses, and physical therapists. Their skill and compassion amazed me, as they worked long hours in difficult conditions – in tent hospitals and clinics in the tropical heat, with too many patients, and too few clinicians.

But I was struck, too, at the layers of effort that were added to relief work by the demand for coordination. Of airport arrivals, meals, transportation, security, and endless more arrangements. The need to move things from here to there, to make lists and plans, and then more plans. All things that meeting professionals do so exceedingly well that they make it look effortless.

It didn’t look easy in Haiti. And it meant the difference between having a doctor or nurse where they were needed or not. And helped remind me to thank those who do the hard work of logistics for making life better for the rest of us.

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.