Google+ WTN Haiti Partnership: 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Presiding Bishop Historic Visit to Haiti

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori traveled to Haiti this week. Read the full article of what see saw and did, along with pictures of Petionville and Northern Haiti. We hope she saw a bit of what we know and love about the people of Haiti.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Aint no use to sit and wonder why, Babe

Thanksgiving Day in Memphis.  Cleaning up the house so we can have a big group for dinner. All my closest friends in the world; all have shared the Haiti experience with me either by going on a trip or taking care of those who do, raising money for the school, spreading the word about our ministry.

As I clean up, I realize that Haiti has infiltrated every room in my house. Scattered items include the still cluttered suitcase on my kitchen floor:
empty water bottle (THAT goes into the dishwasher to be boiled clean)
bug repellent wipes used and unused
Package from Sister Mary Margaret she sent home with me to mail for her (no reliable postal service in Haiti)
Letter from Madame Marc Leon to mail to her friend Solange in Connecticut
Thank you notes from Dieumene and Marilene to Jennifer, for the care packages she sent to them in my suitcase. You see the Haiti US delivery service via suitcase works in both directions.
Crumpled and soiled Sunday bulletin from Holy Trinity Cathedral
Broken piece of tile found in Holy Trinity's courtyard
Hammered tin crosses
Otoscope parts, pregnancy test kits, urinalysis strips and hemocue cuvettes.  A few tongue depressors (throw those out!)
Scraps of paper with email addresses of new friends in Haiti

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Parting memories of our trip

So much happens over the course of one week on these mission trips. Difficult to capture all of it; partly due to my fatigue at the end of the day. Fatigue which builds as the week goes on. Working in the heat saps our energy, as well as carrying all the responsibilities of each day. Did we give the Braille maps to the blind classes teacher yet? No, they are still at the guest house. Did anyone see my water bottle?  Who has the lidocaine?  Does anyone know if we brought any 3 cc syringes?  Where is that extra hand sanitizer you brought? Did you see my black bag in the clinic? I think John has my glasses.  No you gave them to Claire.  Remember there are 4 kids who need Amoxicillin tomorrow.  Remember to give Madame JoAnn a glucometer and the rest of the glucose strips. If we have any extra suitcases left, I promised to give one to JoJo   Let's give the rest of the snacks and granola bars to Alphonse....and on and on it goes. 

Claire is surprised that she so quickly became an integral part of our team. Her music brought joy to the kids during the day and to the team relaxing at the guest house in the evenings. Hearing Dieumene sing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is now one of my all time favorite Haiti memories.  

Sherye worked with many of the teachers on lesson plans and @@@@@@@@@@@@@@
She has been planning this for months and was worried about how she would be received; would she connect with the teachers? Would they be interested in what she had to say?  She came out of those sessions practically singing about her experience; how great everyone was and how they exceeded her expectations.

Before leaving the guesthouse today for the airport we got to visit with Pere Sadoni briefly. Phillip explained his plans for continuing dental care for the children, with the assistance of Dr Samuel Prophete who is Dean of the dental school in PortauPrince. We gave him an envelope stuffed with money collected from all of us. None of the team is returning home with more than $20 in their pockets!  Pere Sadoni said a final prayer to bless our group as we departed. 

As I sit on the plane now, watching  mountains beyond mountains fall away below me, Brittany tells me about getting bitten by mosquitoes while waiting at the airport. She wished out loud that she hadn't packed her bug spray, and Vickie handed her a bug spray wipe.  Mama Vickie. Such a gift to our team. Before she started coming with us 3 trips ago, we were always losing things. Never had our medical cards organized properly. Always needing a paper towel or hand sanitizer, a ziplock bag or something to eat. Now we just ask Mama Vickie and like magic she produces what we need. The Brittany story continues with Brittany pulling her boarding pass out of her pocket to board the plane, and after standing in line a few minutes realizing the mosquito repellent on her hands has managed to wipe off all the numbers on her ticket. She does not know which seat or have proof of which flight she is on. Fortunately her second boarding pass for her connecting flight is undamaged and can be scanned, so she is allowed to board the plane after all.  

We are all more than ready to be home and see our families and loved ones. But we have left behind more than granola bars and vitamins, glucometers and Braille maps. Anyone who comes to St Vincents knows this. So be gentle with us, those of you who have missed us for a week. We may be a little withdrawn, slightly intolerant of the mad shopping culture that fills America in this holiday season.  We carry something with us that we may not be able to explain in words. Not to mention the fact that when we arrive at the airport we will not smell very good! A peculiar mix of sweat, Haiti dust, sunscreen and bug spray.  See you soon!

Susan Nelson

Friday, November 21, 2014

Beach Day

Today we spent a lovely day at Kaliko beach. This is where the St Vincent's kids come for one week of summer camp, called Camp Jacob. Lovely pools as well as a fabulous beach. See our twitter feed for photos. Our team enjoyed "adult beverages" (Mango Rum or Gin and Tonic), cool breezes, lawn chairs under palm frond umbrellas.  Lots of sunscreen. Nonetheless a few sunburned faces and arms by the end of the day, especially the group who went snorkeling.

On the way to the beach we stopped at the memorial site where thousands of people were buried after the earthquake. Sonya Yencer wrote eloquently about our experience, check out Sonya's blog at redthreadpromise.org. Go to (copy and paste into your browser).    redthreadpromise.blogspot.com/2014/11/haiti-saying-no.html?m=1

Beach day is a day to unwind and to enjoy the beauty of Haiti, to realize that not all of Haiti is grinding poverty, that her beaches are as lovely as any in the Bahamas or Jamaica or the Dominican Republic.  

Sitting together on the beach this morning, drinks in hand and a cool breeze on our faces, we started a list of Haiti quotes.  

1. What I like about this breeze is there's not a stink at the end of it
2. When I get home I leave my suitcase outside for 2 days.  That way the smell doesn't get into the house and any critters I brought home have a chance to run away.
3. I drink in two places.  Haiti and the American Society of Microbiology.
4. What is it about my toenails turning brown in Haiti?
5. Haiti is a land of contrasts at every corner.
6. So you have to tie the door shut.  What's your point? (Referring to the door on the bus we ride everyday )
7. Haiti melts my chocolate and melts my heart.

I am happy at the end of the week, knowing we have all done our very best to bring care and healing to the handicapped children at St Vincent's.  Tomorrow we return home to our families and loved ones. We are exhausted, sunburned, and some who have been to  Haiti for the first time will grieve.  It is heart wrenching to leave the children and worry about how they will get enough food, enough attention, enough of everything they need to grow and learn. But in traveling to Haiti all these years I have learned a secret.  The children thrive and grow, pa de pa as they say in Haiti. Little by little. And God takes special care of these children.  What we give during our time in Haiti is only a small part of God's plan for them. 

Susan Nelson

Gifts and Goodbyes

Our last day at St Vincents is always full; things done and left undone as we say in our prayer of Confession. Names of patients we want to see again, to recheck blood pressures or make sure their ailments are improving. Phil carries in two kids on his shoulders who need amoxicillin for their dental infections. Teachers drop by to ask for something for headaches, for "grip" (Cold symptoms), for a pain somewhere they forgot to mention to me yesterday while they were being seen. Vickie diligently sorts thru the medical cards to find the appropriate record from earlier in the week, sometimes from the same day. Late yesterday afternoon we ran out of our 5x7 preprinted medical cards and started using slips of paper for our patient records.   
 
The most interesting patient we saw today was a young woman with a badly infected leg. I remember her from two years ago! She has a chronic infection and swelling covering most of her lower leg below the mid calf.  Vickie, a microbiologist, suspects a chronic fungal infection and I think she's right. The patient has no pain from the wound.  We cleaned it and dressed it with antibiotic ointment and gave her  two shots of Rocephin. The shots were more painful than the wound itself!  While Kara, Ashley and I worked on her leg, JoJo told Sherye about Haitian voudou. Apparently the woman has an appointment this week with a Haitian voudou priest. She believes this wound happened because someone cursed her. The Haitian priest can cure her by casting out the evil spirit. JoJo told us that when we come back to Haiti next March we will see a miracle, then we will know she was cured by voudou.  Maybe so, but just in case I plan to bring some equipment to do a biopsy and culture and make a proper diagnosis. 
 
Phil and John went to meet Dr Samuel Prophete, a faculty member at the Dental School in Port Au Prince. Sounds like a terrific meeting; discussion of how to get St Vincents kids into the weekly dental clinics. Phil has found a tremendous amount of infections, cavities and more serious problems in the children.  I greatly appreciate his hard work in difficult circumstances bringing a service to these children they have not had since the earthquake. (2010)
 
My favorite part of the day was with Frenel. I have a large photo of this young boy reading Braille, in my office. One of my patients who is also blind, has heard about my work at St Vincents and gave me a set of Braille playing cards. Sitting with Frenel and Mackenson on the steps in the school courtyard, I showed Frenel the difference between the 4 of clubs and the 4 of diamonds, and so on. He quickly caught on, so I taught the two boys to play Go Fish. In Kreyol mostly. Except for the "punch line". Mackenson kept saying Go First!
Soon after that we were invited to listen to the handbell choir.  The group of 10 players are all blind, led by Professor Simeon. They played OH SUSANNAH in my honor, and also a song about Noah's Ark complete with animal sounds performed by a student named Geraldo. A true cut-up. 

Another gift was from Rochelle who brought her newly tuned violin to play for me.  Blessed Assurance again, I told Claire that is the hymn of this week since we also heard it on Sunday (see earlier blogpost)
 
As the afternoon wore on, Vickie handed out the last of the stickers and piwilis (lollipops). Jaden and Phil played soccer with some of the boys, Ashley and Brittany sang and danced with the girls, especially Maille who is in a wheelchair. Sonya had a Zentangles session with a group including Marie Carmelle, Adrian (both in wheelchairs) and Bergens (who draws with his feet). 
 
Finally Claire brought Dieumene to sing for us a song they practiced all week. Leonard Cohens' Hallelujah. Mackenson and Claire played their guitars while Claire and Dieumene sang. Dieumene has a lovely, sultry voice and we were all quite moved by her performance.   
I give these details because I want to impart the rich experience we all have when working at St Vincents. After only one week we feel like these are our family. 

Saying goodbye to these dear folks is difficult. It only gets easier for me because I know I am coming back soon, in March. Claire was quite undone by the experience. I remember my first time leaving St Vincents I grieved for a month at least. 

Knowing the children will be here when I return makes it possible for me to leave. 

Susan

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pran Swen-Take Care

Many times today I used this Kreyol phrase. As the teachers and school staff came to see me one by one, all said "Mesi" or Thank You as they left.  I wanted to say "thank YOU  for taking care of all the children" so I asked JoJo how to say this in Kreyol. "Mesi pou pran swen tout timoun "
 
So many ways the staff takes care of these 250+ handicapped children. Teaching the blind to read Braille, the deaf to learn sign language, the children with missing or deformed limbs to get an education and learn confidence.  We can always spot the new students because they often don't know sign language or don't know how to behave or to take turns.  A particular student named Woodlee was quite difficult to handle two years ago when he first came. Margaret Squire, who lived with her husband Bill Squire at St Vincents for two years, told me then that Woodlee would be fine after living at St Vincents for a while. She was so right! Now Woodlee is much calmer; doesn't push and shove other children to get his way. Dashnika was the same way when we first met her some 3-4 trips past. She was always mad!  Now she smiles and plays with the other children and doesn't yell or cry all the time. 

This teaches me that even though this school seems very poor and to American eyes needs better facilities  and better books, supplies and is chronically underfunded, the staff takes loving care of these children. Our teams only visit for one week two times a year. We bring medicine and school books and playtime with our toys and music, but the love in St Vincents is not brought there by the Americans.  We only hope to show the children and staff that their stories are not forgotten, that they bring joy and hope to us and remind us that treasure can be found in a classroom of blind kids singing silly songs. 

Susan Nelson

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday in Haiti - Making house calls- Who is Drew?

Today, November 18, was a national public holiday in Haiti commemorating the victory of the Haitian rebels over the French in the revolution.  As usual, we learned of this on Sunday, just after we arrived.  A holiday means no school, no teachers for Sherye to do her planned teaching instruction, and no kids for the clinic.   However, per the Haitian way, we adapted.  There are about 25-30 permanent residents at St Vincents, so Phillip used today to do dental check ups on most of "Drew's kids". Sonya and her son went outside Port au Prince to meet the family of a little girl who needs club foot surgery. We hope to arrange for Dr Khumalo to see her on his next trip in January.  Ashley and I spent the day with Dr George's Beauvoir, orthopedic surgeon who works part time at St Vincent's.  He had two surgical cases today and invited me to observe.  It gave me a chance to see the surgical facility where he and Dr Khumalo do their surgeries. He treated us to a lovely lunch and then we made a house call on one of his patients. Abigail is about 7 years old and had just been released from the hospital after a wound infection. Dr Beauvoir wanted me to see the kind of place most of St Vincent's kids live in.  We picked up the child's mother at what I thought was a hotel.  Dr B told me she worked there as a maid, and it was a private residence.  Leaving that neighborhood, we quickly left the paved roads and entered another world.  We drove up and down very rough "roads", more like gullies where even motorcycles could get stuck.  Children carrying gallon jugs of water were walking along the road just wide enough for a single car to pass.  Goats, pigs, and chickens poked around in the road or the vegetation on the hillside.  We drove about 3 miles, a distance which the mother travels daily, either on foot or by "motorcycle taxi" which costs 50 gourdes (about $1.20 US). Entering a maze of gravel gullies we finally arrived at her home, a concrete dwelling with a front porch reached by climbing crumbling concrete steps.  We were greeted warmly by the family of about 7 people; a young woman pulled out chairs for us. They were typical metal "lawn chairs" with faded cushions.  Dr Beauvoir laid the little girl on a plastic reclining lawn chair and changed her dressing, with assistance from me and the girls mother.  Two younger children stared continuously at me and Ashley; I don't know if they had ever seen a "blan" before. (white person). I was thinking that Sienna would be so disappointed to learn she missed this experience. She would have been chatting in Kreyol with all the children and learning their names.  The best I could manage was "Bon swa" and "Mesi". 

Dr Beauvoir gave me a great compliment. He said that I am 1/3 Haitian.  I replied that when my Kreyol is better I will be 1/2 Haitian.  

We returned to the guest house and met our team, hot and sweaty from spending the day at St Vincent's. We shared our experiences over Prestige (Haitian beer). Stars of the day are Phillip, who did dental check ups on many severely disabled children, and to Kara, John and Brittany who ran the medical clinic in my absence.  Phillip and Kara are from Connecticut and have had to put up with the rest of us telling stories of past trips, referring to people they don't know, and hearing us refer to Drew's kids.  Tonight he finally asked, "Who is Drew?"  Much laughter ensued before we could explain the phenomenon of Drew Woodruff. The heart and soul of our Haiti ministry. Drew, if you are reading this, WE MISS YOU AND WISH YOU WERE HERE!
 
Susan Nelson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Medical and Dental clinics and a whole lot of shakin' goin' on

Claire brought her own special touch to St. Vincent's today.  While the children lined up to see Dr Nelson, or Phillip, the dental hygienist, Claire entertained them.  I looked out the door of the clinic to see kids clapping and singing and shaking these small colored balls that sounded like maracas.  A great diversion for the little ones waiting to see the doctor.   And it was nice background music for the clinic as well.  In the states I don't get to listen to children singing while I work. 

Phillip cleaned the children's teeth and applied fluoride treatments. Some of them came to see me afterwards; I could tell because they had white crusty paste all around their lips. The deaf kids mimed brushing their teeth and proudly held on to their new toothbrushes.  Jaden was the runner, taking kids to the pharmacy to get their meds and running errands for everyone.  "Jaden go find me the trash bags."  "Jaden take this kid to the pharmacy". "Jaden go find John for me".  Kara helped me see the kids for their check ups, learning how to say "Do you have pain, do you have a cough, where does your stomach hurt?"  JoJo was our translator. It's amazing to watch him interpret for the deaf kids. He signs with his face and the short stumps he has for arms.   With team members running to and fro between the medical and dental clinic and the pharmacy, it happened that Vickie became a geographical reference point.  Her desk under the shade tree in the courtyard was where each child came to get a card filled out with "Nom, Prenom, L'age". "last name, first name, age".   Eventually someone would say, "I'll meet you at Vickie", or "Leave it at Vickie" 

Brittany was a hero, running the pharmacy out of the empty music room, with meds stacked in suitcases or on the floor. She tagged the wall with labels for "GI", "cough/cold", "antibiotic" and stacked meds underneath in neat rows. She covered the desk with a plastic trash bag and then wiped the surface clean with alcohol each time before counting out the pills. She told me she's really good at those games where you guess how many jelly beans are in the jar.

Rochelle came to see me today so I could give her the violin donated by Connie Tipton in Memphis. She was delighted and promised to return on Thursday to play for the group.  I first met Rochelle 6 years ago when Sienna and I heard a violin playing somewhere in the school.  Sienna tracked it down to find this young girl, practicing by herself in a classroom at 5 AM. Because there was only one school violin and that's the only time she could practice.  Since then  Rochelle has grown up and now attends University in Port au Prince.  When I asked her last March did she still play the violin, she told me no because she did not live at the school anymore and so had no instrument to play.  I promised her then I would bring her a violin, and today I was so pleased to be able to fulfill that promise. 

At the end of the day, Claire had her guitar upstairs in the dorm with "Drew's kids", the more severely handicapped children. Many of these are new residents to St Vincent's, plus we had our old friends Diana and Yolene and Auguste. Dieumene helped lead some of the songs and told the kids to be quiet so Claire could speak. "See-LONCE ", she said in her "I am the queen of Haiti" voice.  

 Check out the you tube video on Twitter @wtnhaiti. (Stephen maybe you can put the you tube link here?)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

C'est mon Cantique

Today we went to 9:00 service at Holy Trinity Cathedral.  The worship service is held in a temporary pavilion built next to the crumbled cathedral which was destroyed in the earthquake.  Its lovely to see old friends and be greeted like family.  Of course, the two hour service is entirely in French and Kreyol.  The hymns are familiar tunes, like Blessed Assurance and Amazing Grace.  C'est mon cantique, C'est mon histoire  (This is my song, this is my story).  Grace infinie  (Amazing Grace). 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Making Mud Pies

Thanks so much to all the dedicated supporters who prayed for us today. We had smooth travels all the way thru Atlanta, and after brief inspections of our bags in customs we were on our way. It's like that scene in Star Wars, where ObiWan says to the guards, "these are not the people you're looking for". With our own Jedi Master mind trick we got our 16 bags of meds and one oversized box of crutches past inspection.

Seeing Jean Robert's face at the airport is always one of my favorite happenings.  "Dr SOOzann" he calls out in his deep voice, and I know we've arrived safely. 

A fairly small team this time, 11 willing souls.  Phillip, a dental hygienist, and Kara, an RN from Connecticut. Kara is the granddaughter of Bill Harris who helped Hope Lennartz from the early days with the Friends of St Vincent.  Sonya and her son Jaden Yencer, from the Red Thread Promise.  Sherye Fairbanks, our faithful interpreter for the deaf.  John Mutin, my lieutenant who takes care of everything from checking iron levels on all the kids  to reminding everyone to drink water to bringing me a beer at the end of the day!  Brittany Jonap our pharmacist who is mixing sulfur ointment as we speak, to treat scabies. Vickie Baselski, who we put in charge of intake of all the kids in clinic after she organized us so well on her first trip, and her daughter Ashley who is ALSO mixing sulfur ointment.  I refer to this process as making mud pies. Brittany had to ask me "What are you talking about??" When I kept asking her if she was ready to make mud pies.  Mix 1:10 potion of sulfur ointment with petroleum jelly. Great old fashioned remedy for a host of skin infections. I even called Ashley's dad Dr Bob Skinner, a dermatologist in Memphis,  to confirm the dosing instructions.
Last but not least we have Claire, who teaches children's choir at St Mary's Cathedral in Memphis and has brought her guitar to sing with the kids. No doubt she will be the star for the week.

A good group, excited to be here and getting to know each other over Bananagrams (those who weren't mixing sulfur ointment)

Tomorrow we will go to services at Holy Trinity Cathedral, then see the kids in the afternoon,  I can't wait.
 
Follow us on Twitter @WTNHAITI for photos and updates.

Friday, November 7, 2014

CBU nurses last day at St Vincents


As I was ready to walk to get the bus the bottom of sandal just fell off my. Literally, I took a step and the bottom part of the sandal stayed on the floor. It should have been an omen! 

The team was promptly at the end of the long drive at 8:27; August and our bus were not. We waited!!!During the wait Stephanie, who was already dealing with a jumping stomach started to feel really sick and went back to the guest house. At 9:05 the bus was still not here so Noel took us to St. V. It seems the bus would not start.

Once we get to school we find Diane, in what were are referring to as “the box” and our clinic just crying hysterically. She was guarding and really seemed to be in pain; no temp, no + signs for an appy but still seemed in pain; we did get her calmed down and checked on her later and she was sleeping. Of course we did not have any children’s tylenol or ibuprofen.

Since we needed some children’s tylenol on Tuesday, I wanted to check out the pharmacy at the brace shop area. First, Brittany PharmD. thank you so very much for the label guide it was a priceless treasure. Second, you do not have a pharmacy!! The suitcase and cardboard box system I set up looks like CVS compared to what is left of the pharmacy at St. V. There is a closet at the brace shop building with various bags, and a big box of all kinds of dusty medications. It looks as if the shelves of the old pharmacy was cleaned off in a hurry and loaded into what ever could be found. UGH! It was an arduous process to get to these prescription meds and I did not see any vitamins. If the children have been receiving vitamins, they must be stored somewhere else. I did try to speak with Ms. Elizabeth about the children getting vitamins while Mdme Noelle is on maternity leave and she said they are thinking of something. ????

CBU nurses visit Mirebelais Hospital

Wednesday, November 5th

We began our journey to Hospital Universitaire de Mirebalais at 730 AM. This Dr. Paul Framer’s vision of health care for the underserved in the north of Haiti. It is quite the place. The hospital has 3 intake areas; ER which can get up to 1,500 people a day (not all are seen), women and children’s 400 to 500 a day, and general medical that sees 450 people a day. For about 5.00 one can register and receive a medical record card and been seen for life at the hospital. Sounds great!! The hospital is a 90 minute drive up and over the mountain from Port au Prince with numerous S curves and a great deal of goats, donkeys, cows, tap taps, people and semi-dump load of rock also trying to traverse the mountain. I spend a good deal of time with my eyes closed; one because I have motion sickness in this type of terrain and two, because I thought I might die!! It is not a trip for the faint of heart!! It was worth the trip and much, too much information was obtained to share in a note from Haiti. Just let me say they are doing wonderful work. And, there is not a nursery for the OB department, mothers want their babies immediately. We heard the cry of a newborn as we were touring the department. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

CBU nurses Day 4

Tuesday,Nov 4th

Again a wonderful day, very busy but very good. We rearranged the intake area and clinic. I was able to get the team Canada group to let us have the old library for the morning. Actually, it was until school was out.

Stephanie’s BP teaching was extremely well attended, almost 30 adult staff were there. In fact, we were not able to see all of the adults and will see the remaining on Thursday. 
As best we can figure, because we rechecked kids was 48 students and 27 adults today;75 people.

As you might guess we were pretty beat and more than ready for Taco Tuesday at the guest house. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

CBU nurses Day 3 in Haiti


It was a day, a glorious day. Each time a plan for this journey, I ask myself, is it worth the effort, numerous challenges, students coming and canceling and all the rest. And then, and then, I go to the special children’s room and I see Baby Margaret, who is no longer a baby and I touch her sweet face and say in English of course “hello Margaret - how are you sweetie”. I touch her face and look into her crib and her eyes and she smiles. Her face lights up and I pick her up and hold her and kiss that angelic face and I sing to her and she blinks her eyes and moves her head to my not so angelic songs. She knows me and this child with her shunt responds. This is why I come. This is my purpose. JoJo and Marie Carmel - so glad to see a friend to glad to welcome me back to Haiti. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

CBU nurses in Haiti Day 2


Yesterday when Chloe provided our group orientation she said “not to worry, we will always have electricity.” She went on to explain that the local electric company rotates the electric power in zones throughout the city but the guest house has a generator and we will have fans and lights; use the green receptacle. At 5:15 Marie woke up saying “the power went out - the fans are off.” What Chloe should have said was we always have electricity - except when we do not. It appears all bedrooms do not have the green receptacle and someone must be present to turn on the generator. We had lights about 6 AM when the cook came in for the day.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

CBU NURSING TEAM arrived safely in Haiti

Evelyn Sue Trzynka

Saturday, Nov 1st. 
Lots of sleepy but excited faces at Memphis International Airport today. Processing the 9 of us went as processing goes for a group very smoothly. Dr. Nelson came to see us off, wish us well and thank all of the team for making a difference at St. Vincent. It was good for the returning member, Heather Ayers, Tiffany Gardner, and Denise Watkins to see Dr. Nelson again. It was also good for the new group, Dr. Marie Bredy, Stephanie Baggett, Suzanne Wilson, Heather Leland, and Laura Scott to meet Dr. Nelson.

We had a very short turn around at the Miami airport - but with lunch to go we were on the plane. And what a plane - wide body, nice leather seats and about 50 rows. 

Things went pretty well at the Haitian airport. Pretty well means the air conditioning was working or really that they now have AC, the line for immigration was long - sort of merging through a cattle shoot style to pay the all NEW $10.00 U.S or Canadian Recreation Tax; on to get our forms stamped and down to get the luggage. Being at the end of the line has advantages - all of porters have already found “marks” and were not there to attack us. Once through customs I found Jude, who had a piece of paper - Suzanne - St. Vincents. I explained to him I only had a small amount of money already planned and not to get too many people or he would not make very much money! It worked, we only had 3 men not 13 trying to move the luggage trolleys and us through the parking lot. Thanks be to God - in about 5 minutes there was the St. V bus and August our driver. 

Off to Helping Hands and almost no traffic for a Saturday. Apparently, all the people were at the cemetery. There is major road work being done from the airport to the guest house. August managed to get the bus up the hill into the drive by approaching from a different direction and “gunning it” to get over the curb. The back bumper of the bus may be a bit more worse for wear!! Now getting the bus turned around was a lot more of a challenge. Good news, most of the driveway has been concreted - I said most. The area in front of the guest house and beyond is still dirt with a few stones mixed in for traction. 

Chloe, the new guest house manager is delightful. She is 23, American educated, very eager to please and delightful. Pork was on the menu and when I explained I cannot eat pork she immediately had the cook fix a chicken breast for me and it was enough to share with others. Marie as well as others were very happy with the red beans and rice. Everyone was happy to get an ice cold Prestige - the local brew. 

I have spoken with Gail, the previous Guest house manager and she is going to help reintroduce Haiti to Dr. Bredy, our CBU adjunct faculty and Nurse Practitioner who is Haitian and left her homeland 42 years ago. By 7:30about half of the team had called it a day and were off to bed. I am not far behind. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Notes from D.C. Conference on Future of St. Vincent's


Last weekend, a group gathered in Washington, D.C. for a conference organized by Margaret McLaughlin of the Friends of St. Vincent's. Susan, Sienna, and Sherye traveled from Memphis to participate. Pere Sadoni joined as well and gave us an update on the school. Below is a summary of Dr. Nelson's notes, with details on several critical elements of life at the school.

SCHOOL LOCATION/RELOCATION
The Haitian government told Pere Sadoni (not sure when) that they would be taking over the school property, hereafter referred to as SITE 2, which is where the medical clinic and dorms and admin offices are currently located. The school and these services would therefore need to relocate. SITE 1 nearby remains the property of St. Vincent's School; it has the newly renovated prosthetics (brace shop) and PT facility, and for at least the next 2-3 years it is expected to contain all medical activities. This includes Dr. Beauvoir (orthopedist), Dr. Ferdinand (pediatrician), Dr. Kado (family doctor), and Dr. Marius (eyedoctor). These are the Haitian medical staff at St. Vincent's. Our medical clinics will run at SITE 1 for the foreseeable future.

Pere Sadoni was told he must vacate SITE 2 by the end of June 2014. Through some influential contacts with the government thru Tom Landry, the eviction was delayed until the end of August. Pere Sadoni met with the Prime Minister and also the Secretary of State for Financial Affairs on several occasions over the summer. Despite these meetings he was told to vacate and advised to "take out everything of value" before the bulldozers showed up. Therefore, Pere Sadoni took out every door and window and ceiling fan and hand railing, putting all of this in storage. The buildings around the school are apparently in rubble as the bulldozers have razed the surrounding buildings, including the wall that surrounded the school. Therefore security is now a concern as well. The medical clinic is no longer standing. 

Pere Sadoni looked at several places for rent, but the cost ranged from $10,000 US per year to $20,000 per month. After several meetings as noted above, and AFTER Pere Sadoni gutted the property, he was then told he could "stay thru September 2015." Meanwhile, one of the teachers reported to Pere Sadoni they could not stay in their classroom anymore. Apparently when the wall came down, people started throwing garbage behind one of the buildings. The smell was horrible and drew flies. This class of ten students is now meeting in a storage closet.

On a bright note, Sadoni reported that last spring, 100 students passed their State Exams. 16 moved onto the 6th grade and 13 moved onto 9th grade. This year school began Oct 6 with 197 children. By the end of week one they had 220 and expect 300 by the first of November. Pere Sadoni went to each classroom and had a small service and blessed each child one by one, he says to tell them they are loved by God and each one must try to do their best this year.

Pere Sadoni explained why he wants to build a secondary school for the deaf children who are doing so well and have advanced to 6th grade. They don't have a good option in Haiti to continue their education, because the only other school for the deaf in Haiti does not teach (or even allow) sign language. There was some input from others at the conference that this might be changing soon; however, the deaf kids currently have no place to finish their education and qualify for University. I thought to myself, now there's a man of faith. His current school is in rubble and he has a vision for educating the deaf students thru high school! More on that later...

WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM
One of the pipes for this system was stolen, but it has been replaced and the system is in working order. Clean water for students and staff. There is now a new concrete wall around the cistern and pipes for security (as I said the outside wall came down)

FOOD
Many organizations that have supported St V in the past are either no longer doing this or have reduced their contribution to rice only. The school still has to buy beans, oil, etc. Pere Sadoni named at least six different orgs he has been in contact with. Specific figures were not discussed, however I assume they have not changed from the $6000 per month required last school year to feed the children.

DORM
Pere Sadoni lowered the dorm's age limit to 14 years. Older children can no longer board at the school (this does not apply to the orphans, about 28 total orphans). They have 23 new boarders, for a total of 51 residents.

SALARIES FOR STAFF AND TEACHERS
Haiti has new minimum wage laws. 225 Gdes (approx $4 US) for one day, 8 hours. If you fire an employee, they go to the Dept of Social Affairs and report what you were paying them. You must make up the deficit for the last 4-5 years between what you were paying them and what the law requires. Then an investigator comes to make sure your institution can pay min wage for each employee. If not, they shut you down.

Currently St. V teachers make less than min wage (<$100 per month). There are 51 teachers. Each classroom has two teachers including one teacher for the deaf or blind students. Plus there are all the cooks, cleaners, other support staff. Much discussion at the conference about budgets, deficits, and how to bring St. V into compliance with the law.

WHAT HAPPENS SEPT 2015?
There is land available in Santo, near the airport, which we hope to purchase using part of the generous donation by Dr. Mary White from Manhattan. Currently negotiations involve Bishop Duracin and the Episcopal Church Central Office in New York. This is 7-8 acres of FLAT land, with a 3500 sq ft house all on one level. Could be turned into dorms. Ideal site, per Tom Landry, who is an architect

IF this land is purchased by First Quarter 2015, construction can begin but realistically not ready for school to open in Sept 2015. Maybe the residents could be moved into the existing house?
Temporary classrooms can be built on SITE 1 for about $50,000 US. There is apparently transportation provided by Haitian gov't for other disabled kids to go to school in Montfort (the other deaf school I mentioned) so this may be option for our students as well, since the new land is near Montfort. Also discussion about shared services between the two schools.

At the end of his presentation, Pere Sadoni thanked all of us for our work to support St. Vincent's. He said we are following God's commission to "support the weak". And we are doing just that. He reminded us that Sister Joan's original goal was "no integration without education". And that 4.6% of handicapped persons in Haiti don't get regular meals

SMALL GROUPS
After his presentation we broke into 3 small groups including 
I. Medical/prosthetics shop/PT/OT/hearing testing/speech therapy. 
II. education III. admin/ budget.

Each small group discussed assets/needs/solutions

I. In brief, the Medical Group agreed to a goal of establishing a COMMON MEDICAL RECORD to be used by all involved with the care of the students, including PT/OT, hearing evals, other disabilities, and general medical care. There is already a National Database in Haiti for persons with disabilities, and a secretary at St. V who can access these records online and print out forms for each provider to use. We hope to expand this. Team Canada visits St. V twice/year, tests the kids for hearing and provides hearing aids. Their next trip is mid October and will overlap with the CBU nurses and Dr. Trzynka in first week of November. Next steps toward communication and collaboration can begin, and creation of a common medical record.

II. Education Group discussed teacher training (now required by Haitian gov't) and food production at the school thru technology provided by 100 Gardens. Check out their website. They farm tilapia and use the effluent to grow vegetables. Very efficient. Opportunities for curriculum development, business models, trade skills, etc. not to mention feeding the kids and possibly turning a profit.
Plans are to install two portable towers at current St. V site as a test project!

III. Admin/Budget Group discussed budget to meet all salary demands incl new min wage laws, and short term/long term plans for current St. V and new St. V. The current operating budget is approx $14,000 per month. Needs to be $18,000 per month to increase wages as discussed.

Tom Landry gave a passionate description of the NEW ST. VINCENT'S:

New St. V property has vision of sustainable farming, a guesthouse which attracts outside visitors as well as St. V visitors/volunteers. Medical center for treatment of handicapped, with training site for physical therapy and other health profession students. Brace shop serving greater Port-au-Prince area. Educational center with training site for teachers. "A MODEL FOR THE CARIBBEAN" Tom said.

Overall an intense meeting with lots of passion.

Susan Nelson
Medical Director
West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A New School Year in Haiti--Letter from Pere Ajax

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am pleased to announce that the official date for the reopening of schools in Haiti this year has come and students returned to class on Sept. 8 as planned. There is another formal assessment in the sixth year of basic or Baccalaureate I. Students will take the examinations in their respective institutions as they do for other exams.

The Haitian student from 2015 onwards will undergo two formal reviews: in the ninth year at the end of the primary school cycle and one at the end of secondary school, or after four years of high school. In addition, schools in the Episcopal Church in Haiti typically have excellent results on official exams.

Haiti has so far been spared any bad weather during the past summer and I hope it has been the same for you. In addition, I wish to inform you that for the first time, the Episcopal Church of Haiti is currently training 21 men and women aspiring to become permanent deacons. In recent years, many churches that did not have priests in charge have been fortunate enough to acquire them. Examples are: Christ-Roi de Jacmel, St. Croix Jeremiah, the Church of the Good Samaritan Acul (Gros Morne), the rise of Berauld (in Torbeck), Christ the King Church Terrier-Rouge, Holy Sacrament of Fonds-Parisien in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets, the Church of Saint-Benoit-Mombin Crochu, Saint Jean-Baptiste Petit Harpon Leogane, etc.

Given the evolution and proliferation of the Haitian Episcopal Church, it is important, even essential to seek partners to share all these new experiences, and so to build together the spiritual and social structures of our country. These are fields of experience which can be special to all who want to discover how life is organized in countries that do not have the same culture and who have not the same historical and cultural experiences.

Thank you for all your support during the past academic year. May God protect you and bless you more in the coming new school year.

Rev. Kesner Ajax
Diocese of Haiti Partnership Program Coordinator

Thursday, May 29, 2014

April Mission Team Reflections





Each trip I ask the team members to write a little about their experience.  Over the years I have found it easiest to get people thinking by asking them these questions:
What was the best part of your trip?
What was the worst part of your trip?
Name one person who influenced you or made an impact on you, and tell me why?

Here is a (partial) collection of responses from our last team.

What was the best part of your trip?
Linda (CBU Nurse):  The Bell Choir was the best part of my trip.  I did not see this last time and it was beautiful, bringing tears to my eyes.  I also loved that we came as two groups but are leaving as one united group.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

John and Clauricianne


The more that I am with the children the more they amaze me! These are not normal children, these are
children that have been blessed by the Holy Spirit, they have to be on first name basis with God and
Jesus. For us that travel to see them it is a place of wonder and amazement that puts Disney World to
shame and shows it to be just another theme park. I have heard that all things are possible when you put
your faith in God but this place has amazed me so many times that I have lost count.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sherye's reflections working with our medical team in April






Another trip finished! We are on the plane and on our way to Atlanta from the Port au Prince airport. It struck me on this trip that we focus so much on the beautiful children at St. Vincent’s that we don’t realize the changes we have made in ourselves. We are different in large and small ways—many of these we may not realize until much later.

I don’t believe I have never made a trip that I managed to give more than I got. I try to be more patient with people who are doing their best. I find I am less patient with complainers and I am trying not to be one. The Haitian people just do not complain. I spend money more carefully, and I recycle, reduce, reuse, and repair more.

This trip had 15 medical people and 3 who were not. I am the interpreter for the deaf students and adults at the school. As usual, I am completely amazed and dazzled by the medical team. The nurses from CBU are always remarkable and this time was no exception. They were so flexible and willing to do anything. It can be “interestingdealing with sporadic electricity, schedules that don’t stop changing, various backgrounds and personalities, and a really short time to get to know each other.  But because we have one focus, one goal, by the end of the day we are functioning like a family and everyone manages to keep smiling and laughing.

I hope everyone on the team is more likely to approach a handicapped person as easily as we are to approach a non-handicapped person and start a conversation. These seemingly subtle things are important.

Sherye Fairbanks
April, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Judith's impressions of her trip to Haiti April 2014

Reflections on my trip to St. Vincent's, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 5-12, 2014

This April I have joined the medical mission of the West Tennessee Haiti Partnership (WTHP). Even though I have no medical training, they convince me that all my talents and then some will be utilized while we are at St. Vincent's. WTHP comes to St. Vincent's every 6 months to check on the growth and well being of the children, the health of the staff, and to followup on children and adults of special concern.


Port-au-Prince is as I remember it. Sun, heat, sweat. People everywhere, walking, sitting, selling wares, riding motorcycles, bicycles, riding in dented and dusty TapTaps, cars, trucks, SUV's.

Happy Easter from Haiti- Rev Kesner Ajax' message


Brothers and sisters in Christ,

I do not want to let this opportunity pass without wishing you and all of our partners and friends a most happy Easter.

During the last few months a number of huge events took place.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hopefully She Plays the Flute


One of the treasures I brought with me to Haiti on this trip was a beautiful silver flute.  The request came in an email to me about a month ago, from Moliere, a Haitian man I have known for years.  Each time I see him we are at Holy Trinity Cathedral for Sunday services, and his friendly but broken English matches my earnest but broken Kreyol.  Having met his two daughters several times, I have watched them grow every year into young girls.

So when Moliere sent me an email last month telling me his youngest daughter was learning to play the flute, and had a music teacher but needed an instrument, I decided to see what I could do.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Keys

Keys are an interesting phenomenon in Haiti. The medical clinic we work in has 4 rooms along one side of the building, and a long classroom along the other side with a pharmacy room at one end. A central hallway divides the two halves of the building, which is entered through one main door. All these rooms have their own key. Then there is the library, which we use as a nursing station and/or teaching room. And finally Pere Sadoni's office, which sometimes contains the scale for weighing (?) and often we store our supplies in there overnight.

Upon arriving at St Vincent's a curious game begins, usually headed by John who has played Find The Key many times. It goes something like this.

She Left Her Teeth in Haiti

The CBU nursing team did a fabulous job this week. Not only did they do checkups on 140 kids(and 35 adult staff), they had a Diabetic teaching session and a High Blood Pressure teaching session for many of the teachers. Creating patient brochures in Kreyol to explain diet and how high blood pressure or diabetes affects your heart and kidneys. I felt our medical clinic had advanced to an entirely new level.

The most fun teaching class had to be the TOOTHBRUSHING CLASS. Making giant teeth with plaster of paris poured into egg crates, Linda (CBU nurse), glued these onto giant pieces of red construction paper, and used silly putty for plaque and yarn for dental floss. The kids loved it!

When she was finished with her demonstration, Linda gave her TEETH MODELS to Elizabeth, the school nurse at St. Vincent's. Later on the plane ride home, as we traded stories about our week together, the other nurses teased Linda, saying She Left Her Teeth in Haiti.

Susan Nelson

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kalico Beach

Today was our last full day in Haiti. Spent at Kalico Beach, a fabulous beach resort about 1.5 hours north of Port au Prince, with crystal clear water, brightly tiled seating areas and almond trees full of fruit. Oh, and plenty of mango rum punch.

Uzoma (our cardiologist) asked us 1) do you plan to swim IN the water, 2) do you see the jelly fish in the water, and 3) those buoys out there in the water, do they have a net to keep out the sharks?

Not enough time

One of the realities of working in Haiti is the need to adapt or adjust your plans to the circumstances. Yesterday we planned to have clinic for the remaining children who had not yet been seen by the nurses, and to read the TB skin tests on the folks who had them placed on Monday and Tuesday. After lunch, the CBU Nurses planned a demonstration on proper tooth brushing (using giant teeth models made from plaster of paris in an egg crate- with yarn for dental floss!). Then we would hear the Bell choir perform for us and Mackenson would play his guitar. After that we were prepared to throw a carnival for all the children, having stuffed plastic easter eggs with mardi gras beads and cut clown faces out of cardboard the night before.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Climbing the Waterfall

Early morning on the bus at 7:30 AM, to drive to Mirebelais and see the new University Hospital built by Partners in Health. Apparently it cost 30 million US dollars to build the hospital, mostly private donations, however the 8 million dollars annual operating budget comes from the Haitian Ministry of Health. The public hospital opened 13 months ago and has 360 beds. Any patient can come to the outpatient clinic or ER and it costs 50 gourdes, or about $1.25 US to get an identity card. With that card, the patient has access to all the medical services including maternity care, emergency care, outpatient visits, X-rays, labs, inpatient hospital services, even physical therapy. They see about 600-800 outpatients per day. 56 doctors are on staff, all Haitian, with the occasional American specialist volunteer. They do 1000 prenatal visits per month and 250 deliveries, most by midwives except for the C sections. Apparently their emergency C-section rate is quite high, due to eclampsia and other high risk conditions in the patients who come to their doors. The hospital is also a training facility for residents in pediatrics, internal medicine, and surgery, and has 14 new residents (of 250 applicants) who started this year.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Out of Aspirin

It's 9 PM and we are winding down at the end of a very busy day. Sitting on the rooftop of the guesthouse, we traded stories and were grateful for a cool breeze, starlight and someone playing the trumpet nearby. Very Haiti. The power went out about 8 PM, so inside the guest house is very stuffy with no fans working. All stumbling around with flashlights, trying not to bang our shins on the furniture. John was actually in the shower when the lights went out. Another Haitian adventure.

Monday, April 7, 2014

First Steps

Today was our first day at St. Vincent's. Four of our team were first time visitors. For the rest of us, it feels like coming home to enter the gates and be greeted by familiar faces and big smiles. The kids run up and greet the people they recognize, like family.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

It is Evening

It is evening and folks are either typing on their Ipads, typing on someone ELSE's I pad (I am borrowing Ashley's) or drinking Prestige beer and visiting with each other. Some have already gone to bed. There is no running water at the guest house this evening, so many sweaty unhappy team members. Jenn and I have found comfort in our room with the fan going. Thank goodness for electric power! Sherye just broke out the snacks, with granola bars and small jars of peanut butter. Sort of a slumber party for grown ups.

Tomorrow is our first day with the kids at St Vincent's. I can't wait.

Susan Nelson

Sacrament

Today we attended services at Holy Trinity Cathedral. The magnificent cathedral building was destroyed in the earthquake. But the church is her people, not the building, so the Cathedral community continues their worship in a pavilion built next door to the ruins.

Hearing familiar hymns, sung in French, is always a moving experience for me. Our group of 18 took up 3 pews, and we did our best to form the French words and sing along. I was sitting on the aisle during communion, and the deacon was administering communion less than two feet away from me. One by one, he said the words, Le ko du Kris, Le san du kris. When the Americans came he said the words in English. The body of Christ. The blood of Christ. Watching each face as they approached the deacon, each mouth open to receive the body and blood of Christ, was an intimate and spiritual experience. Old men, young women, children pulling on their mom's arm, teenage boys. The gift is the same for each. I felt I was part of a truly sacramental experience.

Susan Nelson

At Least It's Not a Camel!

Sat. April 5, 2014 (first day)

We had absolutely the easiest trip ever from Memphis to Port au Prince. Thanks to all who prayed for the safety of our bags and team members. The only hitch was getting the bus up the hill to get into the guest house. But more on that later...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

New Altar Linen for St Mary's Cathedral- with Haitian touches

This Sunday, March 30, at St Mary's Cathedral in Memphis, we will have a special blessing of a new altar linen for the Cathedral altar.  This Fair Linen, as it is called, has a special meaning for me and those of us who work in Haiti.  The Sisters of St Margaret, who live and work in Haiti, create and embroider altar linens.  You can see their brochure pictured here







This religious community is the same group that Sr Joan Margaret belonged to; the sister who founded St Vincent's School over 50 years ago.  I have been hoping we could have something embroidered by these sisters, in use at our altar at St Mary's, for years.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Envisioning the Future of St. Vincent's School, Holy Trinity Cathedral

Over the last few months, the national Episcopal Church has renewed its focus on the Diocese of Haiti, especially Holy Trinity Cathedral and St. Vincent's School in Port-au-Prince. Below, you will find many links detailing the growing momentum in the Episcopal Church nationwide for the children of St. Vincent's and the people of Haiti. We highly recommend this new video about the needs of the school and a recent major donation that will make your day :)  Read on to see site development plans, calls from clergy, news reports, and the direct efforts of the WTHP.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Travel Fund in honor of Deacon Drew Woodruff-support our team


This month at St Mary's Cathedral in Memphis we have created a special travel fund to support the cost of team members travelling to Haiti.  It costs about $1300 per trip to buy a plane ticket and stay in the guest house for a week. Team members pay all their own expenses. For those of us who have been going to Haiti twice a year since 2008, those costs have added up over the years!  So the good people at St Mary's have agreed to establish a special Travel Fund.  Donations to the fund will be separate from donations to support the school itself, or buy food or medicine for the children.
If you would like to donate to support the cost of our team members who travel regularly to St Vincent's, please mail a check to St Mary's Cathedral, 700 Poplar Ave, Memphis TN 38105.  Or click on the DONATE link on this website and designate your donation for travel expenses.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT.

Susan Nelson

Friday, January 31, 2014

Red Thread Promise: HAITI :: FOOD UPDATE :: A big hearted teenager

Red Thread Promise: HAITI :: FOOD UPDATE :: A big hearted teenager: Jaden celebrating his birthday with French silk pie.   Teenagers are amazing…  Words we don't hear strung together often enough!

Follow the link to read more about how one teen can feed a school full of children... [from Red Thread Promise].

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Surgical team goes to St Vincents

Early Saturday morning, I went to the airport in Memphis to wave goodbye to Drs Bheki Khumalo and Jenn Holbourn, who are traveling with Kristen, a surgical nurse, to Haiti. They will work with Dr Georges Beauvoir, a Haitian orthopedic surgeon. This is the second surgical trip for Dr Khumalo, who operated on six children last August. He performs limb correction surgeries on children at St

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Notes from 2013 pt. 2: Frenel and Geraldo at the Eye Doctor!

We at the WTHP Blog missed a few things in 2013 that we would love to share with you. The following series of posts are from three to nine months ago and provide two different perspectives on the children's lives.
---
Last November, Sonya Yencer traveled with one of our great young friends, Frenel, and Geraldo to visit an ophthalmologist in Haiti and see if sight in any of their eyes could be restored. Even the possibility of a positive outcome is an incredibly welcome one for those of us who know these children. I won't copy the article or spoil what they learned, because Red Thread Promise has a beautiful blog of their own with great photographs from the day. Please read the whole post by Sonya here: http://redthreadpromise.blogspot.com/2013/11/haiti-glimmer-of-hope.html.

Notes from 2013 pt. 1: Sewing Machines!

We at the WTHP Blog missed a few things in 2013 that we would love to share with you. The following series of posts are from three to nine months ago and provide two different perspectives on the children's lives.
---
Janet O'Flynn traveled to St. Vincent's with several sewing machines repaired by Sammie Wakefield. The following is an email from Janet with a few pictures of the children using the machines. 

Dear Sammie, You have given a marvelous gift to these young people at St. Vincent's Center! Here are photos of the very engaged, tireless, young people sewing their beautiful tote bags on the machines you restored. Thank you, and thank you also Alinda for driving them to West Hartford, and thank you Hope for putting them into the barrels!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blessings and a Happy New Year

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I cannot begin to send to you our best wishes for the New Year without first expressing our deepest gratitude, on behalf of the Partnership Program of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, for your extreme generosity, your gifts to us all on all levels and in all forms, and your Faith in our work here in Haiti during this past year.

Having expressed our sincerest gratitude, please let me go on to wish for you all, for the coming year, our deepest hope that you will enjoy all of the Blessings of Peace, Love, and Health in the True Light of God's Grace.

May God bless you all, forever

In Christ,
The Reverend Kesner Ajax


In the past few weeks, the WTHP has received a number of large donations from individuals and churches, in response to our requests to help feed the children of St. Vincent's during this difficult time. On behalf of the school and its students, we offer our sincere thanks and gratitude for your continued generosity. All those who give are members of the body of this partnership. We succeed and make a difference together, and no other way. For those who have not yet taken advantage of our new and easy donation page or seen the newly designed website, please visit wtnhaitipartnership.org, which was made possible by your ongoing support.