New Clinic Open!

2/22/15

Finally after a year of trying we opened a mobile clinic here in Garcin, last Tuesday we had our first day of clinic. It was very successful, we saw fifty-five people. One of them had TB, a very important find. How patiently the people wait to be seen and are so thankful for the help. It is truly a pleasure to serve these people. We are giving a discounted rate and for the visit and the medications. Pregnant women are seen for the equivalent of an American dollar. I am so sad about the women we took to the hospital and then died; I feel had she sought help sooner it could have been avoided.  So I am hoping the women of this area can receive prenatal care and education.

Our first day proved to be self-sustaining; we brought in enough money to cover the cost of the medications we had to buy and helped Sr. Julian with her expenses.  When I announced the clinic at church I told the people that the clinic was theirs and in order to keep it they had to support it. We will have another clinic on Tuesday I hope it will be equally successful. I also like that Sr. Julian (a Haitian nun) and myself are working together I as the pharmacist, and she is seeing the patients’. This also means I have to ask her questions. I think this will help the people to have more confidence in Sr. Julian.

Sr. Julia is a very sweet person who is trying to do a very good job to bring health care to the area. She has been trained here in Haiti, and I would guess her training would be that of a nurse. She is also a very simple person, with very few personal needs. For example after working in the clinic all day she asked me if she could have a piece of bread to eat. I was already making us a lunch but was struck by her humbleness. I also think she was surprised I could cook over a fire made from wood.

I have to add that without the many donations of over the counter medications we have received this clinic could not have been as successful. Many of these medications are not even available without travelling to Port au Prince to buy them. So a big thanks to all of you that opened your heart to these needs. When we return to the United States in March we will be sending another shipping container, so if you could donate more over the counter medications to supplement the dispensary’s it will be a very great gift. We also need shoes of any size or kind. I will include a complete list soon.

On Wednesday we left for Limbe, a city in the north. I drove and driving here in Haiti is like the kids video games where they have to maneuver around many obstacles. There are goats, chickens, people, donkeys, motos, cars, and the buses coming out at you from everywhere. You also have to blow your horn when you have a curve or a hill, because the roads are so bad you drive where you can. Much of the highway had trees that casted shadows along with different colors of pavement so you have a hard time telling where the holes and speed bumps are. The speed bumps here can be very large or inverted and anyone can build one, so they are not necessarily placed in a place you would expect them to be. Buses travel at high speeds and come around curves coming into your lane. There is not much organization to driving; the rule is the biggest object has the right of way. If the town is having market day then the traffic is stopped. Everyone is beeping their horn and everyone is vying for a spot. Aggression is the only survival. I did roll down my window and threaten a semi that this is a new truck and I did not want him to scratch it. We made it safely without a scratch, but I have to admit I was certainly ready to be off of the road.

We did many things in the two days we spent in the North. Thanks to the miracle of having transportation. The truck has been such a blessing to our ministry. The first day we visited Cape Haitian and met up with the agronomist specializing in vanilla. We also tried to locate a compost project using worms, but had no luck there. The second day we visited a garden that was growing vanilla. The vanilla was not being maintained, and the garden was in complete shade, and has not flowered yet after four years. The plants were not a lot bigger than the ones in our garden that was planted a year and a half ago. In our garden the plants that have some sun light are doing better than the more shaded areas. So I am hoping we will get more successful results.

Another interesting project we visited was a factory that is taking the left over stalks from making sugar cane and making charcoal from them. Charcoal is the fuel most people use here to cook and is contributing to the deforestation of the island. We purchased a bag of their charcoal briquettes, and also some of the bio char they produce. Bio char is being used in many gardens internationally to help improve the soil. We plan to do some experiments with it in our gardens here.

We also visited a small but very interesting historical museum. They had several relics from the original Indians that had inhabited the island, along with the first settlers. It was a very small museum but we were happy to see some of the history of the country being preserved.

We never did find worms. We are looking for a type of worm that has been imported from Africa, which can tolerate the temperatures here, and will make compost very quickly. They also reproduce very fast. This compost is used instead of fertilizer, with very fascinating results. We will have to keep trying.

The women we met and stayed with Rosedanie, she is a very interesting women. She was born and spent the her first ten years in Haiti. She then  moved to the US and completed her education. She moved back to Haiti after the earthquake and is working to help the people of Limbe. She returns to the US for part of each year and works as a chef to support her organization.

She was able to give us many insights into the culture of Haitians, but she also shared many of our frustrations. She ended up returning to Garcin with us and giving us the pleasure of her company for the weekend. This was very helpful as she interpreted a meeting we had with Fr. Gracia and the sisters when we visited Kalabot (the main mission) on Sunday. Although Bob and I are gaining skills with our Creole it is difficult when we have many things to discuss, and to be sure that everything is understood.

Thank you so much for your interest and your prayers,

Denise

PS. Notice the fancy medicine cabinet I built from a used packing crate. 30 years of cabinet making experience is paying off! Bob

 

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A little insight…..

Counting pills.

Counting pills.

2/11/15

It is hard for me to believe how much time has already gone by. We have stayed very busy. The truck of course makes us more mobile and enables us to do many more things. I know Bob talked about the meeting we attended last week setting up the agricultural meeting and the new mobile clinic. Sr. Julia came last Saturday and we chose a place to hold the clinic and looked through the medicines I have set aside for the clinic. It was determined I had a good start but we will need to buy some more medications. We don’t have prenatal vitamins, children’s antibiotics, and a few other medications Sister is used to prescribing.

This clinic  will open on Tuesday, will be the only clinic for two of our chapels. Before now they had to go to the hospital in Gros Morne for medical attention. This is far and expensive so often people would not go or wait until they were really sick to seek help. Sr. Julia and I talked about a reduced price for pregnant women to encourage they receive prenatal care. This care is important in many ways; the women need the vitamins and education. The women that died started bleeding hours before she sought help. We are hoping the clinic can be self-sustaining, but few clinics here are, the people just don’t have the money. Sustainability cannot be reached until the individual families have an income.

I have really become aware of just how many superstitions the people here live with. In my language text-book it talks about if you have a conversation with someone before you wash your face and brush your teeth in the morning, you are wishing a bad spell will be put on them. I asked Johnny about this and he said yes people believe that to be true, you can say Good Morning to those that are in your household but should not say much more than that, until you have washed up. But this is only one of so many, I thought they didn’t want us to sleep with the windows open because people would come in during the night, but really it’s because they believe spirits will come in during the night. A young mother brought a baby to me that head was covered in a terrible rash, it was also on the baby’s arms and legs, but the worse of it was on the head. I was not sure if it was scabies or this other fungal problem we see quite often. I did not have any of the cream to treat scabies, so I gave the mother the shampoo we treat the fungal problem with, I told her to return if she didn’t see any improvement in a few days. After she left Johnny told me that this baby had this problem because the mother was angry while she nursed the baby.

I have been pondering about all of these many, many superstitions ( I have only listed a few). I know we all have things that are truths believed in our families that are passed down. My Grandmother would be making you drink whiskey and honey if you merely cleared your throat. She had a child that died and she wasn’t going to take any chances. Through education we change are ideas (I bought cough medicine for my children) I have to wonder how long it would take to weed out some of these fears. Is it lack of education? I don’t want you to think that these people all are practicing voodoo, these are common beliefs that most Haitians live by. Just like Americans believe that a high cholesterol diet will led to heart attack and stroke. Their convictions to these beliefs are as strong. They have been pasted down for generations, just as many of our beliefs have.

The problem I see is that the people live with so much fear, and I feel like it gets in the way of a full relationship with Christ. I know evil is real, and the devil is always trying to gain power, but I chose to walk in the light and avoid the evil one.  Here even if the people don’t practice voodoo they are afraid of it. They do believe in its power. I have never really experienced voodoo, other than hearing the drums and seeing voodoo offerings along paths .I have never knowingly met a voodoo priest or gone to a ceremony. Most Haitian people do not really want to talk about voodoo to a foreigner. It is a belief system like any other that has a light side and a dark side. There seems to be a sense of pride that it is a part of their heritage brought from Africa, a heritage in many ways was robbed from them. I know not all of it is bad; they have many herbal cures that I am sure work some of the time. I guess this is not a challenge that I hope to overcome, but one to work here I have to have an understanding of. I will be open to people’s insights as I try to come to a better understanding.

The best part of learning about these superstitions is it is relieving many of my own fears. I am not sure of how much of our personal security is to protect us from actual physical threats, and how much is to protect us from spells and evil spirits. But either way I know that many people care about us and want to protect us.

Thank you for your interest

May God Bless you,

Denise

 

Using our “machine” (truck)

Slang for truck or car in Haiti is “machine”

Changes the new truck brings

We have made a few changes here to accommodate our truck. Paul, who is Fr. Gracias cousin and works on this side of the parish as school director etc., had me pick up two bags of cement. He then rounded up some help and filled in a depression outside of our gate that was making it difficult to get in through the gate.

Yesterday five of the boys that hang out here cleared a parking space for the truck next to our apartment. They had to cut down some small trees that separated the space from our driveway allowing us to pull in. They then hauled five or six wheel barrel loads of gravel from a pile next to the school over to the new area to level out the transition area. The only other available place to park is in the school yard, and that is not fair to the kids. It is also very difficult to turn around in the school yard, about a five point turn.

When they finished they asked me to pay them. I asked them how much and they told me that they wanted 50 gourdes to split among themselves. That works out to about 21¢ each. They were thrilled.

The truck is really a blessing. Earlier in the week a young pregnant mother we go to church with, brought her 7 yr old daughter to Denise. The mother’s name is Alexi Adleen and her daughter’s name is Louis Fransisca. The Louis Fransisca had a hard spot along the bottom of her chin. Denise thought it was an infection in her lymph nodes, but she wasn’t sure and she does not give out antibiotics, especially to kids. Denise then called Sr. Pat and she suggested we take the girl to see Sr. Karen. Sr. Karen is a pediatric physician from the United States. She donates a month of her year serving in Haiti and a month in Africa. This trip she is accompanying a group of high school girls on a weeklong work mission.  The group is painting the ”Kaypòv”, (Kiy-pove), the poor house. Our timing was perfect because the group was just taking a break for lunch.

Denise visited the ”Kaypòv”, once, probably ten years ago, I have never been there. She was not sure if she could remember where it was and I only had a general idea. While Denise was on the phone with Sr. Pat she got directions, but she still wasn’t sure, but we loaded up Alexi Adleen and Louis Fransisca in the truck and headed to Gros Morne. I am not sure about Alexi Adleen, but I don’t think Louis Fransisca had ever been in a “machine” before. Her face lit up, her eyes opened wide and her grin went on forever.

When we got to Gros Morne we headed to a familiar landmark that Sr. Pat had given Denise as a starting point. As we drove by we started looking for the next landmark, but we could not find it. As we were futility looking, I called Sr. Pat for help. She did not answer. Denise suggested that I call Katie, one of the Sister’s volunteers, was working with Sr. Karen.  I did and she told me she was not there, but off running errands, but she explained we were going the wrong way and had looked on the wrong side of the road. We turned around and quickly found our landmark and turn off road.

We could not take the turn off road because it was blocked by the colorful school bus that the group is using was parked there. We parked and locked our truck on the side of the road and walked down past the bus to where the compound of the ”Kaypòv” is located. There are two gates and they were both closed and locked. Denise stood at one and I the other and tried to get someone insides attention. After several minutes, a woman came and opened the gate I was standing at. We all entered and were ushered to where the group was just breaking for lunch. We had to be very careful; there was wet green paint everywhere.

We asked for Sr. Karen and when she found out what we needed she immediately came out and examined Louis Fransisca. She explained that it was indeed an infected lymph node. She wrote down a list of four different antibiotics in descending order of her preference. She told us that the infection was caught in time before it became serious. If untreated it would need surgery to drain it. Here with the lack of sanitation even minor surgery has a very serious potential risk of post op infections.

Before we left, Sr. Karen called inside for all of her girls that wanted to become  pediatric doctors to come and “concur” with her on her diagnoses and treatment. Four of five young ladies came out, each covered with varying amounts of green paint, and all agreed with her.

Our next stop was to Sister’s house to see what antibiotics they had. I called Sr. Pat, but still was not able to reach her. I then tried Katie again and she answered, but told me that no one would be at the house until at least 2:00. It was now 12:45, so we headed over to the egg sandwich restaurant for lunch.

I don’t think Alexi Adleen or Louis Fransisca had ever been to a restaurant before. It was a treat for them.  While we were eating, Katie stopped by to see us as she was going past and saw our truck. She volunteered to loan us her keys to Sister’s house so we would not have to wait. She told us that someone else with her had keys and we could just leave her keys in the dining room before letting ourselves out.

After lunch we drove up to the house. Just as we got there, Sr. Pat called me. She had just returned and was inside. Denise let herself in to get the antibiotics while I stayed in the truck with the moth Alexi Adleen and Louis Fransisca. Just as Denise was returning, the group of girls and Sr. Karen came walking up the driveway. We chatted a few minutes and then headed back up the mountain to Garcin.

Can you imagine how much more difficult this trip would have been if we had to hire motos, or even the gator?

Mèsi anpil, thank you very much, to all of you who made the truck a reality. We are very blessed.

Bobtruck

Sustainability

Please excuse any redundancy in post. I have been informed that some people who received the post didn’t receive the correct post to go with it. So here goes again.

Our last several blogs have been dark. I have not meant to sound negative or discouraged; rather I hoped to give you a sense of being immersed in the daily struggles here, to make real the despair that our hearts have become hardened to amid the bombardment of sensationalized media. I hope it gives you, our partners, an insight into why Denise and I share such a passion for being instruments of hope and change. As we have gone through these events with the people here, we have seen the futility of so many efforts. And we confess some of ours. But that makes it all the more important that the work we do leads to true self sustainable changes. Recently I was part of a conversation with Elwood and Robert. Elwood stated that some people define sustainability to be providing jobs, but the jobs are based on an external revenue stream from charitable foundations; we all agreed, that is not sustainable. Based on that conversation I have come up with the following working definition of sustainable: Use the resources you have, add value and monetize the results. On Friday, February 7th, we had two meetings that illustrate our attempts at developing sustainability. The first was a meeting about agriculture. Present at the meeting was Fr. Gracia, Sr. Pat, Guy Marie, our agronomist, Denise and I. During the course of the meeting we addressed many hindrances and problems we are facing. After two hours of intense discussion we condensed all the issues down to two root problems: Fear and lack of communication. The fear is a very deep-rooted cultural issue. When someone leaves a job and someone is hired to fill the position, in Haiti, people believe that the person hired stole the job, often with dangerous consequences ranging from making life long enemies to revenge actions, sometimes death. Sr. Pat told of one instance when a manager of chicken house project died after only working three months, they could not hire another manager for some time because people would believe that the new manager had killed the previous manager to get his job. When John Louie quit his job as overseer of the Fr. Jim agriculture project he did not understand that it was under the umbrella of that position that he provided other services to us. He does not understand that he did not work for us, he worked for the parish. He quit his job because he did not want to work for Fr. Gracia and Fr. Gracia is in charge of the parish, not us. We work for the parish as well. He did not want to work for Fr. Gracia because in his mind, Fr. Gracia “stole” Fr. Jadotte’s job. John Louie does not understand the concept of the structure of the church. Ignorance combined with stubbornness and pride is a very powerful force. Unknown to us, this fear has affected all the Haitians that have worked at the center. Guy Marie explained that technicians that he sends to work at the center stagger their arrival and departure times so that no one can predict when they will be there. Fear is a very difficult thing to overcome. I believe that it can be overcome with faith, love, education, patience, and communication. Lack of communication is the second root problem and something we can overcome. As our agriculture group, APWOKAPRIM, has developed it has grown in an organic process. It now has over 500 members and communication has become clumsy at best. We realize that it is time for the group to develop and adopt a formal structure with defined lines of communication. It is not our intention to mandate a structure, rather to provide an environment and assistance for the group to develop a structure that works for them. This develops sustainability of APWOKAPRIM by taking the resource available, the group, adding value, the structure, and ending up with a valuable resource to help carry out the goals of the group which is to increase the income of the farmers. Our second meeting was with Fr. Gracia and Sr.Julien, the nurse who runs the clinic in Kalabat. This meeting was to develop a mobile clinic at Garcin. This will be an experiment with two goals, one to provide medical services and two, that it be partly self-sustaining. To begin with patients will pay 150 gourdes, about $3.25 US. 100 gourdes of this is for the service and 50 gourdes goes into a fund to replenish medicines. This is only partially sustainable because 50 gourdes does not come close to covering the true cost of medications. The majority of the medicines that we have are donated and we have agreements with the donors not to sell any donated medicines. However there are medicines needed that are not donated and we will have to replenish stock between donations of medicine. If we had to buy all the medications, it would be impossible for the people here to afford health care. The clinic will be held once a week beginning on Tuesday February 17th.very first leadership meeting

Maiden Voyage

truck

As I write this it is after 9:00 Thursday night. We just got back from picking up Robert, our engineer team member from Port au Prince. Denise drove the part from here to Gonaives and same on the return trip. I did all the driving to, from and in Port au Prince. You would not believe what it is like. Nobody pays attention to any of the few traffic lights, no passing zones, lanes, stop signs, speed limits etc. The horn is one of the most essential parts of your vehicle.  Many vehicles do not have working lights. Motos are a law unto themselves.

We had our first flat tire right after we picked up Robert and stayed behind schedule the rest of the day. As a side note: the jack that came with our brand new Toyota Landcruiser, does not lift high enough to change a tire. We resorted to shimming the jack and blocking the frame with assorted rocks and blocks.

By the time we left and outside of Port au Prince it started getting dark. I have never driven is such scary conditions before in my life. Trucks and buses where driving far too fast, some with only partial lights so you could not tell where or what they were. There were people and motos on the side of the road, many of the motos did not have lights so I could not see them unless I used my bright lights. TapTaps stopped to pick up and drop off passengers, blocking my lane. Few of these had tail lights, so I could not see them until I was right on top of them. Several times someone would pass a car coming towards me and I would have to swerve and flash my bights at the same time to see if I was going to hit anyone on the side of the road. Most of the time the oncoming traffic had their bright lights on and I could barely see.

It took us more than three hours to go less than 100 miles. When drove through towns, I would slow down, but buses and trucks did not. Most of the towns still had people jammed in the streets. Some still had their open air markets open. I do not know how people survive.

We had the back of the truck full of Roberts suitcases and groceries we picked up for the sisters, another friend and ourselves. We covered it with a sheet and put rocks on the sheet to keep it from blowing away so that people could not see what we had. It is not uncommon for people to steal stuff out of the back of a truck when you slow down in traffic. Johnny was navigating for me and in one town; I misunderstood him and was caught behind a stalled bus. He got out and directed me up on the sidewalk, through some market stalls and through a moto stand. I am talking about clearing maybe an inch on each side, with people pressing in. He had to physically move things for me to get through.

I did pick up a heavy duty tarp from a street vendor in Port au Prince, I think it is from re-purposed  billboard material. He told me it was a “large”.  I certainly hope so; it is for a shade/shelter on the roof for where Denise does her laundry. It was 1,500 gourdes, about 33 bucks. Not bad if it is a “large”. After I bought it he offered me a 9×9 micro thin for 500 gourds. Sorry to break his heart. It wouldn’t have lasted as long as the sheet we used to cover the back of the truck. Even though when we got back, the rocks we put on the sheet had rubbed holes in the sheet. Well what do you expect, this is Haiti.

  1. It is Friday morning. I just heard that the strike resumed in the area around the government buildings and burned a couple of government vehicles. The organizers of the strike want the price of fuel are demanding the price be dropped by 100 gourdes, ($2.15), to a price of $2.60. So far the price  has  been dropped by 20 gourdes.  They are threatening to continue the strike into Carnival to disrupt it. Carnival begins February 15th. The organizers are trying to get all of the sections of Haiti involved.

We will not be traveling until we are sure that things are really over.

PSS. It is now Friday evening. One of the Doctors from the hospital here in Gros Morne was shot through his windshield and killed today in Port au Prince; news was he was caught in the demonstrations.  While this is extremely disconcerting, I do wonder; how many drive by shootings happened in the US today? How many managed to get in the news? I think we in the first world are in denial about who we are.

Peace be with all of you, and all of the people here. Please let us all pray for each other.

Bob

 

 

Life is difficult, more than we can imagine.

 

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We had planned on going Gonaives today. Like so many plans in Haiti, not meant to be. The price of gas and diesel here has not followed the world market prices.

In response people took to the streets of the major cities by erecting barricades and burning tires. The following is a news article published Reuters yesterday evening:

Reuters

February 02, 2015 7:07 PM

PORT-AU-PRINCE—

Traffic was minimal in the normally clogged streets of Haiti’s capital on Monday, after a key minibus drivers union called a two-day general strike to protest high fuel prices.

“The price of gasoline has fallen on the world market, but in Haiti, the poorest country in the world, the authorities do not follow this trend,” said Fritzner Jean, who drives a colorful pickup-turned-minibus, known locally as “tap-tap,” the Caribbean nation’s main form of public transport.

“We want the state to really lower prices because it’s too expensive for us. Look at the hunger that prevails in the country. We cannot tolerate that,” Jean said.

In an effort to avoid the strike, the government announced  lower fuel prices on Friday, with gasoline dropping to 200 gourdes ($4.30) per gallon from 215 ($4.62), and diesel down to 167 ($3.59) from 177 ($3.80) gourdes.

Those prices, however, were deemed insufficient by the tap-tap drivers union.

Prime Minister Evans Paul, without further comment, wrote on his Twitter account at midday: “I say no to those who want to smash the Republic.”

Protesters put up barricades of burning tires at several key intersections in the capital.

“We are blocking every tap-tap driver who wants to work,” said a man who was pulling a car over. He would identify himself only as “Rodney.”

“We are getting the passengers out, without violence. For sure it annoys people but the population understand. We have to be united, otherwise we are dead,” he said.

The cash is badly needed to pay off Haiti’s mounting fuel debt of more than $1.5 billion with Venezuela’s preferential PetroCaribe program, which allows countries to receive oil while deferring payment over 25 years at an interest rate as low as 1 percent.

Haiti is also in the midst of a political crisis after the prime minister was forced to resign and parliament was dissolved over the failure to hold municipal and legislative elections.

The strike was being observed in provincial towns, making access to the north of the country particularly difficult.

Without public transportation, the capital’s industrial park, home to several textile factories, authorized employees to stay home from work. The Ministry of Communication put out assurances that school busses would be circulating as usual on Monday, but many parents kept their children at home.

Yesterday protesters allowed private vehicles to pass without problems.  This morning Johnny called his cousin in Gonaives and was told that there was no traffic on the roads and barricades had been erected. Fr. Gracia sent us a message that it was not safe for us to travel today, and that we would have to see how things played out to reschedule our trip.

One of the purposes of the trip was for Fr. Gracia to open a bank account at one of the national banks.  There have been serious problems with wire transfers from the U.S. to the small peasant bank, Fonkose. In fact he still has not received the wire transfer from St. Thomas church in Cookeville that was sent last September.  Theresa Patterson, director of the Parish Twinning Program has instructed us to have our partner parishes here in Haiti to open accounts in one of the national banks to resolve this issue.

The problem with wire transfers to  Fonkose is attributed to their lack of internal controls and the U.S. government’s concern about money laundering.  But this solution is only causing untold suffering by withholding relief to the poorest of the poor.  Perhaps those making these decisions from their position of comfort and power would think differently if they understood the consequences of their decisions.  Perhaps not.

Later this morning a moto driver came by and told us that Gonaives and been closed and no one was allowed in. Some protesters attacked police and the police the police responded by using billy clubs to beat everyone in the crowd. We have not heard of causalities.

I understand the frustration of the people, with no power over their own lives, protesting over fuel prices but I also think that there is a lot of frustration simmering below the surface with the government’s lack of elections and the occupation by the U.N. troops.

As the day has progressed we have heard reports of private cars being stopped, the windows smashed and anything of value taken. I am very thankful that we are not on the road today.  Once this blow over, things will return to the uneasy peace that always hangs over the country.

After hearing this report, I called Elwood,  Anita’s husband, the nurse who was with Denise aiding the pregnant lady who died,  and  a friend of mine, who is in Port au Prince picking up two young ladies from the airport.  I did not reach him, but he returned my phone call a while later and told me he was just getting ready to leave Port au Prince. He told me that he had just heard that the roads were open all the way here and was heading up. I asked him to call me when he has arrived safely.

As I publish this, please pray for safe travels for Elwood and his passengers. I hope that all of you will pray for the peace for the people here and especially thanksgiving for the peace we all take for granted in the first world.

Bob

 

Another perspective:  

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This is a post by our friend Anita. She is the nurse that took Denise and the pregnant women who died  to the hospital.

  Anita Martin

January 25 at 12:23pm ·

I only knew her for a few hours yesterday……. A mother expecting her 2nd baby, from the remote mountains of Haiti. She started bleeding yesterday morning. Her family loaded her on a stretcher & brought her to my friend Denise’s house. And this is how God works….. Denise & Bob do not have a truck, but she had called me about an hour before as she had a lady there with a earache & didn’t have meds to give her. So I told her I would come & bring the right kind. So as I approach Denise’s gate, a crowd was in the road with our expecting mother on the stretcher. They motioned me to stop & told me the situation, asking if I would take her to the hospital in Gros Morne. Of course I will & Denise joins us & we head for the hospital with her husband & a sister, plus a couple other family members. Oh how my heart goes out to my patient riding in the bed of the truck on a skinny stretcher with no padding, over bumpy, dusty mountain roads, I try to drive accordingly, knowing time is of the essence, but not wanting to cause undo pain. We arrive at the hospital, which is pretty modern. They start an IV only to be told there is no maternity Dr. available & she needs to be transferred to Goniave. It will cost $ 75 American dollars. ( the average Haitian makes $ 2 American dollars a day). I right away said I will take her. As she is laying in the exam room the nurse does a quick ultrasound & tells us there is no fetal heartbeat. The mother then calls to me & I go over to her. She moans & cry’s out. I reassure her we are there & tell her that God cares & so do I. I then asked her if I could pray for her & she said yes. So I ask God to be with her & her baby, to give her peace & if not against his will to give them life. We then load her back into the truck with her IV’s & start our hour long journey to Goniave to a brand new hospital that specializes in maternity care. We arrive & she is taken to the appropriate area. Soon the nurse is at the door with a prescription, saying go & get this quickly. Here in Haiti , nothing is provided by the hospital. The family must go & get all medicine, supplies, needles, bedding, food etc… So we fly through the halls looking for the pharmacy, & when we find it only to be told they don’t have what we need. Ok where do we get it? The reply is outside the hospital & down the road. So we hurry to the little green & white shack marked pharma & pay our 350 gds & receive 2 liters of IV fluids, tubing, & needles. ( In American money that is about $ 7.50. Away we hurry to the maternity ward. But it is too late…….. The nurse soon comes out & calls the husbands name….Rueben……& tells us she is gone…… I wish you could see this husbands grief….he quietly walks over to a secluded area, tears are rolling down his cheeks, he sinks down in udder grief & just cries. Later he stands & raises his arms & falls against the wall . My heart echo’s his……Why God…..Why????

Why do so many in this world suffer, when so many others have the advantages of the world at their fingertips…….

Today I am grieving…… And pray for Rueben & his other child that don’t have a wife & mother this morning.

 

The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

To all of our faithful partners and all who care about the plight of the poor:

 

The Lord hears the cry of the poor. And we need to raise our voices with them so that those who have ears to hear, will listen.

 

This school year tens of thousands of Haitian students were eliminated from World Food Program’s school lunches.  This follows a government decision to limit recipients of the lunches to only public schools which make up around 20% of the schools in the country. Prior to this any elementary school that met the criteria could apply, including Catholic parish schools.

This affected our school in Buchan Richard, were the Fr.Jim Agriculture Center is located. This has put an extra burden on our much stretched food budget. This means that the children of our parish schools are not eating every day.

Working with the Communal Coalition of schools in Gros Morne in conjunction with the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas we are trying to reverse this situation so that all children who received lunches last year would be able to eat for the rest of this school year.

Would you consider sending the following message to Madame Martelly, the First Lady of Haiti who advocates for Haitian children?

Please click on this link (http://www.premieredame.ht/) which will bring you to Madame Martelly’s website.  On the right side of the menu bar there is an option to contact her.  Select this and you will arrive at automatic contact page.  Fill in your necessary information and make the subject “Restoring School Lunches.”  Copy and paste the message below into the message box and send.

We thank you for your support and would appreciate any feedback you receive.  Please help spread this message to any family, friends and concerned citizens. If you are reading this on Facebook, please share this on your time line.

 

Thank you,

 

Bob and Denise Snyder SDS

 

Madame Martelly,We write to you on behalf of the tens of thousands of Haitian children who have been refused school lunches.  We ask your help in reversing the decision of the Ministry of Education to limit the World Food Program food deliveries to public schools.  All the schools that received food last year should be reinstated in the school lunch program.  These schools meet the program criteria and serve very poor students. Sak vid pa kanpe! Please let us know how you can help these children. Thank you.IMG_9335