Relief Network Collaborators
A significant part of the CTF-SOS DRS response to the April 2009 earthquake in Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy was a research project spearheaded by the CTF, Bambin Gesu Hospital and EMR. The research results were presented publicly for the first time at an international conference in May 2010 in Rome.
Recently, the primary researcher – Dr. Stefano Vicari – received the following good news from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Dear Stefano Vicari,
I am delighted to inform you that your submission entitled, Child Psychopathology and Natural Disasters: The Italian Experience After L’aquila Earthquake, has been accepted for inclusion as a New Research Poster presentation at the AACAP/CACAP Joint Annual Meeting in Toronto, ON, Canada, October 18-23, 2011.
The research done was an attempt on the part of the CTF and its collaborators to shed some light on the trauma experienced by children/adolescents as a result of natural disasters. The issue of the incidence of PTSD and other mental disorders in children in the wake of disasters is one that merits further study. CTF-SOS DRS hopes to be a continued part of that research.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
CTF-SOS DRS is looking to extend its work in Chile. After my recent visit (Nov. 18-24, 2010) when I heard of the number of adults and children who are still traumatized by the earthquake, we have decided to sponsor pastoral formation programs in counseling and a scientific study to look at the psychological effects of the earthquake. Please help us as we help those Chileans still traumatized by the earthquake
p. Pietro Magliozzi, MI
La red para crear esta investigación de alto valor científico en Chile liderada por los Camilianos CTF se ensancha a la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, departamenteo de Psiquiatría en las personas de Francisco Avoitis (director), Cecilia Ruiz (psiquiatra infantil), Daniela Huerta (neuro-psiquiatra investigadora).
Vea a Las FotosRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
CTF-SOS DRS is looking to extend its work in Chile. After my recent visit (Nov. 18-24, 2010) when I heard of the number of adults and children who are still traumatized by the earthquake, we have decided to sponsor pastoral formation programs in counseling and a scientific study to look at the psychological effects of the earthquake. Please help us as we help those Chileans still traumatized by the earthquake
p. Pietro Magliozzi, MI
Con los encuentros el 22-26 de noviembre en el hospital de Parral, con El Obispo de Linare y la Caritas Chile, empieza a crearse la red para poner de pié una investigación CTF sobre el estrés post traumático en el niño, fuente de trastornos psiquiátiricos futuros.
En Chile se ha demonstrado que hoy, a 9 meses del terremoto, 20-22% de la población adulta (incluso en Santiago que no ha recibido daños estructurales) tiene esta sindrome cronicizada, que es fuente de ansiedad crónica, angustia, depresión, fobias, pánico, pesadillas, etc. peor es en el mundo infantil. Y todo esto se puede diagnosticar y prevenir o también curar. Esta fue la propuesta que en Chile fue escuchada y acogida con gran entusiasmo. El Dr. Vicari y Arigliani son nuestros expertos en presentar esto proyecto de investigación intervención.
Vea a Las FotosRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
On November 20, 2010 the Italian Episcopal Confernece approved the Pakistan Floord Relief Project submitted by CTF-SOS DRS through CTF Central.
The relief efforts until that point have been supported primarily by CTF Central, SOS DRS, the Philippine Province of the camillians and ProSA – an NGO of the Lombardo-Venetian Province of the Camillians located in Milan.
The Italian Episcopal Conference has supported CTF-SOS DRS projects in the Philippines (Typhoon Ketsana – Sept. 2009) and Haiti (Earthquake – January 2011). Manty thanks for their continued support.
20 million people were displaced by the floods in Pakistan. CTF-SOS DRS is providing many of them with medical care, shelter, pastoral care and humanitarian support. Please help us help those affected by the floods in PakistanRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Cholera 6 – Petite Riviere – The first Mission
Cholera 5 - Update – 500 deaths so far
Cholera 3 - Overview of cholera and the situation as of Nov. 1, 2010
Cholera 2 - Will the outbreak head to Port au Prince? We stay.
Cholera 1 - Preparing to go to Artibonite: a decision to make
The relief effort in Les Irois continues.
Therese, Marc Daly and Vickens are working together with Fr. Francien of Our Lady of Mercy Parish and nurses at the local hospital to help the 10-15 patients that are arriving every day with suspected cholera. They have all the telltale signs: dehydration and days of diarrhea. Some are even vomiting blood according to Therese’s reports – not a good sign. Anyway, she tells me that the three of them are working 10-hour-days, at least, providing: IV hydration, oral rehydration solution [ORS} and antibiotics - not to mention pastoral care for the dying and the living - and humanitarian support. But they are running low on medications and ORS.
Here is an interesting communication I had with Therese - via SKYPE, a brief dialogue that is one of the few that we have been able to have in the last 2 days because communication has been difficult: the CTF-SOS DRS mission is in a remote part of Haiti, and for communication we rely on a mobile internet device connected to the local phone grid.
[12/21/2010 1:10:09 PM] Theresia Sinaga: Fr. S, are you there?
[12/21/2010 1:12:02 PM] Scott Binet: Yes. Hi Therese.
[12/21/2010 1:12:09 PM] Theresia Sinaga: HI
[12/21/2010 1:12:15 PM] Theresia Sinaga: How are you?
[12/21/2010 1:12:24 PM] Theresia Sinaga: I have been looking for you this morning
[12/21/2010 1:12:37 PM] Theresia Sinaga: Yes, I need some medicines
[12/21/2010 1:13:42 PM] Scott Binet: What do you need?
[12/21/2010 1:13:59 PM] Theresia Sinaga: I need more ORS
[12/21/2010 1:14:44 PM] Theresia Sinaga: Some antibiotics (doxycyline)
[12/21/2010 1:15:11 PM] Theresia Sinaga: and if Theresa Banks could provide tents it would be good for us
[12/21/2010 1:15:14 PM] Theresia Sinaga: do they have it
[12/21/2010 1:15:51 PM] Theresia Sinaga: At least we have 10-15 people per day who has problem with diarrhea and vomiting
[12/21/2010 1:16:07 PM] Theresia Sinaga: though we do not know exactly if they have cholera
[12/21/2010 1:16:17 PM] Theresia Sinaga: but we suspect them have cholera\
[12/21/2010 1:16:31 PM] Theresia Sinaga: I tried to get the cholera bed from the hospital
[12/21/2010 1:16:40 PM] Theresia Sinaga: because you could not buy it here
[12/21/2010 1:16:53 PM] Theresia Sinaga: one way to have it is by making it
[12/21/2010 1:17:06 PM] Theresia Sinaga: MD, V and I are thinking to make it
[12/21/2010 1:17:37 PM] Theresia Sinaga: the tents that I request it would be for cholera
[12/21/2010 1:18:03 PM] Theresia Sinaga: I would like to separate the people who are suspected cholera with anothet patients
[12/21/2010 1:18:59 PM] Theresia Sinaga: I am thinking to buy tents probably and some woods so we can set up the cholera place
Yes, you can see from Therese’s communication that the needs in Les Irois are great. She confirmed that for me when we spoke this morning – Dec. 23rd. I arrived in Port au Prince last night in the evening and am now preparing for a mission to Les Irois.
Thanks to several benefactors in Houston – especially my brother Todd [an SOS DRS board member] and a generous new friend of the organization named Mike Hanks - and some collaborators in Florida [Light of the World Charities], I was able to bring some medical supplies into Haiti last night. That is actually no small accomplishment given the difficulty of getting items through customs, etc.
I will look to take the items to Les Irois on December 25 when I go there with 2 members of CTF-SOS DRS – Vickens [who just returned to PaP today], and Wesbee, the newest member of the community who I first worked with in Goniaves, Haiti in 2004 when Hurricane Jeanne devastated that city.
The supplies include items from our inventory in PaP and two duffle bags weighing 70 lbs each with: portable cots - 10; IV tubing - 60; 2×2 guaze - 2 pkgs; alcohol wipes - 1000 each; IV extension tubing- 25; nonsterile gloves - 200; Cipro 500 mg - 1,500 tabs; large bottles children’s tylenol - 6; Nacl IV bags 100cc - 60; IV -cathlons #18 - 250; Amoxicillin liq child susp - 27; Lomotil - 25; cipro IV -10 bottles; Tylenol Adult - boxes.
The patients that we treat in Les Irois are young and old – and some come in pairs. Below are pictures of a couple we treated. She came with diarrhea and dehydration and was very sick. And of course that put her little child at serious risk: madamn is pregnant.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
EL CONGRESO CAMILIANO CTF VA A PARRAL CON DOS EXPERTOS
Con la llegada del Dr. Stefano Vicari, neuropsiquiatra infantil del Bambin Gesú de Roma y del Dr. Raffaele Arigliani, pediatra, presidente de la asociación counselling pediatrico de Italia, (el primero y el segundo desde izquierda de la última foto), empieza el viaje a la septima región para organizar un proyecto de investigación intervención camiliana sobre los niños afectados cronicamente por el estrés post-traumático (post terremoto). Se trata solo en la región del Maule de 80.000 niños enfermos que tendrán en futuro trastornos psiquiatricos si no diagnosticados y tratados.
En la tercera y cuarta foto se ve una familia ayudada por la CTF en el pos-terremoto en Parral. un padre de familia, caballero de profesión que se encuentra con un cancer del rostro y sin trabajo a enfrentar el tema de la perdida de casa, etc.
Vea las fotos
CTF-SOS DRS is looking to extend its work in Chile. After my recent visit (Nov. 18-24, 2010) when I heard of the number of adults and children who are still traumatized by the earthquake, we have decided to sponsor pastoral formation programs in counseling and a scientific study to look at the psychological effects of the earthquake. Please help us as we help those Chileans still traumatized by the earthquakeRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
It happened – our worst nightmare. The cholera epidemic spread from the Artibonite region to Port au Prince. And now the nightmare is getting worse: cholera is spreading throughout Haiti and it is sure to get endemic. In Les Irois in southern Haiti there are 753 cases and 11 people have died over the last 5 days. And there will likely be outbreaks of this terrible, diarrhea-dehydration-death causing disease throughout Haiti for an indefinite time period in the future. In fact, there is no end in sight – except more body bags with victims.
CTF-SOS DRS is doing its part to help. In addition to a mission to Artibonite in October and a co-sponsored cholera treatment facility on the grounds of our community in Port au Prince, we have now landed in southern Haiti in the town of Les Irois (roughly halfway down the coast between Jeremie and Port Salut [see the map] .
The situation is urgent. And events happened quite quickly. Here are a series of e-mail conversations that show how quickly things have developed. Now you will be update on the urgent situation in Les Irois.
On December 15 I responded to the urgent pleas of Fr. Norbert, a Haitian priest, via an e-mail directed to the Executive Director of Light of the World in Florida, Theresa Banks. I wrote:
Health and peace.
SOS DRS is the first outside group to arrive at the hospital given its remote location. Fr. Francine, the local parish priest, and the nurse in charge of the cholera response welcomed our group. And the medical and hygiene supplies they had brought from Jeremie were a welcome sight as well.
Therese, MD and Vickens arrived in Jeremie only after many hours of traveling on difficult roads. The new [used] vehicle that we had purchased the day before held up well though. In Jeremie Therese met with a member of one of our collaborators – Medecins du Monde [MDM] (Doctors of the World). We are collaborating with them in medical/cholera care on the grounds of our community in Port au Prince. There is an intermediate level cholera center in our side yard and numerous medical tents on the front lawn. All this is to serve the people in the camp of 6,500 that is directly in front of the community.
Our MDM colleague was helping at the hospital in Jeremie as the group was given responsibility for the cholera response there. He facilitated our acquisition of numerous bags of Lactated Ringers solution, oral rehydration salts, IV sets, doxycycline, ciprofloxacin and gloves. And then T.MD and V bought soap and drinking water elsewhere. Much as we did when T, MD and I went to respond to the cholera epidemic in Petite Riviere, Artibonite in late October/early November, these three left a hospital in a larger city to go to a more rural and underserved area – Les Irois.
Therese and I had heard 2 days before this Dec. 15 mission that 8 people had died from cholera in Les Irois. Therese had just returned from that town a few weeks before so she was particularly concerned. We both looked at each other when we received the news – wanting to help, but feeling helpless. We wanted to serve those with cholera and give our donors a chance to help them as well – e.g. St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Jupiter, Florida. But we were not sure what to do. We were particularly frustrated in our efforts because we could not leave the community on the 13th when we heard the news: they were burning tires in the streets in Port au Prince after the release of the November 28 election results. Then on the 14th in one hectic day - when there was relative calm in the city - we prepared for the mission and I sent Therese, MD and Vickens to the earthquake, hurricane and cholera-affected affected area. Stay tuned for more.
And finally, in her most recent communication, Therese reiterate the urgency of the situation
Dear all in Christ,
As I am writing you I am already in Irois. Yes, the situation is worse than we thought. When we arrived last night at 11 PM I had a meeting with the local priest (Fr. Francine Bernard) who is a diocesan priest. He told us that last week on Friday 11 people died because of cholera. And yesterday 2 people died because of cholera. In the hospital now there are 375 people who are suspected of having cholera. This is the only hospital in Irois and it lacks medicines and doctors. Thank God carried some IV fluids, oral rehydration salts, antibiotics, water, soap, gloves, etc with us. This morning we are going to work in the hospital. As the mission coordinator I have decided that SOS DRS will stay and collaborate with the hospital to respond to the cholera ooutbreak. So far there is no other organization here to help the hospital and the nurses. Therefore I might extend my stay here if the situation is getting worse and Fr. Scott may join us.
Thank you so much for your concern. Let us keep praying for the people here and let us do something together for them - our brothers and sisters.
Theresia SinagaRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I did not know what lay ahead for Therese, Marc Daly and Vickens as I missioned them on December 15 to the earthquake, hurricane and now cholera-affected areas of Jeremie, Carcasse, Les Irois, Marfranc, and Desormoux in southern Haiti. I prayed over and with them in our Divine Mercy Chapel of the community in Solino (Port au Prince). I asked the Lord that they would be instruments of His mercy according to our mission.
This would be Therese’s 5th mission to the area, Marc Daly’s 3rd, and Vicken’s 1st. Therese and Marc Daly had just returned to Port au Prince from doing an analysis of the situation in the affected area in the wake of Hurricane Thomas that devastated southern Haiti in early November. Particularly hard hit were Les Cayes and the area of our earthquake relief project, Carcasse.
Therese was the first to go to Carcasse back in July 2010. We had learned in June from our now primary collaborator, Fr. Verdieu, a priest of the Diocese of Jeremie, that there were many young people orphaned by the earthquake who were getting very little food every day. In fact, the school was not able to give them any food and they were an extra mouth for their new families. So Therese went to the area and instituted a feeding and a microfinance program. We decided that the food for the feeding program would last through the 16th of December and then be replaced by the products of the microfinance program. So we helped the people plant rice, vegetables, bananas and other plants and then purchased goats, chickens, pigs and cows. And they were off..planting and cultivating. Well, so much for the best-laid plans of men (and women). Man proposes and God disposes they say.
Hurricane Thomas arrived in Carcasse quite unexpectedly in early November. As the storm approached Haiti we were in the community in Solino (Port au Prince) waiting for it to hit there. That is what it was supposed to do. But Thomas decided to go left rather than straight and hit southern Haiti instead of Port au Prince. And hit it did – hard.
Carcasse, the location of our feeding program was, devastated. The whole rice crop was destroyed as were the vegetables. One goat was killed. Worse yet, many people lost their homes and their gardens – the only source of food for many of them.
So soon after the hurricane in early November Therese and Marc Daly went back to Carcasse. I remember when she called me and said, “it is much worse than I thought!”. Over time Therese and Marc would visit and identify 300 families thar were particularly devastated by the hurricane. They had lost part or all of their homes, food and/or animals. They had great humanitarian and pastoral needs.
Therese and Marc also visited Sister Mona in Marfranc. There they wanted to follow up on our initiative to help her rebuild the school that had been partially destroyed by the earthquake and then hit very hard by the hurricane. And the convent was affected as well. The students were studying in tents.
Similarly, T and MD went to Desormoux to speak with the local pastor. He had requested help with the reconstruction of the roof of the church. It was lifted off and taken away by the strong gusts of the hurricane. Therese told the priest that we would repair it for him: she could not accept that people were celebrating out in the open and subject to the ever-present rains of the area.
Finally, MD and T went to Les Irois, another town on the coast of Haiti much larger than Carcasse or Desormoux. Fr. Francine – the pastor of the local parish – needed support for the schooling of many young people orphaned by the earthquake. We agreed to sponsor 200 children and increased the budget of our sponsorship program that already supports some 150 students in Port au Prince.
After their return to Port au Prince we planned for another mission. They were to go on Sunday December 10 to implement our newly developed hurricane-relief program, which would involve mostly emergency food relief, some reconstruction and pastoral care. Well, once again there would be an unexpected wrench in the works: some of the Haitians were not too happy with the results of the November 28th presidential election – especially when they found out some 9 days later.
On December 7th they started burning tires in the middle of many of the roads in Port au Prince and in other places as well. There were protests in the street, looting and violence directed by the supporters of one candidate against those of another. We could not leave our community for four days. This meant that we were unable to prepare for the mission, go to the bank, or finalize the purchase of the vehicle that we planned to use for the mission as a mobile medical clinic. But the Lord truly writes straight with crooked lines.
The Lord was teaching us patience as we waited – “locked up” in the community and carrying out our normal daily activities including those liturgical (adoration, the world mission rosary, and mass). Meanwhile patients were still receiving medical treatment in our front yard and those with suspected cholera were being cared for in the space on the side of the community in the newly constructed intermediate cholera treatment facility. And then the clouds dispersed and the sun shone through: the violence stopped and we were able to leave the community. The roads were navigable once again. Yeah!
In one day – one jam-packed 24 hours – after our daily liturgical activities and as a result of splitting into 2 teams, we accomplished all we had to do to prepare for the mission: we went to the local tax and immigration office to extend Theresia’s visa; purchased a vehicle that would serve as a mobile clinic and for the mission; transferred the title; got insurance for it; went to the bank to get money to buy the new vehicle and the upcoming mission, etc; paid the bills for our mobile internet devices and the wireless in the community (our only connections with the outside world and a life-saving form of communication at times!), purchased a new inverter (the previous one “died”. The inverter converts AC to DC and helps provide for electricity in the house as it allows us to store power in a series of batteries. The local power grid in Port au Prince is very undependable and there can be no electricity for days at a time in the community. We do have a small generator as well but we had no more oil to run it: there was a run on 5w30 oil in the wake of the elections with the violence, and we could not find any oil in the marketplace); refilled 9 five-gallon jugs of potable water (to save money we buy water in this quantity. The 9 jugs would be used in the community and for the mission. We were actually quite happy to be able to get the water because we had to start to purify the water that we normally use for bathing, etc. that comes from a big reservoir that collects the rainwater that falls on our roof. We purified the water with iodine-tablets but they were only so many. We had purchased extra water as the cholera epidemic began to spread in Port au Prince, but with the violence we were caught unawares. And since we could not go out of the community our water supply started to diminish significantly. The iodine-purified water proved to be pretty good – not as good as normal water though. So when the violence stopped we headed quickly to refill our jugs.); and mission supplies (food, telephone cards, diesel fuel, etc.). Therese even bought some small Christmas presents for the community…all part of a day’s work.
And so we were ready for the mission – to help those affected by the earthquake, hurricane and the cholera epidemic. I didn’t know exactly what to expect though as I sent Therese, MD and Vickens out the door of our Divine Mercy Chapel at 5 o’clock in the morning. But I trusted the Lord that they would do his work and return safely. Stay tuned.
Fr. ScottRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Hurricane Thomas 3 - MarcDaly and Therese go to the site of the Hurricane
Hurricane Thoma 2 -We were spared but our friends were not
Dear Fr. Scott,
Health and peace to you.
As I am writing this email to you I just want to let you know that I am already in Carcasse. The mission continues. Marc and I are doing well. We are keeping busy with the Lord’s work. Fr. Verdieu is doing well also. He greets you as well.
Fr. S, yesterday I went to visit Desourmaux and Iroix. They are on the coast between Jeremie and Salut. Much to the chagrin of those in these places and in Les Cayes, Thomas decided to visit them in the south of Haiti (see the map) last week.
Desourmaux and Iroix were hit hard by the cyclone. It was bad. There is a parish named St. Michel in Desourmaux under the Diocese of Jeremie that was destroyed by the cyclone. The parish priest’s name is Fr. De Jean Wagnel and he is looking for help to renovate the church and also a school. The roof of the church is destroyed. I will send you some pictures. Now the parishioners are praying and having mass in a tent. But sometimes the tent collapses because of heavy wind.
Desourmaux was hit by the cyclone bad. This is the second time for them to have this problem in 1 year. It was 5 months ago that the church was hit by a cyclone and now it happened again. They don’t have enough resources to renovate the church. I don’t know what are your thoughts about this. I am looking forward to talk with you regarding this situation.
In Iroix the parish is looking for help to build the chapel which was also destroyed by the cyclone. They have 5 station churches, and all of them are destroyed. I don’t know how can we help them. I would like to talk to you also regarding this situation. You know the church is very important for the people. That is a place for people to pray and to worship together. I would like if it is possible for our budget to support them. Of course we need to calculate and see how we can work together. I could not believe it when I saw all the damage caused by the cyclone. I thought it was not really bad because in PaP there was little damage. But here it is very much worse.
Many houses were destroyed and many gardens are gone because of the cyclone. Many church are collapsed. Anyway, first let us put them in our prayers, and please we need to think for them how to support them to give them hope for the future.
Fr. Verdieu, together with Theresia Sinaga – the program director of our activities in Carcasse, along with MarcDaly Joassaint, her assistant – are deciding how to move forward. Stay tuned and consider helping us help those in the areas affected by Thomas. CTF-SOS DRS has already appropriated a significant amount of money to help our friends and those affected by Thomas. Please join us.
Hurricane Thomas 2 - We were spared; our friends were not.
Haiti is under siege: the earthquake; the cholera epidemic and Hurricane Thomas. Cholera has reached Port au Prince, but it did so only after Hurricane Thomas devastated much of the southwestern part of Haiti.
To which disaster should we respond? All of them, according to our resources and in a prudent but courageous way. That has been our choice.
Transportation to the area affected area by the Hurricane has been difficult since it struck. Roads have been blocked and vehicles unavailable. However, MarcDaly and Theresia, two members of CTF-SOS DRS that normally live and work in Port au Prince at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Community were finally able to go to the Hurricane-affected area, less than a week after the storm struck.
Our friends in the area had appealed for our help immediately: Sr. Mona and Fr. Verdieu and their communities were affected significantly by the hurricane. Here is Theresia’s first communication for this assessment/relief mission during which she and MarcDaly will among other things:
1. Assess the damage done by the Hurricane in anticipation of developing a relief program.
2 Assess the status of our post-quake feeding and microfinance programs in Carcasse as they lay in the path of the Hurricane.
3. Assess the damage done by the earthquake to a school that is still very much in need of repair and run by Sr. Mona’s community.
4 – Provide some immediate pastoral relief and support to affected people, including our friends in the area.
5 – Consider a proposal to help some children in Jeremie who were rendered orphans by the earthquake. They are in need of assistance in order to attend school.
Dear Fr. Scott,
As you read my email I am already in Marfranc, Jeremie. I arrived this morning at 4 AM. I went with MD yesterday afternoon at 4 PM from PaP by public transportation. I decided to leave yesterday because there was an offer made by Sr. Mona to pick us up at Au Cayes. Thank God we arrived well and safe, even though the road was not friendly to us. As you know Haiti was just hit by cyclone Thomas. So the road was terrible. Anyway, that is the mission. And this is His work not ours. So please continue to pray for us as we continue to do the Lord’s work.
About the community I have trained them how to deal with cholera just in case if they are in need. So they are OK. I have prepared all for their needs before I left. So they will be OK.
Ok Fr. Scott, I will update you later about my trip because it was very good experience. Today I am planning to meet with Sr. Mona and to see the damages of the cyclone. I am planning to go to Carcasse this afternoon. I might spend in Carcasse for 1 week. We will see.
Please pray for us in our mission.
Journey to Haiti
After a couple of hectic days, putting things together and getting set for the long awaited journey to Haiti, it was time to go. Theresia and I got on the plane on Monday May 17th to finally begin the journey. We breathed a sigh of relief when the plane actually left Nairobi for Amsterdam. The reason being that we had survived a minor scare at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi.
When checking on our passports, an officer raised an alarm that we could not pass via Princess Juliana airport, St. Marten, without Theresia needing a visa. We were kept aside for at least 40minutes for some scrutiny and map reading by the officers before finally being allowed to proceed with the check-in. It was also a somewhat funny experience because some of the officers, who said Theresia by virtue of her Indonesian nationality needed a visa at St. Marten, did not actually know where St. Marten was. Thus much of our time was spent watching them keeping themselves busy meticulously looking up the exact location of St. Marten on the world map!
The journey to Amsterdam was good and peaceful. I had some sleep since fatigue was catching up with me. After a couple of minutes at Amsterdam, we were on the plane again on our way to St. Marten. Princess Juliana airport, St. Marten is a lovely, petit international airport.
According to our tickets, we had to spend the night in St. Marten before proceeding to Haiti. Theresia and I had a trivial dilemma to deal with. We did not know if we would spend the night at the airport or be asked to go out of the airport for the night. Before knowing our fate in St. Marten, we had a torrid time dealing with a very stern but professional officer at the airport. We responded humbly and calmly to a myriad of questions. Another stale moment at the airport came when we were asked to present an official letter of invitation to Haiti. Theresia and I had duly forgotten to print out the letter of invitation from Fr. Scott. We were instructed to print out the letter although there was no trace of a public or commercialized printer around the airport.
Well, after the night in St. Marten we started dreaming of life in Haiti. A short and anxious flight we had of it from St. Marten to Port au Prince. Upon our arrival at the airport Brigit, a member of another NGO (LandsAid), was there to receive us. A couple of months ago Haiti was the top story on every news channel. No need to recount the ordeal of the unfortunate earthquake that extinguished close to half a million lives and property in this one of the world’s poorest countries. From the airport, Brigit took us straight to St. Damien for a cluster meeting. In attendance were predominantly representatives of the seemingly close to 600 NGOs in Haiti, according to some sources.
The topics centred on mobile clinics, wheel chairs for those who underwent amputations of various kinds among others. The meeting gave me a feel of the situation in Haiti as most of the doctors and psychotherapists deliberated on the best methodologies to be used and improved in offering humanitarian assistance to the Haitians.
I spent my first week with the mobile clinic of LandsAid in the area of Cazeau, Port au Prince. The mobile clinic consists of a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist and some Haitians who serve as translators, drivers, as well as an assistant doctor. The head of the team asked me to assist in the pharmacy. For most of the days, I helped out in the counting and distribution of tablets. Working in the pharmacy is not a new experience from me. During my school days in Cameroon, I often offered a helping hand to my mother since she runs a small pharmacy up to this day. The names of the tablets are not unfamiliar to me. Occasionally, I served as some sort of translator in the pharmacy because the two Haitian ladies who work in the pharmacy do not speak English. Since I do speak some French (not very good French), my services as a translator were sometimes needed because the doctor from Germany, Rose Marie, did not speak French or Creole. She needed me to sometimes do the translations for her when she had to talk to the Haitian pharmacists. For most of the week, my place was in the pharmacy and I was sometimes called upon to assist in any area within the clinic when the need arose. I loved the coordination of the team as a whole. I also appreciated the fact that although in a very petit way, I was making a contribution to the sad cause of many Haitians.
I found the Haitian colleagues a wonderful group of youngsters whose reliability and trustworthiness I very much cherish. Being a very strong extrovert at least as some people say, it took me a very short time to have acquaintances among the Haitians. The week ended on a very positive note, and I remained content working in the pharmacy of the mobile clinic. The teachings and writings of Sts. Therese of the Child Jesus and Mother Theresa of Calcutta on the ‘Little Way’ repeatedly resonate in my mind that the little things people do could be important and make a great impact in the lives of people.
I spent most of my second week in Haiti with the mobile clinic of LandsAid to Cazeau. During this week, my place was still at the pharmacy during which I assisted in counting out the tablets, doing some translations and helping out whenever my help was needed. I still found pleasure and satisfaction in the little things like counting out tablets. During this week, there were also a change in the personnel of the team. Two of the LandsAid members from Germany returned home after a month of service, in line with their contracts. They were immediately replaced by a doctor and a pharmacist from Germany. Indeed, as usual, it was a sad experience to see them leave but life had to continue.
Going to the mobile clinic always brought some satisfaction for me. It was always a nice experience for me to see that the people were being helped through the clinic. Indeed, during a petit send-off party, the members of the mobile clinic had the chance to utter a few words of encomiums and appreciation to our two German who were leaving the team. The words of one of the translators for LandsAid touched me greatly. Among others, he said ‘on behalf of the people in Cazeau and Haiti, I want to thank you – John – for the services you offer to us via the mobile clinic. You may not understand what this means to us but the assistance is magnanimous’. It is not a strange fact that there are some challenges living with the members of another NGO (LandsAid). It is also a challenge for members of two NGOs living in the same house, sharing cost on certain things and living as though all from one organization – although the reality is different.
Sometimes I didn’t know where my rights and responsibility as a member of the SOS Doctors team in Haiti ended and what I could touch and where I could not trespass. Well those challenges are inevitable in a seemingly international environment and are short-lived. In Cazeau, I sometimes have the feeling that some of our Haitian colleagues are not very polite to some of our patients and taking into consideration my African roots and culture, which holds as one of its cardinal virtues, ‘respect for the elderly or senior citizens’, I do not always cherish insolence especially towards the elderly. There is an African proverb that ‘what an elder can see while seating, a young person cannot see even while at the summit of a mountain’. I sometimes discuss with them about respect for the elderly and once I quoted from Paul’s letter to the Colossians that if the young want to lead a long life, they must respect the elders. One of them was very touched by that.
Yes, things are changing. What a pleasure and satisfaction for me to be in Haiti and offering just a helping hand to the people who suffered so much from the earthquake.
Tempus fugit, ‘time flies’ , as the old Latin expression goes. Three weeks in Haiti already. During my third week in Haiti, I spent most of the time with the team of LandsAid. Theresia had traveled to Jeremy, which I heard is quite a long distance from Port-au Prince. According to what she told me, she had gone to have a look at certain projects around that area, which may help inform the decisions of the SOS Doctors long term plans in Haiti. During that week, I also got the chance to meet Fr. Scott in person. Theresia often talks about him and I was looking forward to meeting him. I had the chance to talk to Fr. Scott about my background and to let him have an idea of who I am and where I come from. I did not have a full week with the mobile clinic as I had other things to do with Fr. Scott.
I missed working in the mobile clinic though. It was also a nice experience for me to know that the members of the medical team actually appreciate my presence and work with the team. I did receive phone calls from some and one of them inter alia said ‘John I had to repeatedly had to consult my dictionary before asking a question because you were not there to do the translations for me’. Well the important thing for me is that the people in Cazeau and Haiti as a whole are being offered some health assistance. I really like working with the team and I very much love the team spirit.
The team leader, Dr. Lucy, is a wonderful person and really devoted to her work. She has the people in Haiti at heart and does her work with all happiness and fulfillment. This explains why one of the members among others said ‘I think she is enjoying what she is doing’.
Theresia and Fr. Scott have been busy with unending meetings. According to the updates, they are busy reflecting on the major decisions to be made as far as the mission in Haiti is concerned. I very much appreciate the fact that we almost on daily basis pray the rosary together and celebrate the Lord’s Supper. For sure, if the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the laborers labor.
After reflecting on my stay in Haiti, I remain very hopeful that I will have a very fruitful experience in Haiti and that SOS Doctors and the people of Haiti will benefit from my services and my very ephemeral experience in life.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
“Casa Stella Polare” - La Torretta, L’Aquila
L’attenzione che Caritas Italiana ha posto in atto in relazione al mondo dei minori coinvolti dal sisma si è sviluppata su quattro direttrici, poste in atto in stretta collaborazione con l’Ordine dei Ministri degli infermi (Camilliani) – attraverso la Camillian task Force (CTF) e l’Arcidiocesi di L’Aquila:
A) una innovativa ricerca (Progetto “Rainbow”) condotta su un campione di 7.200 bambini di età compresa tra i 6 ed i 14 anni per verificare gli effetti dello stress post-traumatico causato dal terremoto (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD); in particolare, la ricerca intende:
- eseguire una revisione sistematica della letteratura sul PTSD;
- studiare la prevalenza nei soggetti in età pediatrica (3-14 anni) esposti al terremoto del 6 aprile 2009 in Abruzzo;
- identificare alcuni fattori protettivi rispetto al rischio di PTSD attraverso la correlazione tra talune caratteristiche rilevate nei soggetti esaminati con la tipologia della reazione all’evento traumatico.
B) attività di formazione rivolta ai pediatri di famiglia (abilitazione alla diagnosi degli effetti causati dal terremoto nei bambini) e agli insegnanti, educatori, animatori giovanili (interventi di educazione alla socialità);
C) apertura di un servizio residenziale (“Casa Stella Polare”) comprendente
- uno spazio di prevenzione, diagnostico e di trattamento e cura (in accordo con i Servizi Sanitari locali) rivolto ai bambini in età pediatrica con disturbi correlati al terremoto;
- un luogo di aggregazione (ludoteca, biblioteca, mediateca…) aperto a tutti;
D) attivazione di iniziative di animazione territoriale e presa in carico dei giovani, attraverso le parrocchie, le associazioni, le realtà di aggregazione presenti.
Da dove nasce il progetto
Le indicazioni della letteratura sull’incidenza dello stress post-traumatico (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD) indica la necessità di mettere in atto iniziative volte alla tutela dei soggetti più fragili e più esposti all’impatto di un evento traumatico. Con il Progetto “Casa Stella Polare” si intende offrire uno spazio di diagnosi, di sostegno e di formazione che serva alla società ed alla Chiesa locale.
Che di un centro come “Casa Stella Polare” ci sia bisogno è testimoniato dal fatto che è ipotizzabile che un 20% della popolazione infantile della zona colpita dal sisma manifesti delle forme e dei sintomi correlati allo stress da evento traumatico.
La “Casa Stella Polare” non si sostituisce alle strutture istituzionali presenti sul territorio deputate a questo (servizi di salute mentale), ma vuole offrire una risposta che integri e renda più efficace la risposta istituzionale.
Quale espressione della risposta della Chiesa, la “Casa Stella Polare” vuole anche diventare una occasione affinché un intervento specialistico non diventi un’isola all’interno della Diocesi ma maturi in frutti di attenzione e di sensibilità pastorale, che abbraccia diversi campi, educativo, familiare e della salute. La risposta anormale all’evento traumatico, infatti, non è solo un tema di natura medica ma anche educativo (i soggetti sono spesso in età scolare e dunque fruitori dei servizi scolari ed ancora frequentatori delle nostre Chiese) e famigliare (essi vivono in famiglie a loro volta provate dall’evento traumatico dove la risposta del bambino può trovare occasione per acuirsi o per diminuire).
Infine, la “Casa Stella Polare” potrà essere assunto come un servizio stabile di cui si fa carico la Chiesa locale: questo rende necessaria la presenza, sin dal suo inizio, di personale indicato dalla autorità diocesana il quale, nel corso dei due anni previsti dal progetto avrà modo di abilitarsi alla attenzione specifica ed all’accompagnamento delle vittime del trauma. La presenza della Chiesa locale permetterà che l’attenzione ai più fragili permei le varie pastorali presenti sul terreno diventando una attenzione diffusa ad ogni livello e non relegata a specialisti.
Gli attori sul campo
La “Casa Stella Polare” si configura come il nodo del sistema di diagnosi, prevenzione, cura e trattamento della PTSD in età evolutiva, in questo modo qualificandola e rendendola una occasione di abilitazione del personale locale che si troverebbe a collaborare con personale specializzato. Il personale locale fungerebbe da supporto ai neuropsichiatri integrandone le competenze e realizzandone le indicazioni. Oltre a rendere un servizio, essa è destinata a diventare un luogo di aggregazione aperto a ulteriori sviluppi in futuro, in particolare orientati alla cura della genitorialità ed alla mediazione familiare. Il tutto chiaramente orientato all’interno di un servizio Ecclesiale espressione della Chiesa locale.
Fedele al suo mandato Statutario, Caritas Italiana offre le condizioni affinché detto progetto si possa realizzare. Allo scopo, rende disponibile, dopo averla attrezzata e resa idonea, la sede del progetto “Casa Stella Polare”, in località La Torretta a L’Aquila.
Caritas Italiana, inoltre, sostiene le inevitabili spese coinvolte in simile progetto per un periodo di due anni, ritenuto idoneo per assicurare una prima risposta alle vittime dell’evento traumatico e per la abilitazione di personale locale che Caritas diocesana avrà indicato.
Ministri degli Infermi (Camilliani) - La Camillian Task Force-SOS DRS
Il “Progetto San Camillo”, intitolato a questo grande Santo abruzzese, è stata la risposta immediata che l’Ordine dei Camilliani ha messo in atto dopo il terremoto del 6 aprile 2009. Si articola in diverse attività, svolte in collaborazione e per le Caritas abruzzesi. Una parte di questo progetto è la ricerca “Rainbow” da cui prende piede l’iniziativa “Casa Stella Polare”.
I Camilliani, a nome del board del Progetto San Camillo, si sono impegnati ad identificare e nominare il Direttore scientifico che avrà il compito di assicurare il corretto avvio del servizio e che ne assicurerà la direzione scientifica e la supervisione terapeutica. Il Direttore scientifico ha, tra le sue mansioni, il compito di lavorare in contatto con le autorità sanitarie locali, poiché la “Casa Stella Polare” non vuole essere un’isola nel sistema sanitario (di prevenzione e cura) locale. Il ruolo di Direttore scientifico per il progetto è stato affidato alla dottoressa Daniela Consales.
I Camilliani hanno anche identificato un’altra figura altamente qualificata il cui compito è la sensibilizzazione delle strutture ecclesiali sul tema ed avviare, d’intesa con la Comunità ecclesiale (diocesi, parrocchie,..) un servizio attento all’evidenziazione ed alla risposta al disturbo post traumatico, offrendo precipuamente formazione e supervisione correlati al tema. Lo psicologo e psicoterapeuta Ignazio Punzi è stato coinvolto come animatore sul territorio sul tema del sostegno psicologico nel versante ecclesiale.
Arcidiocesi di L’Aquila
Per quanto riguarda la gestione ordinaria della struttura, essa verrà affidata a terzi, cercando di valorizzare le risorse locali ed in primis la Caritas diocesana e o i suoi strumenti operativi, nella forma dell’appalto, di cui dovranno rispondere all’appaltante a cadenza trimestrale.
La scelta del Progetto San Camillo è quella di valorizzare la casa della Torretta come opera segno a servizio della Diocesi. Per questo, sarà opportuno, in accordo con Caritas Italiana, formalizzare con l’Ordinario un accordo che accompagni e orienti l’attività della Casa fino alla fine del progetto.
Una forma concreta di partecipazione della Chiesa locale è il sostegno delle spese di gestione della struttura come segno della reale implicazione nel Progetto. Poiché essa non vuole essere un’isola ma diventare fonte di aggregazione e di ricchezza per la Chiesa, si chiede all’Ordinario locale di indicare sacerdoti o laici che, a nome e per conto delle pastorali in cui sono coinvolti (soprattutto pastorale sanitaria, educativa e famigliare) possano comporre un team con l’obiettivo di portare i contenuti del progetto “Casa Stella Polare” nelle famiglie, nelle scuole e nelle parrocchie. In questo senso la “Casa Stella Polare” non sarà solo un “ambulatorio” ma diventerà il segno della attenzione della Chiesa ai più fragili, attenzione che inizia già in famiglia e continua nelle scuole e nelle parrocchie.
Istituzioni sanitarie locali, ASL
La “Casa Stella Polare” integra i servizi sanitari di salute mentale sul territorio de L’Aquila. Oltre ad avere già iniziato dei colloqui con le autorità sanitarie locali, che di buon grado hanno accettato il Progetto “Rainbow” (vedi unanime accoglienza dello stesso da parte dei rispettivi Comitati Etici), la Dottoressa Consales ha già aperto discussioni con i servizi di salute mentale sul territorio. Il gestore del progetto ritiene suo compito una puntuale comunicazione con l’ASL di riferimento, il naturale sbocco per la presa in carico di minori affetti da PTSD. Nella “Casa Stella Polare” infatti si assicurerà sin dalla sua apertura un servizio di prevenzione, diagnostico e di trattamento e cura (in accordo con i Servizi Sanitari locali) a bambini in età pediatrica con disturbi correlati al terremoto del 6 aprile.
Cabina di regia
Per rendere efficace ed armonico il lavoro a partire dal Progetto “Casa Stella Polare”, tale da avere un influsso sulla diocesi de L’Aquila, si propone la realizzazione di una “cabina di regia”, coordinata dal direttore scientifico della Casa, i cui componenti sono espressione degli attori del progetto (Camilliani, Caritas Aquila e Caritas Italiana). Le riunioni periodiche saranno la garanzia dei risultati del processo a servizio della comunità abruzzese.
Uno degli scopi della cabina di regia sarà quello di verificare in itinere il raggiungimento e l’eventuale ridefinizione degli obiettivi del progetto. Ricordiamo infatti che i minori che saranno presi in carico presso il Centro, proverranno in gran parte dalle segnalazioni che giungeranno dal progetto di ricerca Rainbow, condotto in collaborazione con i pediatri di base del territorio aquilano. E’ tuttavia possibile che i genitori dei bambini colpiti da sindrome PTSD, anche se hanno collaborato alla compilazione dei questionari, non accettino poi l’inserimento nel protocollo terapeutico e non inviino i propri figli alla casa Stella Polare (è lasciata ampia facoltà ai genitori di acconsentire o meno a tale forma di assistenza). In considerazione dell’invio di un numero di minori molto scarso o inferiore alle aspettative, sarà compito della cabina di regia ridefinire i propri obiettivi, in sinergia con le autorità mediche e gli enti locali, anche tenendo conto dei bisogni insoddisfatti del territorio, nell’ambito dell’assistenza psicologica e psichiatrica dei minori.
Vista l’emergenza chiara e ampiamente evidenziata dalla letteratura la Casa è stata inaugurata e aperta il 15 giugno.
Costituiscono elementi fondamentali del progetto:
- accordo tra Caritas Italiana e Ordine dei Ministri degli infermi (Camilliani) per la gestione scientifica e operativa della struttura
- accordo tra Caritas Italiana e Arcidiocesi di L’Aquila per la realizzazione delle attività di aggregazione e di animazione territoriale rivolte ai minori, attraverso un ampio coinvolgimento del volontariato, degli operatori delle Delegazioni regionali, delle realtà ecclesiali e laiche presenti…
- accordo tra Ordine dei Ministri degli Infermi (Camilliani) e Arcidiocesi di L’Aquila per la gestione della parte operativa (non sanitaria) della struttura.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
… un servizio rivolto ai minori sul territorio – attivato in collaborazione con l’Arcidiocesi di L’Aquila, l’Ordine dei Ministri degli Infermi–Camilliani, …
Il Bambin Gesù e la “Camillian Task Force” presentano i risultati di uno studio sulle conseguenze psichiche del terremoto nei ragazzi abruzzesi
Uno studio per analizzare gli effetti che le catastrofi naturali possono lasciare sulla psiche dei bambini e dei ragazzi. Lo ha realizzato la “Camillian Task Force” con il coordinamento dell’Ospedale pediatrico Bambino Gesù. I risultati dello studio – condotto sui giovani abruzzesi vittime del terremoto del 6 aprile 2009 – sono stati presentati questa mattina presso la sede del Bambin Gesù. A fornire i dati raccolti sul campo sono stati i pediatri abruzzesi, con il sostegno della Caritas italiana. Eliana Astorri ha parlato dei risultati dello studio con il prof. Alberto G. Ugazio, presidente della Società italiana di pediatria:
R. – In molti bambini, per fortuna, rimane soltanto uno spavento che poi nel giro di qualche mese viene in qualche misura dimenticato e che comunque non ha effetti sulla psiche del bambini. Ma in una percentuale tutt’altro che rilevante di bambini – si calcola più del 10 per cento – viene a verificarsi una vera e propria sindrome psichiatrica che è la “post-traumatic shock disease” e quindi una malattia da shock traumatico, che è una vera e propria alterazione della psiche. Il bambino che ha vissuto questo episodio traumatico non ne esce, lo rivive continuamente e questo naturalmente ingenera tutta una serie di comportamenti anomali, perché il bambino vive nel terrore, vive nella paura e questo lo porta ad avere difficoltà nei rapporti con gli altri. E’ una vera e propria sindrome medica, che richiede l’intervento di specialisti, in particolare degli psichiatri e degli psicologi con una preparazione pediatrica. (Montaggio a cura di Maria Brigini)
Don Vittorio Nozza – Director Caritas ItalianaRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Joseph Philippe, CSSp, Board member. Fr. Joseph is a Haitian Spiritan priest who has dedicated his life to helping the poor of Haiti help themselves. He is the founder of the Association of Peasants of Fondwa (APF), Haiti, the founder of FONKOZE-HAITI – the “alternative bank for the organized poor” – and the founder of the University of Fondwa – 2004. He trained in commercial accounting at the Ecole du Commerce Andre Laroche in Port au Prince, Haiti. He studied theology and politics at the Chicago Theological Union and cooperative credit management at the Centre Lebret in Paris. He is the Provincial for the Spiritans in Haiti and is fluent in Kreyol, French, English, and Spanish.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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