Haiti – Earthquake 44 – Feeding Program in Carcasse

MarcDaly Joassaint writes from Carcasse, Haiti – a little coastal village not far from Jeremie in the southern portion of the island. Mark is a member of the CTF-SOS DRS community – Our Lady of Perpetual Help – located in Solino (Port au Prince). Marc is in Carcasse to deliver funds to implement the 3rd phase of the CTF-SOS DRS feeding/microfinancing program started on Aug 16. The feeding program is intended to provide a meal/day for 650 students/earthquake orphans while the microfinance program is an agricultural/animal-based effort to supplement/replace the feeding program.

His little travel story indicates the difficulties of working on this island paradise: welcome to Haiti.

Greetings – Kakas

Dear Father Scott I am now Kakas. The journey was long and difficult. Following our departure from Port-au-Prince: we spent over an hour in a traffic jam; we had a flat tire.  In Gressier 1 hour past Au Cayes, our car was stopped because of rain force as two buses have experienced dificulties to get through. And consequently they blocked the road.

Another reason for this long journey: Fr. Verdieu had led directly Sister Mona Marfranc and continued to return to Jeremie – at 2 AM. We left Jeremie in the afternoon and arrived Kakas at 7h50 min of the evening. The car had to leave the short route because it was raining and we could not continue. And we had a flat tire in a hole.

Father Verdieu last night and I had a meeting there. He has already sent someone this morning to go to to buy the food in Au Cayes. I can not assure you that the food will arrive in my presence. Because it will take several days to get to Kakas. I have a person to make come with the receipts by ground and in the meantime the food will come by sea.

This morning I have a meeting with Louis, and after I have to see the gardens and the animals. And I plan a meeting with the community in the afternoon. I will write you later to give you the report of the day. May God bless all of u.

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Earthquake in Haiti 42 – Personal Reflection – John Tanyi

Earthquake in Haiti 42 – Personal Reflection 1 – John Tanyi

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.

Week One

Mobile Clinic

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.

Week Two

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.

Week Three

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.

Fr. Joseph Philippe (Spiritan) – Association of Peasants of Fondwa (APF),

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.

Earthquake in Haiti 43 – Theresia in Carcas 2 – The mission Continues

The time passed quickly for me in Carcas. I spent almost 4 days there. I was staying in the rectory of the parish priest, Fr. Verdieu – a Haitian and part of the Diocese of Jeremie.

The fours day I spent were full of graces and experiences. I shared with you some of those in my first personal reflection. Your ideas, thoughts and comments are most welcome. I shared with you about a woman who is very sick (Lucie Marie). I also visited some children in a school – one of the three schools in Carcas: Saint Joseph, National, and Bon Berger School. All of them are primary schools. In fact, there is no secondary school in Carcas. St. Joseph Parish is planning to start a secondary school in September of this year so the students can continue their studies after they finish primary school. There are 600 hundreds total students: St. Joseph has 246 students; National has 151 students and Bon Berger School has 203.

In 2008, Carcas was hit by a cyclone. It destroyed the schools and killed some people. According to Fr. Verdieu, cyclones occur often in Carcas. Then on January 12, 2010 the earthquake hit Carcas. The earthquake also destroyed the schools. The students had to move into tents where they are studying. Of the 600 hundred students, 200 are orphans. Most of them came from Port au Prince. They came to Carcas because their parents died during the earthquake and now they are living with their relatives.

I was talking to a student named Valencia. She is 9 years old. Her mother died in Port au Prince. Now Valencia is living with her sister. What struck me about her and the other students is that many are malnourished. They come to school without food. It makes me very sad. I was asking myself how the students can study well if they don’t eat? How the students can access the lessons if they don’t eat well? Many questions came to my mind and somehow my question were answered: many students are not able to read. I was asking some students to read their books, and they were not able to read. For example, I asked some students who are around 15-19 years of age to read their books and they could not.

Another thing made me very sad was that there is a student named Winder. He is around 15 years old. He is a bright student. But Winder could not read because he has cataracts. Both his eyes are affected and he is not able to see well. The teacher told me that he is good in math but in reading he is not because he cannot see very well. When I talked to Wilder he told me that he would like to continue his studies. He said he wants to be a pilot in the future. I told myself “Lord how beautiful a future he wants to have”. Wilder asked me if it is possible to help him, and I didn’t know what to respond. I just kept quiet and thought in my heart and kept asking God to help him and me in this difficult situation. I was hoping we could do something for Winder to give him an opportunity to reach his future and his dream of being a pilot.

In Carcas, there is a small dispensary run by the parish, but as I shared with you in my previous reflection sometimes the dispensary has to send the patients back home because of a lack of medicines. This dispensary has a nurse who “multifunctions”: I mean she is the doctor; she is the nurse and she is the midwife. The parish is not able to pay the doctor’s salary to work in this dispensary, so they put a nurse there to help the people who are sick. The nurse is helped by a pharmacist. In fact she is not a pharmacist. But to help the community they put a woman there to help the nurse and this pharmacist is not getting salary. She is doing her work as a volunteer to help the Carcas people. She goes to work from 8 AM till 2 PM. I really appreciated a lot her work to help the people. However, her life is not easy: the pharmacist also has a problem with cataracts – in both her eyes. Once again I asked Lord why? I asked myself “Lord, why does she have cataracts? She is working in the pharmacy to help the people but she cannot do that very well because she cannot see very well. I watched her when she was working, and it made me sad. I felt frustrated. What should I do for this woman? And this woman said she is married and has 3 children. Once again I offered my prayer to God. I hope He will respond.

Despite all the difficulties I encountered there in Carcas, I did get strength and courage from my organization – SOS DRS. I thank them a lot as they will be providing food for the children – orphans and not. I hope you all will continue to support us with your prayers and any way you can. 

Theresia Sinaga

Earthquake in Haiti 41 – John Tanyi – A Personal Reflection 1

John Tanyi is part of the CTF-SOS DRS team on the ground in Haiti responding to the earthquake. He has spent most of his time doing mobile medical work first at Cazeau (Port au Prince) and in an IDP camp not far from our base. 

Here is John in his own words – 

A BRIEF PERSONAL  HISTORY

 

“My name is Nquah Lebui John Tanyi, and I am a Cameroonian by nationality. I was born on July 3, 1984 to the family of Tanyi Ake Francis and Angela Bikelle Tanyi who are both still alive and based in Cameroun.

I come from a large family of eight, before the unfortunate passing on of two of my siblings, Magdalene Tanyi Nanga and Api Rita Tanyi in the year 1999 and 2005 respectively. My eldest brother Sixtus serves in the Cameroon military and is presently based in Koutaba. Aurelien Tanyi, another elder brother of mine, runs a small business in Douala, Cameroon. Lilian is now my eldest sister after the death of Magdalene, and she lives and works in Oslo, Norway. I am the immediate follower of Loveline, who recently travelled to Lebanon for a field experience. Baiye is our youngest brother , and upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in medical sciences two years ago, he now teaches in Bishop Rogan Minor Seminary in the South Western Province of Cameroon.

My father is an Anglophone Cameroonian who served as a headmaster in both Catholic and government-run schools for close to forty years before eventually retiring in 2008. He now does part-time teaching in one of the private schools in our small neighborhood (just to keep fit). My mother was a laboratory technician for several years with the government of Cameroon. Upon retiring from active work a couple of years ago, she began to run a small pharmacy.

I now study and lives in Nairobi, Kenya. I did my primary, secondary and high school education in Cameroon. Since my father was a Catholic school teacher, I passed through Catholic schools. I had the privilege of studying in the oldest secondary school in Anglophone Cameroon (St. Joseph’s College, Sasse) founded in 1939 by the early Mill Hill Missionaries, who eventually evangelized the then British Southern Cameroon, upon the expulsion of the Germans from Cameroon in the aftermath of World War I.

After completing my high school education (2002) with my Advanced Levels Certificate, I joined the Mill Hill Formation Program for the Catholic Priesthood. I did a year of basic formation (2002-3) in Bamenda, Cameroon, before proceeding to Uganda for a Bachelors of Arts (Philosophy) as part of the Mill Hill Formation Program. I did spend three successful years in Jinja, Uganda (2003-2006).

During my time in Uganda, I taught English in some primary schools. I did also work with the youth, during which time we organized youth rallies, seminars and workshops among others.

An unforgettable experience was my time with an NGO called St. Francis Health Centre. St. Francis Health Centre looks after the needs of HIV/AIDS victims in Jinja district, Uganda. We ran a mobile clinic where we offered house-to-house visitation of the HIV/AIDS victims. We did offer voluntary testing and counseling (VCT), as well as sensitization and mobilization programs, that is, raising awareness of the dangers of loose living and the ever-lurking presence of the AIDS epidemic. I was on the counseling team and did pre and post counseling for our VCT program.

As part of my pastoral assignment I did some prison apostolate in Mbale Central Prison. During this time, I duly assisted the prison’s chaplain, Fr. Hans Smeets (MHM), in the various activities we carried out in the prison. As part of my apostolate in the prison, I visited the prisoners every week, assisted in the preparations for the celebration of the Eucharist, did offer some counseling to the prisoners, organized sporting activities such as football among others.

In 2006, as part of the formation program, I was posted to the Coastal Province of Kenya (Malindi diocese), for what is commonly referred to as Missionary Experience Program (MEP) or starche. I was in the Malindi Diocese for two remarkable years. MEP is a period aimed at helping future Mill Hillers get a direct feel of the missionary life in a practical parish milieu.

During my years in the very remote village of Witu in Malindi, I took part in a range of activities albeit not becoming a factotum. I did moral instruction in some schools. I was in charge of the youth activities in the life of the parish and together with the youth, we did seminars, youth rallies, fundraising, camping among others. I also did house-to-house visitations in Witu village and subsequently began a small Christian community there and together with the people of the village,. We built a small bamboo church for worship and fellowship.

Because there were many of Christians in Witu who had not received the Sacrament of the Eucharist since they were not married in Church, I engaged myself with the task of preparing some of them for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Subsequently, we had many group weddings in the parish.

I also did some social work with a Catholic linked NGO called Afya II. Afya is a Kiswahili word for health. We worked with the HIV/AIDS victims, offered some counseling, did follow ups to make sure they regularly took their drugs, as well as distributing relief food to them and victims of natural and man-made disasters in Witu.

I did enjoy my time in Witu. The local people are a fine group. I did cherish every moment working with them. The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph were our good collaborators, but working with my parish priest, a German from South Tyrol, was not very easy. At the end of my two years’ experience in Witu, I began reevaluating my vocation with the Mill Hill Missionaries. I did not feel very comfortable with certain things within the congregation, and in a meeting I had with one of my formators before the end of my MEP I was advised to join the Society of Jesus (JESUITS) – the reason being that I am seemingly gifted in academics: I have always been at the top of my class – from my primary school days, and was the best student in terms of academics during my bachelors of arts (philosophy) in Uganda Martyrs University (Nkozi). During my time in the University I served as the sport captain since I love football and I’m seemingly a gifted footballer. I also served in different capacities in the formation house. Among others, I was a librarian, chairman of the house (beadle), editor of our local magazine and not forgetting serving as the barman.

Well, God knows the future and since He who created me without me cannot save me without me (St. Augustine), I have to play my own part in the drama.

Hopes and Aspirations for Haiti

In August 2008 I enrolled in the Jesuit Institute for Peace Studies and International Relations in Nairobi, Kenya. It is a four semester masters program. Our class boasts of members from all the corners of Africa as well as certain parts of Asia – including China and Indonesia.

During a discussion with one of my classmates from Indonesia (Theresia Sinaga), inter alia, she mentioned to me that she would be going to work in Haiti during the summer break. Haiti stole the headlines of most of the newspapers at the beginning of this year because of the unfortunate earthquake, which hit one of the poorest countries in the world.

For several weeks, thanks to the so called CNN Factor (instantaneous relay of news from one part of the globe to another), I followed pathetically on television, the situation in Haiti. During my discussion with Theresia, she told me that I might go to Haiti with her to have an experience with her organization. She asked me to think and pray about it. I initially took her offer as a joke, I did my home work, though, and went to the website and blog of SOS Doctors to read more about the organization.

Being informed by the charism of the Camillian missionaries as lived out by St. Camillus in responding to the needs of the sick, I felt touched by some of the testimonies of the members and volunteers of this organization.  Inspired by them I felt the urgency to do the same.

Just in time I did mention to Theresia my intention of going to Haiti under the guardianship of her organization, SOS Doctors. Thank God, she presented my request to the hierarchy of the organization and fortunately enough, after some deliberations, they accepted that I could travel with Theresia to Haiti and have an experience with the organization.

I am in Haiti at the moment and many things continuously run through my mind. I have not seen a country as badly hit as Haiti. Upon my arrival at Port au Prince Airport two Haitians and a German lady, a member of Lands Aid, were there to receive us. As we drove through the streets of Haiti Serge, one of the Haitians, among others, told me that there is a slogan which runs through the country – ‘Haiti has hit rock bottom’ and the country could not be worse than its present state. Seemingly, I shall be in Haiti for a period of 2-3 months. I do have my hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears for Haiti.

I hope in my own petit way under the guardianship of SOS Doctors, I may be able to touch the lives of at least a few Haitians in line with the activities of the organization. I do hope I will have the chance to participate in the projects of the organization during my time in Haiti, all for the betterment of the life of the Haitians and mankind.

Talking with one of the Haitian doctors, I was asked ‘how long do you think it will take for this country to be rebuilt?’ I responded – maybe 5 years. He was very surprised and said it will probably take about 10years at a minimum. For sure, I am not going to rebuild Haiti myself nor bring back the half a million Haitians who lost their lives in the earthquake. Many families are devastated and people are living with scars of sorrow and pain because of the death of their loved ones. I just hope to accompany some of the Haitians during this hard moment and to listen to their stories if given the chance by the organization. The earthquake for sure was a life changing experience for many Haitians and as usual, many people with broken hearts just want people who can listen to their stories.

Furthermore, I do hope that during my time in Haiti I shall be able to know and learn more about SOS Doctors. I have read about the organization on their various sites and seemingly, this is the time to get a first hand experience with this organization.

I employ the Most Holy Mother of God, St. Camillus and Francis of Assisi to guide and protect me during my time in Haiti. May I always be inspired by the faith of holy men and women. May Christ continue to bless the members and volunteers of SOS Doctors and bless a hundred fold the generosity of the donors and benefactors of this organization.

John Tanyi

Earthquake in Haiti 40 – Theresia on Mission in Carcas [Diocese of Jeremie]

Earthquake in Haiti 39

Theresia in Carcas, Haiti – The Mission Continues

06/06/2010

It has been 2 weeks since I came to Haiti. I have been working with the medical team of Lands Aid at Notre Dame Seminary in Cazeau, Port au Prince.  I am serving as a pastoral care giver, registering patients and helping in the pharmacy.

On June 2, 2010 Fr. Scott came to Port au Prince from the Dominican Republic. He came to join our mission and for the funeral of Fr. P. R. B-Aimee, a Haitian priest who died because of brain cancer. The funeral took place in Jeremie, Haiti. There CTF-SOS DRS is looking forward to implementing a program to feed children in a school that was affected by the January 12 earthquake. The location of the school is in Carcas. (see Map of Haiti)

The journey to Carcas takes 3 hours by car from Jeremie. Fr. Verdieu, the pastor of St. Joseph’s in Carcas, invited SOS DRS to help with the children. Theresia and Fr. Verdieu left Jeremie on Saturday at 7 AM. The road was terrible. I cannot imagine how people can do their work since the road is so bad. However, I enjoyed the journey because the view was beautiful. We passed the Caribbean Sea. On the way to Carcas we also passed by a community of sisters.

The community is run by the Daughters of Mary. The sisters also run a school that was very affected by the earthquake. The school was damaged and 20 students were injured. The sister that I was talking to is the superior and also the principal of the school. Her name is Sr. Mona Jacques. She is a Haitian sister. Sr. Mona was telling me the whole story about the school. She told me that she needs help to build the school again.

After seeing the school and having something to eat we continued the journey. The road was making my stomach upset. During the journey I was asking myself, “Lord is this really Your mission?” My mind went back to the movie “Passion of Christ”. I remembered in that movie that Jesus walked many a bad road to spread the Good News. I offered myself as His servant as we traveled on this bad road.

Finally, Fr. Verdieu and I reached Carcas. When I arrived I asked Fr. Verdieu – is this Carcas?  I asked that question because I thought Carcas was big. In fact, it is not. There I saw many people living in poverty. There was no electricity. The people depend on St. Joseph Parish to give them electricity that does so through a generator. You can imagine how much the Parish has to spend to buy fuel for generator. And in fact the parish does not have any support. What the parish does is ask the community to contribute some money then they will buy fuel. Fr. Verdieu, the parish priest, told me that sometimes there is no electricity if the people do not contribute.  

The population here is several hundred and most of them are fisherman and farmers. There is a small dispensary run by the parish, but sometimes they have to close because they lack medicines. The parish does not have enough money to buy them. The dispensary charges 25 goudes for a visit (= .62 cents). Goudes is the Haitian currency. The common diseases in Carcas are malaria, high blood pressure, asthma, bronchitis, hepatitis and HIV. Unfortunately, the dispensary does not have many facilities. For example: malaria tests, HIV/AIDS tests, urine tests, etc.

I visited 2 people who were sick. One of them had high blood pressure (220/80), but the dispensary could not give any medicine because there is none. In this dispensary there is no doctor. They do have a nurse. She works from Monday to Friday (8 AM-2 PM) and during the weekend she makes house visits. Most of the people do not want to go to the dispensary because they cannot afford to pay 25 goudes. They stay in the house with their sicknesses.

I also visited Lucie Marie, a 36 year-old woman who has 3 children. She has been unable to walk for the last 3 weeks. The Parish and her family brought her to the hospital for medical treatment but because of a lack money they went back to Carcas and stayed at home. I did not know what to do. Fr. Verdieu and the pharmacist also did not know what to do. We offered a prayer for her but I was asking myself what is this prayer now? I hoped I could help her. The children need their mother to take care of them. When I visited Lucie Marie I did not see any food there and the house was very dirty. So were the children.  My heart was pained, and I felt frustrated. I kept asking God what I should do for this woman. I kept asking God to help me to help this woman. I looked at the children so full of hope as they gazed at us (Fr. Verdieu, me and the pharmacist). And once again I prayed and asked God to give me strength and courage to do something for this woman.  I hope that after you read this personal reflection you will pray for Louise Marie, her family and the others who are suffering in Carcas. I encourage you to support them as well in any way you can.

Thanks, in Christ –

Theresia Sinaga

Carcas, Haiti

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Earthquake in Haiti 39 – Theresia and Fr. John – The First Week

Earthquake in Haiti 38 – CTF-SOS DRS on the Ground 9

CTF-SOS DRS continues its work in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake there.

Here is a brief summary written by Theresia of activities during her first week in Haiti. She will be in Haiti through August helping CTF-SOS DRS provide medical, humanitarian and pastoral support to earthquake victims.

Wednesday May 19 – Arrival in Port Au Prince, Haiti

Theresia and John met Birgit [Landsaid Project Coordinator], Serge [Translator] and Maxo

Theresia and John attended WHO cluster meeting (mobile clinic cluster) at the Healing Hands for Haiti office with Birgit and Dirch[Managing Director of Lands Aid in Germany]

Orientation to the Landsaid/CTF-SOS DRS base and the Lands Aid members there

Thursday May 20
Daily planning meeting – Lands Aid
Mobile clinic at Notre Dame Seminary in Cazeau
The patients: 60

The medical team members:
Doctor : Rose Mary (German) Lands Aid
Doctor’s Assistant: Colin P. Richard (Haiti)
Nurse : Felicitas (German) Lands Aid
Nurse and Registration: Michaela (Haiti)
Pharmacist : Ramona (German), Lands Aid
Translators: Mitu (Haiti)
Translator and Registration: John Baptist (Haiti)
Nurse assistant: Theresia Sinaga (CTF-SOS DRS Indonesia)
Pharmacist Assistant: John Tanyi (CTF- SOS DRS) (Cameroon)Driver:Dimy (Haiti), driver

At 3 PM the mobile clinic is over for the day

Friday May 20
Daily planning meeting
Mobile clinic at Notre Dame Seminary,Cazeau
Pastoral Care Giver/Nurse assistant: Theresia Sinaga (CTF-SOS DRS Indonesia)
Pharmacist Assistant: John Tanyi (CTF- SOS DRS) (Cameroun)
3 PM – the mobile clinic is over for day

Theresia provided pastoral care for 2 patients with the help of a translator (JB):Madame Nicodem, a mother with 5 children who had an accident in 2008. Mad. N was knocked by a private car when she was going to the church.

Saturday May 21
Daily planning meeting
Set up the mobile clinic
Theresia, John and Dimy (driver) went to price cars and an internet service for the base community/projexct
Theresia and John join the mobile clinic
3 PM – the mobile clinic is over for the day

Sunday May 22
Mass at St. Pierre Vaniel Parish
Visit of Port au Prince – Earthquakes affected areas
Visit Santo – Site of possible prosthetics project
Lunch at traditional Haitian café

Monday May 23
Daily meeting by Lands Aid
Mobile clinic at Notre Dame Seminary, Cazeau
The patients : 67
Pastoral Care Giver/Nurse assistant: Theresia Sinaga(CTF-SOS DRS Indonesia)
Pharmacist Assistant: John Tanyi (CTF- SOS DRS) (Cameroon)

Tuesday May 24
Daily planning meeting by Lands Aid
Mobile clinic at Notre Dame Seminary, Cazeau
The patients : 63
Pastoral Care Giver/Nurse assistant: Theresia Sinaga (CTF-SOS DRS Indonesia)
Pharmacist Assistant: John Tanyi(CTF- SOS DRS) (Cameroon)

Wednesday May 25
Daily planning meeting
Mobile clinic at Notre Dame Seminary, Cazeau
The patients : 65

Additional volunteers :
Doctor: Marcela, (Italy – Pediatrician)
Daniella (Italy – a gynecologist)
Nurse: Gloria (Italy)

Theresia provided pastoral care for 2 patients – Rosedaniella Andre and Vivian. One was suffering significantly from the effects of the earthquake.

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