Monday, March 29, 2010

Haiti Video--latest edit

Hi all,

I made some more changes to the video, especially adding some text.   My department chair would like me to show this to the Family & Community Medicine Department meeting next week (about 60 docs)!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New video from recent Haiti trip

This is a video from our recent Haiti trip:

News item


According to a February study by the Inter-American Development Bank, the cost of physical damage from Haiti's earthquake ranges from $8 billion to $13 billion. It says, "there are few events of such ferocity as the Haiti 2010 earthquake."

The study looks at natural disasters over the past 40 years and concludes that the death toll, per capita, of Haiti's earthquake is four times, or more, higher than any other disaster in this time period. Nearly 24,000 people per million of Haiti's population died. (The total estimated death toll is well over 200,000). The closest equivalent is 4,000 per million, in the 1972 earthquake that struck Nicaragua.

The Partners In Health agency estimates some 1.3 million people were left without shelter by the earthquake. The majority of those people still do not have adequate emergency shelter nor access to potable water, food and medical attention.

According to US AID, there are approximately 600,000 displaced people living in 416 makeshift camps in Port-au-Prince. Sanitation conditions in the camps remain a grave concern. With heavy seasonal rains fast approaching, the population is extremely vulnerable to exposure and water-born disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert on March 4 about another deadly danger that lurks: malaria. It said, "Displaced persons living outdoors or in temporary shelters and thousands of emergency responders in Haiti are at substantial risk for malaria.Each year, Haiti has 30,000 confirmed cases of malaria. Officials believe the actual number is closer to 200,000.

Partners In Health says it has established clinics in five of the makeshift settlement in Port au Prince, serving some 80,000 to 100,000 people.


Two leading directors of Doctors Without Borders have called the relief effort to date "broadly insufficient." In a March 5 interview, they say that, "The lack of shelter and the hygiene conditions represent a danger not only in terms of public health, but they are also an intolerable breach of the human dignity of all these people."

They call conditions in the makeshift refugee camps where many survivors still struggle to survive "shocking" and "shameful."

Partners In Health voiced similar concerns in a March 5 press release and conference call. They called on governments and NGOs to do a better job addressing the "inhumane and rapidly deteriorating conditions on the ground in Haiti."

PIH Executive Director Ophelia Dahl, recently returned from Haiti, told the conference call, "We witnessed hundreds of thousands of people living in makeshift temporary shelters; spontaneous settlements made of scraps of cardboard and plastic bags. What little people have is soaked, because they're sleeping in the rain, and the makeshift shelters are already breaking down and dissolving. The conditions for the homeless and displaced people are absolutely inhumane and getting worse every single day."

My Blog

Monday, March 22, 2010

Article in local paper

If I had waited another 5 seconds I could have included this link in the last email.  Sorry!

This is an article that appeared in the Lebanon Daily News related to Hershey's recent response to the Haiti earthquake.

Photos from our trip

Hi all,

Here are some photos from our recent trip to Haiti.   I'm not having much success with the video just yet, so I thought I would at least send these out.

If you click on "Slideshow" the photos will play through, but you may want to change the "seconds" from 3 to something like 7; otherwise the photos may go by too fast and you won't be able to read the captions.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Chateau Deaus!!!

Some good news:   we have enough money to install 6 more Chateau Deaus in Pestel!  For those who might not know, these are 600 gallon containers that can collect water (through PVC piping) off of roofs.  
Here's a photo

Last year we installed 5, so now we're off to a really great start for 2010!!  I'd like to see us install 5 more this year.  Each Chateau Deau costs $1000 to purchase and install.  
In a land with no rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, or wells, these are life-savers in the truest sense of that word.  

The #2 reason for children dying in rural Haiti is diarrhea. 

I'm excited that we will be installing 6 more of these water collection systems in Pestel!


Hi all,

I've been trying to put together a video, but for some reason the software I'm using keeps glitching out. Grrrr.

In the meantime, I uploaded this short clip from our recent drive around Port-au-Prince. The tent villages seem to 'pop up' as you drive along:

This, of course, is just one of many many tent villages.

I'll try to send more video soon

Videos of the mud/rain camps

Here are a couple of videos from CNN

I'm encouraged to see Sean Penn getting quite passionate, and also articulate with good fore-thought on this crucial issue.  


Friday, March 19, 2010

Pray for Haitians...rains are causing flooding

This is an excerpt from the Washington Post:

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- One of the heaviest rainfalls since Haiti's Jan. 12 earthquake swamped homeless camps Friday, sweeping screaming residents into eddies of water, overflowing latrines and panicking thousands.

The overnight downpour sent water coursing down the slopes of a former golf course that now serves as a temporary home for about 45,000 people.

There were no reports of deaths in the camp, a town-size maze of blue, orange and silver tarps located behind the country club used by the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne as a forward-operating base.

But the deluge terrified families who just two months ago survived the collapse of their homes in the magnitude-7 earthquake and are now struggling to make do in tent-and-tarp camps that officials have repeatedly said must be relocated.

"I was on one side (of the tarp), the children were on the other side and I was trying to push the water out," Jackquine Exama, a 34-year-old mother of seven, said through tears.

"I'm not used to this," she said.

The link includes some photos....unreal.


My Blog

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A few thoughts from Jen

Hello everyone,

First, let me start by saying "THANK YOU" to everyone who prayed and helped on "the home front" with the kids and by taking over my responsibilities while I was away.  I truly could not have gone without your help and support.  I thought often of how my kids were faring while I was in Haiti and, though I knew they were in great hands and you were praying for them, I knew our absence was quite hard.  Micah did exceptionally well but the week was difficult for Ellie.  


I am still processing everything from the trip (something I expect to be doing for some time...) but I wanted to share a bit about how things went.  Several things went far better than expected. 

  1. Transportation in Haiti went remarkably well (this has often not been the case so we are tremendously thankful)!  I did not think it was possible for the roads in Port-au-Prince to be worse than they were on my last trip but, alas, they were.  Cracks and rubble from the earthquake took their toll on the roads and sidewalks.  The remarkable skill of our drivers compensated beautifully!  
  2. We had surprisingly comfortable beds the entire trip (although the roosters prevented sleep from 3 AM on each night...this is no exaggeration).  
  3. I was able to see all the heart patents we hosted and several of our dear friends.  I am thankful to have had much-needed time to reconnect with them.  It was tough to see how they were affected by the earthquake, especially Sisters Fidelis and Jo as they told stories of the medical relief work they did.  


Community Health Program

The things we expected to be problems were not and the things we expected to go smoothly did not...  The training for the Community Health Workers was riddled with difficulty.  Each day had more than its share of drama and interruptions from the Mayor trying to shut down the program (this was an attempt to strong-arm us into hiring his friend), to tremendous conflict with the woman who was hired to manage the program.  We had to create two separate accounts so we could funnel money slowly to make payroll each month without having everything accessible to the manager who may try to spend it with no regard for how things are set up in the budget.  While we were still in the Pestel, the manager tried to convince the bank to allow her to make an unauthorized withdrawal and we have MANY concerns about how she will do as a manager.  We are giving her one more chance and the local doctor who is overseeing the program will be keeping close tabs on her.


Some of the financial issues were ultimately ironed out in one discussion on the final day we were in Pestel.  We fully recognize God's hand in this.  


The 14 Community Health Workers who finished the program are dedicated and we think they will work nicely.  Ben returns in 2 1/2 months for his 2nd training with them.  We are so grateful for what this program means for the people of Pestel.  Not only will this boost the health of the children in the area, the grant from Variety International provides funds to pay the workers so we were able to employ 2 managers and 14 workers full-time in an area where jobs are scarce!


Coming Home

Our trip home was not a smooth one.  Due to a windstorm, JFK airport was shut down on Saturday so we were diverted to Miami for a 21-hour layover.  This was an exhausting way to end an already tiring trip.  Upon reflection, it afforded us and others some opportunities to digest and talk through what we experienced during the week.  It also gave us some valuable buffer time to escape the chaos of our trip and gain enough distance to start processing things without having our responsibilities at home start pressing in and distracting us. By enlarge our plane was filled with Haitians who were returning from visits with family or missions workers who go down with some frequency and have developed a real love for Haiti and its people.  Our 21-hour delay forced all of us to stay together.  We were able to talk with each other and I think this was therapeutic for most of us.


Over the next few weeks, I'm expecting a lot of people to ask me how my trip was.  As I go through the gamut of emotions that follow a trip like this, my responses can vary from a simple "Good and bad" to a flow of endless comments about the trip (and you'll have a hard time getting me to stop talking).  No matter my response, know that I am tremendously glad that I went.  I hope that I can find a way of remembering all that I saw and heard and really allow God to change me through this.   As you pray for us in the upcoming days, please pray for peace, that we would fix our eyes on Christ and not get too distracted by the way things "look" and that we might find solace and rest.


Monday, March 15, 2010

We're home

Hi all,


We had quite an interesting week.  Far too much drama for my liking!  But it all worked out fine in the end.  I'll try to break things down into bite-sized pieces:


Port-au-Prince.   We'll send some photos and videos along fairly soon.  Some of my observations:    when you see a tall building crumpled over it's just shocking.  Equally shocking are the big areas of people living in tents.   School yards converted into tent 'villages'.  

PAP is more complicated in some ways than it was before.   Now as we drove through there would be entire neighborhoods which appeared perfectly fine, and then wham!  by turning a street you'd see one or several buildings crushed or leaning, or half-caved in.  The shanties are still standing, which seems odd.  And then there are these big areas of people living in tents (or under pieces of plastic).  The tents are of different quality.  

It's hard to see people living in squalor.  It's hard to see them living in poverty.  But those now in tents...even what little they had has been taken from them.   


Activity in PAP is resuming as people are starting to sell again.  The streets are busy with cars and people.  It doesn't feel as crowded as usual, though.

Schools have not resumed yet to my knowledge.  

LOTS of organizations are present in Haiti.  UN.  USAID.  UNICEF.  Red Cross. etc etc etc.  You see them everywhere.


The first-hand stories are particularly potent, and hopefully Jen will share some of those with you soon.  Stories of people who survived and of those who did not survive--both are harrowing.  


The people in PAP remind me that Haitians are very strong people.  As someone mentioned to me recently, we sometimes get upset if the temperature is too cold in our house. many of them have lost family members, some have lost limbs, some have lost everything.  And yet they carry on.  



Beyond Port-au-Prince.   Flying out of PAP to Jeremie you see a lot of the same things in the countryside and in some of the smaller cities.  You see lots of tents, flattened buildings.  To me the tents mean that someone is making sure that those people's needs are being attended to, at least in part.  And that's encouraging.  

You see military ships (like an aircraft carrier!) in the harbor, and I've gotta tell you:   there must have been something very comforting to see these huge, massive vessels charging into the bay...knowing that help is on the way. 



Pestel.  More on this later, but the people are doing well.  Food distributions are occurring out there as well, and sometimes tempers rise during those distributions.   And it's more crowded in Pestel than usual.  


The health campaign is currently underway!   And I'm really very happy with the 14 workers who now have employment as a result!   Anderson worked as my translator during the whole week and he did a FANTASTIC job!   We are so very happy with his work.  He was nervous about it at first, but he really hit his stride this week.


Sisters Fidelis and Jo are doing well, though the workload remains high.  They were deeply affected by the things they witnessed after the earthquake in PAP, so please continue to pray that they have strength and peace.


We'll try to post photos/videos within the week or so.


Thank you for your prayers.  There were a whole series of chaotic events...drama...that all worked out, but caused a substantial amount of stress at times.


I'm SO thankful that Jen went out with me, on so many levels.  We'll not likely do this very often (maybe once per year, if that), but she was a great encouragement to me as well as providing good balance to decision-making.  Her observations are so wonderfully different from my own, and I'll try to see if I can get her to post some of them   :)




My Blog

Friday, March 5, 2010

Note from Ben

Ben called this evening and asked that I let everyone know that he and Jen have arrived in Haiti safely.  They had a good day of traveling with no problems.  They were able to get through Customs without incident as well!  They were able to get to the Fed Ex building JUST before it closed....15 minutes to pick up the free medicine that had been shipped from the Netherlands to Port-Au-Prince!!  They were very happy to be able to get that as the window of opportunity was very narrow!    They will be leaving for Jeremie tomorrow morning at 8:00 on a small chartered plane with many supplies.  They are hoping they are under the allotted 1000 pounds.   Then they will meet their driver who will take them out to Pestel.  Please pray for good traveling and no problems in the travels this week.  There has been a lot of rain and Ben said the roads could be in pretty rough shape.  They are staying tonight at Dani's house and Anderson is with them and will travel with them this week. 
I am sending this from an older email that I had, so I am not sure if it is an updated if you know someone who would want to know about this,  please pass it on to them!!
Martha Fredrick (Ben's Mom)