Saturday, March 23, 2013

Great teams,great staff, great donors & great news

I have been traveling since March 7th and had the great opportunity to see 3 of the 4 teams traveling during that time at work. As I said good bye in Guatemala I realized how exciting it was to have so many of our past Haiti team travelers visit us in Guatemala. Both countries are so different and even though the programs are the same the results have a different flavor. THANK YOU  TEAMS!!

As I traveled to Haiti, the trip that should have taken one day turned into three days with two overnights. I was looking forward to visiting Dr Tamara and the UMass Darmouth team. Tamara left the day I arrived. So we didn't even get to say hello but I was happy to see the U Mass team that is always a delight. They had worked very hard and saw over 250 patients during their week in Haiti. At the meeting last night one of the team members said, " On the first day I arrived I was so afraid because I didn't think I could make it with the cold showers, the bunkhouse and the different food. Here I am six days later and I know I will be back. " GREAT TEAMS!!

I thought- this is amazing our donors have kept the all the programs going and kept two clinics running, bringing free medical care to over 30,000 people a year even while the US economy has not been that strong. We don't get big grants or have huge donors but we have many,many donors who give the best that they can and with their whole heart. THANK YOU DONORS!!

I received the happiest news while in Haiti. Sometimes you have a vision of what you want your program to be like. Since the earthquake in Haiti the medical program has been invented and reinvented many times. It has been not always been easy and there are times when we haven't had enough medicine or supplies but we
continue to stand firm in our decision to deliver free care and medicine to the extreme poor.  Sometimes when I think maybe we won't make it some great news comes along and gives us the courage to go on. We decided last year that our goal was to have the best clinic in all of Haiti. This week brought GREAT NEWS in reaching that goal. Here it is.

The department of Public Health made two surprise site visits during the past week. They are visiting all clinics and hospitals all over Haiti. Although we were not suppose to receive any kind of report at this time, Guetchin knew one of the people and asked  if they could tell her anything. They said our clinic runs better than most hospitals and clinics in Haiti.  They spent two days, all day long, interviewing both the Haitian staff and the visiting teams, they were so impressed with everyone. They had no criticism of the clinic at all. They loved the posters that Umass Darmouth made for the clinic last year. The one request they had was to make some posters for the diabetics and hypertension clinics and what do you think UMASS Dartmouth did as part of their project this year, made posters for our diabetic and hypertensive clinic, all translated into Creole. We just hadn't hung them yet.  Guetchin was beaming  as she told me how great the staff did. She was so proud of them. Marcy told me all the questions they asked her and how she answered them. It was a very happy and proud moment for me. THANK YOU Staff !

So many people have been helped through our sponsorship program, business program, housing program and the medical program.  When I left today , there was Wislain, a little downs baby in our program. He had come to the clinic last fall in very  poor condition. Now he sat on his mom's lap , she brought him to the feeding program today. She wanted to make sure that I saw him because of how chubby he is now. She thought I wouldn't recognize him .I almost didn't.  He is growing big and strong. Wislain sits there today, alive because we have  a great staff, great teams and great donors all working together to make a huge difference in the lives of the extreme poor in Haiti and Guatemala. THANK YOU!!

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