Dec 18, 2011 4:30pm
Our Global Family is growing — big time. Earlier this month, Lori and Jill were in Haiti to meet with representatives from several non-profit organizations as well as volunteer and activists working on the ground. Haiti is filled with foreigners working to make a better Haiti — medicine, education, sanitation, construction. The difficult part is, they don’t always work together. We’re trying to change that.
Meet some of our new friends.
Morgan Wienberg founder of Little Footprints, Big Steps http://www.littlefootprintsbigsteps.com
Rick Davis of Sirona Cares http://sironacaresblog.com
Nurse Jessica Patti and Matt Spates, the medical team at Raising Haiti http://www.raisinghaiti.com/
David Miller, chairman of One5 Foundation http://www.one5.org/haiti.cfm
Builders with Roof Over My Head
While in Port Au Prince, we toured a factory specializing in lightweight steel framing for low-income housing. The facility also trains Haitian engineers.
Nurse Jessica Patti and Dr. Matt Spates gave us a tour of an area of Cité Soleil where they offer medical care to children. Cité Soleil is an notorious shanty town, densely populated and dangerous. We met some of the children and Dr. Spates checked on a prosthetic limb for a boy he’s been caring for.
Our new friends braved the 4-hour drive to Les Cayes to tour our Global Family home and see the land. We’re working towards building a school and medical clinic on our land in Torbeck. The medical clinic would not only serve the surrounding community, it could provide free health care to our GFP kids.
One of our GFP babies, Clara, has been suffering from an eye infection for nearly two weeks. GFP volunteer Brit has been to several hospitals with her, seeking treatment. She had been turned away from crowded hospitals in both Les Cayes and Port Au Prince. An African doctor at Institut Brenda Strafford in Les Cayes examined her and determined she has a fungal ulcer in her eye. She has already lost vision in her left eye. She will undergo a simple procedure to close up the eye. She is doing well, all things considered.
During this week we were also scrambling to find a doctor to see Joassin, 6, who was fitted with a catheter two years ago after surviving a traffic accident. At the request from a friend in the States, we offered to help Joassin and his father find a doctor. Joassin’s family had been unable to get the basic tests to see if the catheter could be removed. Dr. Bill of the Baptist Hospital in Les Cayes discovered Joassin has an extreme amount of scar tissue built up, which will prevent him from being able to urinate normally. He will need surgery. Joassin is currently unable to attend school because of the catheter, which he finds embarrassing. We hope to get him the medical attention he needs.
There are so many children to help. Which brings us to our latest adventure — removing orphans from an abusive orphanage in Port Au Prince. There’s a chance our GFP family will grow by as many as 100 children. There is an effort to reunite some of these children with their families. We’ve rented a home in Les Cayes, purchased beds, stocked the pantries with food. We’re currently setting up staffing and working closely with social services. We’re in a bit of a waiting game with the government — which is proving to be dedicated to shutting down poorly managed and abusive orphanages. Social services has toured our properties and supports our projects. They said they’ve been trying to help these children for a long time.
We toured one of the poorly managed orphanages in Port Au Prince on our last day in Haiti. We found more than 75 children living in tents on a dirt field. The infants were not wearing pants, let alone diapers. We watched as one toddler peed down her leg and nobody stepped in to clean her up. Children had all the symptoms of malnutrition — yellowing eyes and hair and round bellies. The kids ranged in ages from 8 months to 17 years old. A makeshift classroom was set up with a tattered blue tarp, two benches and a single chalkboard. There was one concrete building, where cooking was done, although we did not see pantries of food. We do not know how much these children are being fed, but we could immediately notice how much they’re being neglected.
These are the children we want to help next and with help from our supporters and new friends, we will be able to do that.