Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks Today

Happy Thanksgiving! In the spirit of the season, we're taking the opportunity to say THANKS--to everyone and everything that has made PID what it is. Here are just a few things we're grateful for today:
  • A wonderful Annual Benefit celebration last weekend. Thanks everyone who made the event so spectacular, and a special thanks to Glendora mayor Johnnie B. Thomas for making a special “appearance” despite his recent health setback.
  • A successful fledgling year for our Mississippi program. We didn't quite know what to expect when we dove in last fall, but as you heard at the benefit, we’ve kept our “boots on the ground” and haven't looked back since.
  • Our brand new administration building in Haiti, a necessary addition that will greatly benefit our staff in Haiti.
  • Our incredible volunteers who donate countless time and energy toward advancing PID's mission of serving the poorest of the poor.
  • Deeply generous donors who sacrificially invest in PID's work. We wouldn’t be here without you.
  • The privilege of seeing lives being transformed daily (like this one, this one and this one).
Thank you all! We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

National Diabetes Month

Part of diabetes education in Haiti
November is National Diabetes Month. A disease blind to cultures and country borders, diabetes has an unfortunately wide grip, affecting one in every 12 people across the globe. More than 10% of Guatemala’s population and nearly 7% of Haiti’s has diabetes.

In short, diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough or respond properly to insulin, which results in high blood glucose (blood sugar). Untreated, diabetes can cause complications and increase patients’ risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and other serious ailments. Diet and exercise are an important part of diabetes management.

Given the prevalence of diabetes, its potential long-term consequences, and the lack of access to quality medical care in the communities where we work, we see diabetes education and treatment as a critical component of our medical programs. Field directors Sandra Sonley (Haiti) and Abby Sawyer (Guatemala) weigh in on what PID is doing about diabetes:

“PID's diabetes program in Haiti has over 200 patients who come for weekly or monthly appointments depending on their situation. Samuel SaintVil meets with each person individually, taking their blood sugar and talking to them about their eating habits and medication consistency for the preceding week. Patients with dangerously high or low blood sugars are sent to meet with the doctor regarding their medication levels before they head home. As with American diabetics, nutrition is crucial. A volunteer team of nursing students teaches educational classes when people come to meet with Samuel. They have also made large canvases with facts about sugar content in common Haitian foods. The Haitian diet is very heavy in starches and therefore sugars, so the images promote things like vegetables, which have low sugar and high nutritional value.”

“We have 20 patients in our Guatemala diabetes program that come each month for a blood sugar check and receive their medication. There are probably about 10 more patients that come each month just for a blood sugar check, but they aren't officially in our program and don't receive medication. There is a lack of education in general about diabetes; many people take their medication for a month, start to feel better and then stop taking the medication. They don't have an understanding of the disease and how their lifestyle affects it. Here at PID, we do a lot of teaching and education about the disease. We try to do a lifestyle change, including diet and exercise, before medication. A big struggle for people is complying with the change in diet. We tell them to eat fewer tortillas (that's hard when tortillas are such a staple!), put less sugar in their coffee, eat less junk food and drink less soda, and do simple exercises like walking, simple weights with full water bottles or cans of beans. Even if they are taking the medication as prescribed, eating well and exercising are very important.”

You can help PID fight diabetes by supporting our medical programs in Haiti and Guatemala.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I promised a few photos...


I promised pictures, so here you go. 

Above is Alison with Marialene, a fanm saj from Canaan who was doing births for years before taking the midwife training class with Alison through PID. The two reunited today when Marialene came with some of her pregnant clients from Canaan to get prenatal consultations with the team. 

Below is a shot of the team being hilarious with the local kids on a walk tonight. Tomorrow they are off back to the US. 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Relaxing and productive weekend

I've been a busy, busy lady but let me fill you in about what's been going on here at PID Haiti. This week we've had a team of nurse midwives, labor and delivery nurses specialists, and Community health nurses here. They've been seeing pregnant patients of the local midwives (or fanm saj, in Creole) who took part in the PID Midwife Safe Birth Classes. A few male midwives (papi saj) also brought in their expectant mothers. Every midwife was included on at least a few of the consultations to reinforce what they learned in their trainings in previous months: identifying high-risk pregnancies and patients. We made use of our new maternity equipment including a very new ultrasound. 

As often happens, word got around to surrounding communities that nurses were here seeing female patients, so the team also ended up seeing a ton of sick babies and kids. Not exactly planned but the team was positive, flexible and tonight they told me they were happy to provide much needed medical services to the patients who came.

Saturday Alison and Lynn did a PID staff refresher class for emergency safe delivery. The staff really enjoyed the class and they really seem to be looking forward to learning more about delivery. One of the American nurses Lynn came with her husband John who has been really helpful in tackling several construction projects around the clinic campus. Gale left on Friday but she and I both noticed that this team has been such an energetic and generous group. I will try to post pictures before they leave! They are the first team that has come since I've started my position here, so its been especially fun to have them.

After dinner they told me that they really enjoyed the beach trip today. That's not hard to believe, it was a gorgeous day. Today Abdias and I hung out here at the clinic with team members Donna and Mara until it was time to take them to the airport to head back to the US. The rest of the team is resting and gearing up for their last work day tomorrow. 

I'll check back in soon! 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Join us for PID's 14th Annual Benefit!

Our Annual Benefit & Silent Auction is right around the corner!

Saturday, November 22
6:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Vittori-Rocci Post
143 Brimbal Avenue, Beverly, MA
(Exit 19 off Route 128 – ample parking)
You’ve heard what we do in Haiti and Guatemala, come hear about our new work in Mississippi! 

Special Guest Speaker Johnny B. Thomas, Mayor of Glendora
Delectable Hors D’oeuvres and Southern BBQ
Scrumptious Desserts
Complimentary Wine and Beer
Live Jazz and Blues Music by the Bagwell Island Band

Thursday, November 6, 2014


PID Guatemala is looking for a Santa Costume for our Christmas parties in December. Every year Santa comes with presents for all the sponsored children. The kids get very excited to hear Santa call out their name  If you have one or know someone that does to either donate or let us borrow, please contact the Ipswich office. The team will be traveling down on December 3rd. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Reminder: PID Guatemala is on Instagram!

For those of you who use Instagram, be sure to follow @pid_guatemala to learn more about our programs in Guatemala and see what is going on in Aldea Concepcion Ixtacapa.

Also when you post pictures from your trips you can use the hashtags:
#partnersindevelopment   #pidguatemala   #pidconstruction   #pidsponshorship

Monday, October 27, 2014

Team at the Warehouse

Many thanks to the North Shore Community Baptist Church in Beverly Farms for sending a team to work in our warehouse! They sorted soap, shampoo, vitamins & tylenol for our clinics in Haiti & Guatemala!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tackling Guatemala’s Parasite Problem

“PID gives the poorest of the poor hope, above all, and I feel lucky to have observed it in action.”

Julie (right) and Rachel in the lab.
Julie Merriam went on her PID first trip at age 12. “The memory of seeing such malnourished kids, who were only a few years younger than me, still sticks with me,” she reflects. Over the next decade, Julie took two more trips to Haiti and two to Guatemala. These trips, she says, are what inspired her to become a doctor.

“During my sophomore year of college [as a pre-med student at Yale], I decided that I wanted to go abroad over the summer.” Having fallen in love with Guatemala during her two trips at ages 15 and 16, “I couldn’t think of anything better than to go back.” Julie teamed up with fellow PID pre-med intern, Rachel Cooper, and began working on a parasite project in Guatemala.

Food- and water-borne parasites are particularly common in Guatemala’s rural communities. Lack of knowledge and limited access to clean water contribute to the spread of infection, which leads to intestinal trouble and malnutrition, similar to what Julie witnessed on her first trip. 
Julie and Rachel spent the summer of 2012 screening kids in the village schools for parasites, organizing well checks and treatments, and teaching sanitation classes for kids and families. “It was an incredible experience,” Julie says. “We both returned the following summer to do a formal parasite study with PID and our respective universities.”

Julie collecting a fecal sample for her study,
They probed deeper this time, examining the efficacy of Albendazole (a common deworming drug used around the world) and gathering data on the demographic variables that contribute to infection. As part of this research, Julie and Rachel asked local families where they got water for everyday chores such as bathing, cooking and drinking. Many answered, “The river.” When asked where they went to the bathroom, many answered the same. “Hearing people answer, ‘The river’ for those questions was disheartening,” says Julie. “This is why the water filters that PID has installed are so important.”

Also important is hygiene education. “PID’s mission is to help people help themselves. I hope that by increasing awareness about parasites and how they are transmitted, people will be more conscious about how important hygiene and handwashing are.”

Now a freshly minted Yale graduate (May 2014), Julie is back in Guatemala again--this time with a 10-month Yale fellowship. She is expanding her parasite project to two new schools and will begin to map the prevalence of infection in kids younger than school-age.

When she returns to the U.S. next year, Julie will begin applying to medical school with the hope of realizing the dream that began during her early PID trips. “The doctors I have met on teams have all inspired me with the love and care that they give to each patient. Their mentorship has been invaluable. I hope to someday be able to contribute as they have.”

Be part of the solution: Learn how you can contribute to PID’s medical efforts in Guatemala.

Gustavo, a boy in the village, learning how to use the microscope and identify the parasites.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Long-Awaited Administration Building!

Woohoo! This is a shot of Director of Social Work Mr. Genois standing at the entrance of our much-needed and long-awaited administration building on the PID clinic campus. Its right next to the clinic and will serve as the office building for department heads and directors.

 Up until this point, the heads of small business, sponsorship, administration and clinic were all sharing basically one office, so we are all pumped to have our own space. Its especially necessary for the social work/sponsorship department to have this new space, which includes a waiting room to accomodate Child Sponsorship families while they wait for their monthly follow-up meetings, drop off report cards, meet with Mr. Genois, etc. Previously they had to wait outside the clinic, in the patient waiting room, wherever. Needless to say it will be nice to have a designated waiting room for them. 

Gale is also here this week and helped orchestrate the move into the new building. She was also the one who made a pretty random (and lucky) discovery: the floor of the building (the brand new building) had a lot of white paint splattered on almost all the floors while they were painting the walls. It wasn't going to be the end of the world, but it was a huge shame because the floor design was actually really beautiful before it was ruined. We have tried like three different times to get the paint off with turpentine, etc. Well, Gale comes to find out that the magic combo of brillo pads and windex will take  the paint right off the floor. (Its like My Big Fat Greek Wedding- Baha!) 
So tonight Gale, Saintilia, Murielle and I cleaned one of the floors that way and it turned out pretty good. The floor design is cool- its like colorful swirls. Very artsy.

This is a short work week for the clinic and office- tomorrow is a national holiday so we will start off in the new office after the long weekend.

Will post again soon!