Sunday, December 5, 2010

Clean Water for Christmas

This photo of a hole in the ground was taken in the village of Naran, Haiti, where my friends/translators have started Flower of Hope School. The hole is the well that supplies the entire village with water: over 100 kids, and their families. Each day at dawn, folks begin lining up with buckets to take home for the day. I saw this well myself; it is the truth. Now, the school has had 6 kids with cholera; none have died, thank God. But I'm very interested in helping the village families get "Klor-fasil" bucket water-treatment systems. Chlorine-based chemicals are added to the water in a simple recipe, making it drinkable and safe. The buckets cost about $10 each. I am looking forward to seeing my friends on my upcoming trip in January, and seeing what we can do about safe water in Naran.

Friday Jan 7, 2011, I'll be on that now-familiar 06:00 am flight that leaves Dulles Airport for Miami, and connects later in the day to Port au Prince. Oh, what a subdued crowd we usually are at 04:30; lined up at Dulles, sucking down Starbucks and shuffling quietly through the security lines with our shoes off and our laptops exposed. I'm always the lady who's dressed funny: a light jacket, since it's January, covers layers of summer clothes, with smartwool socks on, inside my sport sandals....I have to gradually undress all day long, as I move southward. It's a seasonal migration all in one day, ending up in the tropics.)

So here's the Trip #4 Haiti Wish List and Agenda! All ye who care enough to read this blog, ask about the trips, and reply with support-- you're an amazing bunch, and you never cease to amaze me.

1) Midwives for Haiti: I'll be traveling with dear friend/founder of M4H, Nadene Brunk,CNM and Cara Osborne, PhD, CNM. We will help organize and teach the opening session of Class 4, with 16 new midwife students! This class was selected from about 35 applicants, and will be taught by Marthone, our Haitian ISF, and Reina,our American CPM, who melded into an awesome multi-cultural teaching team during the past Class 3. American and Canadian midwives will travel down very regularly as adjunct faculty and clinical training staff.

M4H now has a home in Hinche: a house where all our supplies and staff can be in one place, safe, organized and inventoried. The leased house is just now getting furnished, so I may help with setting up housekeeping, and organizing equipment. Up to now, we've had to keep track of supplies and equipment stored in at least 3-4 closets in different parts of the town of Hinche!...on my first trip there, I started vocally complaining about the amount of time spent on "D.O.S." (Distribution of Sh...I mean.... stuff...) issues, and at last, that is getting better! Baby steps.

We hope to be starting up new mobile clinic locations with the NEW PINK JEEP. It is currently on the dock in St. Marc, waiting for customs paperwork to make it "kosher" for us to take possession. By January, we should be using it to make monthly visits to several new villages in the Central Plateau, that have never before had prenatal care. In past trips, I've helped train and work with the Haitian midwives in these rural clinics. I can't wait to do one with the will be like getting a fancy RV after backpacking for years.

2) Heartline Ministries- our friends, the McHouls, in Port au Prince, have the most amazing programs for helping women--in addition to a clinic and a birth center, one of them is a sewing class. I will visit Beth at Heartline in PaP with a prototype "labor dress", designed by my midwife partner, Margie-- and explore possibly having these dresses sewn by Haitian seamstresses, for later sale in the business idea...we're excited about it! More than donations, or free handouts, Haitians really want BUSINESS and JOBS....that is what supports families and changes lives, forever.

3) I'll be checking in with my friends Theard and Manno, and see how their village school in Naran is coming along. If I have enough cash from US donations, we will be buy and distribute "Klor-fasil" bucket-type water treatment systems, to help make safe water available in this village that has only one tiny well.

What's needed? Other than money, NOT much stuff.Limited to only 2, 70-pound bags, and a carry-on, there are not many physical things that I can carry down, besides what I already have in boxes at my house from previous trips!

A few small, lightweight, things are always needed, though....Prenatal vitamins (over the counter, any brands)
Iron supplements (" ")
Lightweight navy boys' slacks and girls' skirts-any sizes- for the Maison Fortune orphanage.
White ladies' short-sleeve blouses, small and medium size
AA, AAA, 9V batteries
any of these could be dropped off at the Midwives office.

Needed for the new class:baby stethoscopes
adult stethoscopes
long-tubing fetoscopes
B/P cuffs
thermometers (not covers)
There is a lot of prescription medicine needed, which must be ordered and purchased in-country for legal reasons.

For any who wish to : have a charitable tax write-off, purchase medicines, or medical equipment listed above: contact me at the Midwives office (703-726-1300) and I can expedite.
To help with Klor-Fasil buckets, support the school, and other "random acts of kindness" that I try to accomplish: write a check to me directly, and send to the midwives office. I always try to follow up with a report of how cash was used to help Haiti.

I so appreciate all my the support from this wonderful community. Most importantly, I ask and appreciate your prayers, encouragement, and following the blog so I know I'm not alone. It's great to go to Haiti. And it's really hard to go to Haiti. I am glad you "go with me."
Have a lovely holiday.