Tuesday, March 30, 2010
This week is our last disaster medical relief team, they will be leaving on April 1st. There after we will start bringing in medical teams one week out of every month. We will be adding extra teams some months to do mobile medical outreaches in the mountain villages. During these last eleven weeks we have had three transition people Dr. Joe Miller , Dr. Terry Letsinger and Dr. Tim Pratt. These guys have stayed multiple weeks to give our visiting teams continuity and the ability to start work as soon as they arrive. This morning I took Dr. Tim who has been here a month to catch a plane back home to be reunited with his wife. He will be concluding his medical studies in several weeks before establishing his family practice in Sheffield , Ill.
I have often heard it said by those short term missionaries that come here that they come to serve and give but go home with more in their hearts than they gave. Dr. Tim signed on to come down here nine months ago thinking he would serve a half a day Monday through Friday each week at a clinic for the month of March and complete some of his residency requirements.
Jan. 12th the earthquake changed those plans. Dr. Tim like those before him spent countless hours keeping charts, making phone calls, doing rounds, doing emergency life saving procedures, calling other hospitals and organizations finding patients and even delivering babies. I think Tim goes home with a wealth and possibly a lifetime of experiences that will serve him well over the years ahead. I know for a fact that we were blessed and those he served and befriended here at the hospital hated to see him leave. Dr.Tim of course will be a great doctor wherever he goes and sets up a practice but I will always think of him as first and foremost a missionary doctor. In God's love, steve
Monday, March 29, 2010
Over the 11 weeks we have been doing disaster relief all of us here at Pierre Payen have had to be willing to step up and do things we really never trained for or possibly signed on to do. Last night being a make shift ambulance driver was one of those jobs I didn't sign on for. Yet medicine and missions go hand in hand.
I normally don't live here at Pierre Payen, I have my home up at our other compound at Borel. During the last last 80 days I have stayed here at our medical compound all but 20 of those days taking care of the needs of our visiting medical teams. This time spent here though physically exhausting has brought to life a small glimpse of Jesus' work of bringing hope to the multitudes of the sick. I can feel for Jesus when I read those passages in the Bible where he was overwhelmed with requests to help and heal everyday. Last night after I had returned from a day of working at Borel and being stuck for 40 minutes in the middle of thousands of people participating in a large street parade called a Ra Ra, I was ready to call it a day. At about 9:00 pm Elizabeth Bonnell, Dr. Ric's daughter, knocked on my door and wanted to know if we had a vehicle to transport a small baby to the University of Miami Hospital in Paup. I had a choice of 2 vehicles to take either a large stake side truck or my small 4x4 truck the big truck ended up being the only choice as it had good bright lights which is a necessity when driving after dark here.
The little eleven month old was near death when she was brought here by her parents it seems she had chocked on some pureed bean sauce. Our doctors worked frantically to revive her but had pretty much given up being able to save her . Yet a few minutes after a group prayer the little girl showed signs of hanging on to life. The decision was made to transport her with a full medical support team with oxygen and IV the 1.5 hours to University Hospital. Though always dangerous to travel at night the road was clear of traffic and there was a full moon to give a better view of the road. As of this writing we don't know the fate of the little girl but before we left at 12:30 a m to go back to P.Payen she was greatly improved . Bedtime arrived at 2:30 last night for the ambulance crew. In God's love , steve
Sunday, March 28, 2010
It seems everyday is a challenge in Haiti some are enjoyable other not so much. Yesterday as has been the case for the last eleven weeks was team transfer day with team 10 leaving and team 11 coming in. Nothing different about that except for multiple flights and times for those departing, 3 to be precise and 2 coming in. The ones coming in were the challenge as they were both privately owned planes arriving an hour apart at two separate airports. These are simple things at least to me as I have become accustomed over the years and know that by days end all will have worked out.
The big challenge besides what I normally deal with was that yesterday we had to deal with working with a film crew sent here by Dan Rather Reports. They came to do a story about a 13 year old girl who was an auto/pedestrian accident victim brought to the Pierre Payen hospital the first week after the earthquake. The little girl whose name is St. Filia owes her life to the fact that the earthquake brought doctors here to our hospital that were able to administer life saving procedures. It was through their efforts and skills that she was stabilized enough to get airlifted by private plane to Fort Lauderdale, Fl. There she went through several surgeries to repair her crushed pelvis and internal organs that will allow her to walk and have children at some point in her future.
Yesterday was the final part of of her 2 month journey to return home and be reunited with her family and community. The challenge for me was to incorporate the transport of not only a very large medical team with supplies but a camera man, a producer, the pilot and his friend , a reporter, St. Filia and Lesly an American born Haitian who worked out of the Ft. Lauderdale Hospital as an EMT/fireman where she received her treatments. The 60 mile drive out to Pierre Payen was interrupted by the film truck at times behind us, other times often driving beside us and several times speeding ahead to set up a film segment as we drove through certain areas. Once we arrived out at the hospital they shot for several more hours as she was reunited for the first time in over 2 months with her family. Then we drove to the site of the accident where we found the lady who lifted her off the street after she had been hit by the bus. Finally we took her to the home of her cousin where she would being staying. Everywhere we went crowds gathered who were amazed to see her alive and able to walk on her own once again.
Finally and almost right on time as scripted we drove to Club Indigo where a private helicopter awaited to rush the film people back to the airport to fly back to the states on their privately donated plane. Oh I might also add that after the film people left I headed back to Pierre Payen got cleaned up and headed off to a wedding reception for one of my PH-H employees. Bedtime came around eleven o'clock last night.
These events that transpired yesterday may sound hectic, chaotic and exotic to many of my readers yet they have since the quake been a normal part of my life. I head home in four days for the first time in 3 months, that seems exotic to me. When God led me here eleven years ago this coming weekend, April 4th, I never dreamed I would still be here nor my life would be what it is today. Now and for possibly another 10 years Haiti will continue to be my normal life and the U.S. the exotic life of my dreams. In God's love , steve
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Team 10 arrived on Saturday from Arkansas. It is the biggest medical team we will receive and has eleven women and 3 men. If you would like to follow their week here at Pierre Payen Hospital read their daily blog at haititeam10.blogspot.com they can tell the medical story much better than I can. In God's love, Steve
Monday, March 22, 2010
Life in Haiti is unpredictable at best all we can predict is that tomorrow may be worse than today. The little girl in the picture is living in a refugee camp in Montrouis her future for now is better than it was the day after the quake. She has shelter, clothing, water and food. In Haiti it is said parents try not to get attached to their children till they reach the age of five, the years of greatest risk till adulthood. The statistics are stark in that in Haiti the average life span is 20 plus years shorter than the U.S. Yesterday certainly was a reminder of that, as we were called on in two separate situations to try and save 3 lives of young adult Haitians.
The first one was a young 20 year old who was rushed to us as a drowning accident. Six young men and their employer were out from Port Au Prince for a day at the beach. All were in the water having a good time when it was noticed that one of them could not be found. After a frantic rescue and getting the young man out of the water he was rushed to us where we tried unsuccessfully to revive him. As tragic as this was it was moving to see the real compassion in the faces of our visiting doctors as they had to tell the young mans friends that they had to stop life support for him.
Again last night about 8:30 as the team was gathered in our screened dining area playing Dominoes two young people were brought here from a serious motor scooter accident. The team rushed into action and by 2:00am had stabilized them enough for them to make it through the night. This morning as I write this they are making preparations to transport them to University Hospital in Port.
As an individual I came to serve and let God use me to make a difference. As an organization we came with the intent to bring Christian help to the people of Haiti. To make a difference in the lives of those around us. Everyday is a challenge sure some days bring sadness. Even in disappointments like yesterday it is rewarding to know that in what we do we at all times care and have love for those we are here helping. We and so many others like us offer the best and at times only hope for bringing a better future to Haiti. In God's love, steve
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Receiving the check from a friend of Dr. Tom Lee.
The Ohio State area team and the amount they
raised to buy a new vehicle.
Several weeks back we had a team here from the Columbus ,Ohio area mostly and Ohio State University. To date they had been our most culturally diverse team representing nationalities from the Philippines, China, Korea, Viet Nam and white America. One of the surgeons Dr. Tom Lee a Korean approached me about raising funds for a new vehicle. I was excited about this as one of the situations I have been dealing with at PH-H is the lack of road worthy transportation. The vehicles we have been using actually are from my GAP Ministry organization.
Whatever the reason raising funds for vehicles is not always easy for mission organizations, so I wasn't sure how successful Tom would be in this endeavor. To be effective missions need good vehicles and a wide variety to fill the different aspects of ministry work. With the high cost of fuel they need to be diesel and fuel efficient. With the rainy season approaching you need passenger vans to haul the teams the 60-90 miles to Pierre Payen or Borel, not open trucks. In the dry season they need to be air conditioned to keep out dust . To transport baggage, cargo and team supplies you need a cargo van or heavy duty truck. To go pick up building supplies for team projects you need a heavy duty dual wheel stake truck. To take teams into the mountains to visit and work at our churches you need 4X4 vehicles. There is no one vehicle that will serve all the needs of any mission especially one as large and diverse as PH-H.
Dr. Tom is a great promoter and fund raiser he raised an astounding $26,276.00 in one evenings event, that is amazing. One of my responsibilities is overseeing the management and maintenance of the PH-H vehicles which is evidently not easy by looking at the non running vehicles we now have. Yet I'm committed to enforcing strict policies overseeing vehicle use and maintenance because from my GAP ministry experience I know it can be done. We have several older vehicles that are worth repairing and we are in the process of doing that now. The money that Dr. Tom Lee raised is enough to buy one new vehicle by using our Franchise papers to avoid paying taxes.
Possibly after seeing how successful he was maybe someone else out there would like to pick up the challenge and surpass his one event record. It is my goal to purchase two new vehicles this year a 4x4 diesel 4 door pickup as well as a 15 passenger diesel mini van. My calculations show that we have by month end already had over 150 medical and work/ministry visitors for the first quarter. With medical teams going to a one week a month schedule starting in April we will easily see another 50-75 medical team visitors. We will be restarting our stm's short term missions visits in May which will probably add at least another 100-150 visitors over the last 7 months of 2010. Several of these teams will overlap and be 30 miles apart so it is easy to see the needs are not over stated when I ask for someone to step forward and help us with that second vehicle. Thanks Dr.Tom and all those who helped make this possible. It is a Haitian custom to also thank in advance when you ask someone to consider helping you, so thanks in advance for that person or persons who help us with securing that second vehicle. In God's love , Steve
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Perhaps the most impressionable moments and haunting memories for those who come to Haiti are the hundreds of tent cities in and around Port au Prince. They began to spring up within days of the Jan. 12th quake. The one in the picture was started about 3 weeks ago about 10 miles outside of port on the slopes of a small mountain range. The rumor is that the Haitian government will give land here and build houses to relocate those who lost their homes.
Though the shelters in this city are mostly tarps there are very few tents, life is tough. There is no readily available drinking water, poor sanitation, no shade and inadequate shelter from the rains that will start coming next month. This of course is the same story repeated most every time disasters hit Third World countries around the world. The news people have left to go somewhere else seeking a fresh story, eventually many of the NGO's will pull out as funding is for the Haiti relief stops and another new disaster springs up and funds and human resources go there. In the end as in the beginning the work is left in the hands of the NGO's who were on the ground before the quake. Those individuals and their organizations that have made a commitment to the Haitian people to make a difference will continue the rebuilding in the years ahead. As one of those individuals who has been committed for eleven years and also one who heads up an organization that started here in 1967 I'm looking at how Project Help-Haiti can be most most effective in the years ahead.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Search and rescue teams from Poland and Italy.
A huge U.S. military plane delivering supplies during the first few weeks of quake relief.
The large chartered 737 that brought in supplies from the Boston area for Project Help-Haiti.
GIVING A HELPING HAND
I thought this morning might be a good time to catch up with some of the pictures I would have loved to posted over the weeks but was unable to because of poor Internet capabilities at Pierre Payen. I wish I could tell every story and show every picture of the untold efforts from around the world of those who came and those who are still here helping out. The efforts will need to go on for years to come as the work of rebuilding is now starting to take shape.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The long awaited completion of the large Gazebo at the Borel campus is now completed. The 3 work teams that have been able to come to Haiti this year as scheduled were able to complete this project. The team that landed in Haiti the day of the earthquake was able to put the roof on during their 2 week stay here. Then the Eye Witness team arrived in early March and converted to a work team , they started the long and tedious job of painting. They were joined by a team from N.E. Indiana later in the week who finished off the painting . On Saturday evening March 13th we hastily put together a concert and short evangelistic outreach for the local community. It appears by the number of chairs placed under the Gazebo that we had somewhere between 150-200 people attend the first concert.
One of my objectives for the Borel campus is evangelism and leadership training. A regular schedule of concerts, Christian videos and training seminars will be important tools in attaining the goal of making disciples who make a difference. To do this requires not only teams of short term missions STM's coming for 7-10 days at a time but committed and skilled volunteer staff people who will come for 1 to 6 months to assist our in country missionaries and our Project Help-Haiti ministry leaders.
I have a tendency to observe and take note of what works and makes some missions succeed and prosper and others fail. To that end I often visit other organizations and tour their facilities and talk with their staff and leadership to see how we can implement successful ideas into what we are doing. Occasionally I have some good original ideas of my own, God inspired I hope.
Those who succeed depend on a strong team effort of people to reach and sustain their goals.
If you have never experienced a mission trip then pray and see where God may want to use you. If you have already been involved in missions then pray how God might use you in a longer commitment. This might be using your summer break if your a college student or school teacher to come help as a short term volunteer. Maybe you have retired early and feel the need to do something meaningful with your spare time come help with maintenance , teach a special skill at our technical school. Help out at our guesthouses as a host and hostess.
People and organizations often fail because they don't have enough or the the right skill levels on their team. A team that depends on one person to do it all is doomed to become ineffective at some point. I think Project Help-Haiti is off to a good start in 2010 and we are still building our team so God can use us in mightier ways. In God's love , steve
Monday, March 15, 2010
As I look back it has been a long time since my last blog post I hope I can change that now that we have been blessed with a new Internet system here at Pierre Payen. Last week was probably my busiest week since the earth quake but looking back it was very productive. We had three teams last week one was here at Pierre Payen doing the weekly medical rotation we started after the quake, the other two were were up at Borel doing construction. The medical team out of Boston brought along a very skilled software designer from Blue Socket a firm who designed and sent down enough wireless antennas and other gear to setup some really nice Internet service for both our compounds. Hopefully now I will be able to blog on a more regular schedule.
One of the things I shared with our teams the last several weeks was about our youth group which is called ACY-IM Association of Christian Youth-International Missions. This Haitian organization which is less than 4.5 months old is leading the way in refugee camps. It is maybe the only national NGO setting up a refugee camp and certainly the only one that has no one over the age of 28 in leadership. My role as founder is only in the capacity of an adviser. Diesmy Garcon the 24 year old National Director spoke on 2 separate occasions last week to my teams. At times he had them laughing and at times in tears but for sure he had them captivated by his faith in God to overcome huge obstacles that woulds be daunting even to a Word Vision or Samaritans Purse type organization. Possibly this week we will be opening a 250 person refugee camp of which at least 3/4 of the housing is semi permanent, not tents. Even more impressive we have a chapel, infirmary, kitchen, storage depot, well with pump, septic and will be offering schooling. It is quite a compliment when someone like YWAM comes calling and wants our young people to help them with a camp.