Monday, March 23, 2015

UMass Dartmouth/Atlanta team's amazingly productive week

Its hard to believe that the UMass Dartmouth/Atlanta team has already gone. They had a very, very active week, seeing a total of 103 sponsorship children for our Well Child check-ups, several staff trainings, 2 mobile clinics to the "dump" community of Mohlea, and of course a ton of patient consultations. With two American pediatricians here, Dr. Paul was even able to take a few vacation days during the week.

Here are some pictures from the very productive week:

Carline Mongerard benefitting from the Asthma medication/Inhaler training given to staff by a team member.

Carline (left), our Team member/Trainer (center) and the translator and Pharmacist, Jimmy (right).

Team members brought jump ropes for the neighborhood kids to enjoy.

The UMass Darthmouth nursing students brought 3 large posters (in Creole of course) for the PID staff to use when working with PID patients. The posters give info on breastfeeding and sexual health.

Student presentations

Student presentations

Final debrief meeting where the Team was "drum-rolling" in anticipation of the "awards" for the week.
Mort, holding his "trophy" rock from the worksite, he and another team member were awarded MVP's of the construction worksite. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Medicine delivery in the US

Yesterday we received a huge shipment of medicine which will be used for PID's Medical Programs.
A big shout out goes to Dave Clark, who not only donates the use of our warehouse space in Ipswich, MA, but also helped unload the shipment!

Dave, carefully maneuvering the giant fork lift.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Turning Broken Glass into Beautiful Gems: The Story Behind “Gems of the Antilles”

Ryan Lally, "Gems of the Antilles" intern
Ryan Lally used to spend his college summer breaks running a very successful painting and subcontracting business. But even with an uptick in sales, Ryan says, “I wanted to do something better with my time, something bigger than myself.” So, he left his business plans at home and shipped out to Haiti for a summer internship with Partners in Development.

Ryan was charged with starting a fair trade jewelry business (uncharted territory even for this business student) to support a group of women in Haiti. The jewelry line would be called “Gems of the Antilles,” and would symbolize Haiti’s restoration as a country. Now the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti was once called the “Pearl of the Antilles” because of its natural beauty and resources. As the Haitian government restores the country’s charm and beauty, PID would begin turning broken glass into beautiful faceted gemsrepresenting a new beginning and hope for Haiti.

Eager to get started, Ryan dove right in, educating himself on the fair trade jewelry market and production process. Working with a donated faceter machine and seven Haitian women, he set out to create a functional, attractive bracelet design that stayed true to Haitian style. The team would shape broken glass into polished gems, and affix them to metal bands made from the typical 55-gallon oil drum barrels used in Haitian art and jewelry. Some gems would be reserved for more delicate necklaces or pendants, with the hope of adding additional pieces to the line in the future. And the women, many of whom had multiple children and another job or two, would be paid generous wages to support their families. The goal was to create “beautiful products with a beautiful purpose,” Ryan explains.

But finding a plausible method for attaching the glass gems to the bracelet bands without destroying both parts was a task that proved more challenging than anticipated. After significant trial and error, Ryan and the team eventually landed on a style and effective production method. “We got our first prototypes and they were awesome. It was very exciting for me,” he says, “to see some tangible progress.”

After spending the summer battling language barriers, building relationships and braving a new world of jewelry production, Ryan returned to his studies at Franklin & Pierce University, leaving the new venture in the capable hands of his Haitian team. “I have a whole new appreciation and understanding of the culture of Haiti and the obstacles of management in a different country,” he says. “This project is an awesome example of a business venture’s growth from idea to reality.”

With plenty more broken glass to be collected, shaped and polishedand plenty more lives to be transformedthe project is really just beginning. “You can give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, or you can teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. It is the same concept,” Ryan explains. “By providing jobs with fair wages, we are providing viable income for the future, not just now. It is our hope that this small business will continue to grow as people discover the beautiful products and the good it does.”

Browse our “Gems of the Antilles” necklaces, bracelets and pendants.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mississippi and Endicott

The team of Nursing students and advisors as well as two professors from UNE arrived safely yesterday . I arrived much later at 1:30 AM. After a good night's sleep we woke up to plan the day and the week. As usually the first day was a lot of work. The team cleans and inventoried the new clinic and set up our new dollar store. Kids will work for tickets and then be able to buy items from the new store, stocked with sneakers, school items and misc items. Then we had our first cooking class. 20 plus kids showed up and learned about eating foods the color of the rainbow and had a great fruit salad for a snack. They later made bread into a pizza roll in practice for the dinner they will cook on Saturday. The team retired early to get rested for their first clinic tomorrow. 

Pictures from Team Members

Here are some pictures from the past two weeks that were taken by team members.

giggly little girl

a beautiful day at lake atitlan

training the future nurses and doctors

jen with her new friends
group picture in antigua on saturday

judy with some little ladies

celebrating marcelina's birthday

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Team arrived safe and already at work

The team has arrived safely and is already working. They are bagging children's vitamins for our well child check ups this week, already hard at work. The team leaders and I planned for the week. We not only have a ton of providers here, but we also have nursing students from UMass Dartmouth here who will be learning and observing in the clinic (and let's not forget also working construction).

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The end of another great week!

Yesterday the team finished up their work in the village. Cynthia had a party in the afternoon with the knitters celebrating all their accomplishments during these past two weeks. Judy continued counseling a few people and enjoyed a visit to the local health center with Alejandra. Jen and Meghan once again went with Julie to Desierto and got through three grades for heights, weights and hemoglobins. In they afternoon they had an educational class for our diabetic patients. They explained more about the disease and the treatment. James and Mackenzie finished painting the house in Desierto and got to paint the front of the house where they put in a floor earlier this week.

Today we headed to Antigua to spend the day enjoying the colonial city. We got to tour a chocolate factory and a jade factory. We learned that they best cocoa beans in all of Guatemala come from Suchitepequez (the department where PID is working). In the evening they left Antigua and headed for Guatemala City to stay overnight in a hostal for an early flight tomorrow morning.

This team was great to work with and had so much passion for the projects they were doing.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Painting and more knitting!!

Mackenzie and James worked with Miguel painting a house in Desierto. Miguel picked out some very happy colors and the family is excited about how beautiful their house looks. Some of the kids in the family were even helping out.

Jen and Meghan returned with Julie to the school in Desierto to record the heights, weights and hemoglobins of the kids. Today they got through 2 first grade classes. They will return tomorrow morning as well.

Judy had an afternoon session with a group of mothers who wanted some advice on controlling their hyperactive children. They mothers were all very happy to learn some techniques other than yelling at their kids.

In the afternoon Jen and Meghan did some basic higiene classes for kids in the village. They learned about washing their hands and brushing their teeth.


Evelin Alison Calel Ixtos
DOB Sept. 30, 2013

Evelin is 1 year and 4 months old and malnourished. She weighs 15 pounds and doesn’t walk or talk yet because she doesn’t have enough strength. She and her mom (who is only 17) live with her mom’s grandmother. No one in the house is working and they depend on charity from neighbors to give them a little money to buy tortillas. They live in a wooden shack with a cement floor. Evelin’s father abandoned her mother when she found out she was pregnant. This little family needs the help of PID so that Evelin can get some food and medicine. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Midweek in Guatemala

Today we had many patirnts come to the clinic. I paid a pickup truck to go and bring them in from there village which is pretty far away. These people probably would never have come to the clinic because the cost of transportation is too expensive dor them. So I was happy to be able to help them out so they could get seen by the nurses.

Mackenzie and James finished pouring the cement floor in the second room of the house. It looks so beautiful! This afternoon they started painting a house in Desierto that was built last summer.

Below are some pictures from Cynthia's afternoon knitting class.