2013_04 Some Time In Haiti
April 1, 2013
Some Time Spent In Haiti
Len Sackett for St. David's Haiti Outreach Mission
Over the past 3 months it's been bam, bam! Two trips to Haiti for me! Before that, my last trip was way back in the spring of 2010. Haiti Outreach Mission (HOM) had to cancel their 2011 trip because of the cholera epidemic and political unrest in Haiti. I couldn't go on the spring 2012 medical mission, so RN Kathy Graham carried St. David's flag on that trip.
As a result of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, HOM contributed funds to Habitat for Humanity’s 2011 and 2012 home builds in Haiti. Two other people and I participated in the November 2012 build as HOM representatives. Then bam, fast forward to February 2013 and HOM sponsored a medical mission trip to Mirebalais, Haiti. Schedules fell into place and I could go on that trip too. Three months and two trips to Haiti! Bam, Bam. I could now say, "Bonjour," well almost. The Haitians still shook their heads and politely smiled at me when I said it and handed me a Kleenex.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, through their Habitat for Humanity (HfH) organization, sponsored two 100 home builds near the city of Leogane, in an area heavily impacted by the 2010 earthquake just west of Port-au-Prince. Indeed, three years after the quake there are still over 400,000 Haitians living in 'temporary' tent housing. Haiti Outreach Mission had received a large amount in earthquake relief funds from private donors and felt the most effective use of the funds would be in supporting the HfH Haiti home builds. Because of this support, HOM was able to have three people participate in each of the 100 Habitat home builds in 2011 and 2012. I had the opportunity to be part of that and take a one week trip to the sunny Caribbean in November of 2012. It was a very spiritually rewarding experience and I was also able to sweat off a few pounds. In the one week period, I had the opportunity, along with literally hundreds of other volunteers and the future home owners, to assemble 100 homes just as others had done in the 2011 Carter build.
bam! - Haiti Outreach Mission was organizing a February 2013 trip to the medical Clinic they sponsor in Mirebalais, Haiti, and I was able to participate. St. David’s went in full force with five volunteer participants: Dr. Dominique Monde-Matthews (HOM president), son Michael, RN's Kathy Graham and Janet Ernst and me. I have no medical or dental skills myself, other than being able to reshape my thumb with a hammer (and I think that was how I qualified as a ‘missionary’, because I have some very good prayers I say when I do that). Thanks to the many members of St. David’s who participate in our Haiti Outreach funding-raising, St. David’s was able to provide over $2,400 worth of supplies for the trip. Indeed, between all seven of the HOM churches and their 27 missionaries, HOM probably took over a ton of supplies on the mission trip. It was a busy week. Throughout the week doctors, nurses, and dentists worked at the St. Pierre clinic and at several half day clinics at churches outside of Mirebalais. While all of this was going on, a group of well trained volunteers went to various HOM supported churches and schools and provided fluoride treatments to 1,400 school children. The medical teams saw over 1,000 patients and the dental teams really "pulled their weight" – ouch - by helping over 100 people with dental problems.
While having supper one night -- bam-- (I guess that's 3 bams, isn’t it?), in walks Socrate M. Pierre, the medical student whose studies St. David's Haiti Outreach (HO) is helping to support. He heard that we were in Haiti and he rode a tap-tap up to Mirebalais from Port-au-Prince to thank us in person for our support. It was great to meet him face-to-face. Normally our contact with him is through reports provided by HO members Janny Milton and Edith Morisseau who visit him when they travel to Haiti to visit their families.
Well that’s my report. I just wanted to keep you up to date because without your support of Haiti Outreach Mission and St. David's Haiti Outreach, this great mission opportunity would not exist for those of us on the HOM team. Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and all of us, YOU and I, are giving them a helping hand.
Other trip notes:
- Other Episcopal parish’s participating in the February mission trip were:
All Saints, Lansing, and St. Claire, Ann Arbor.
- Episcopal parish’s who have also provided support for the St. Pierre medical clinic are:
Advent, West Bloomfield; Nativity, Bloomfield Twp; and St. Paul’s, Lansing.
- Our Catholic brothers and sisters on the trip were from:
Church of the Holy Cross, Novi; Corpus Christi, Detroit; Our Lady of Victory, Novi;
St. Barnard’s, Billings, Montana; and St. Blasé, Sterling Hts.
- I also bumped into at least one Lutheran, one Presbyterian, and one “none of the above” while on the February mission trip.
Web Administrator Note:
Be sure to view Len's photos from the 2013 Mission trip:
- General Photos
- Medical Team Photos
- Fluoride Team Photos
- Dental Team Photos