Thriving Villages is a Christian organization called to demonstrate God's goodness and compassion. We work collaboratively and holistically with individuals and organizations, utilizing our gifts and skills to address issues of health, poverty, and development in rural Pestel, Haiti and beyond.
I'm off to Haiti tomorrow morning (Wed) for a quick trip (4 days), but with plenty to do! I'm really (really!) hoping that the cell phone program we're planning to use for the Anemia campaign works. Many of you will recall that I attempted to use this same program (Episurveyor) on a PDA last year, but that ended up being a failure. The PDAs were the problem.
Try and try again.
Some good news:
1. UNICEF will be supplying 3 months work of iron tablets for ALL kids in Pestel! I originally asked for enough for 1,400 kids (on the island), but Jen convinced me to go bolder and ask for enough for all kids (12,000). That adds up to something like 1 million iron tablets! Free!
2. Our church is doing a really neat fund-raiser this summer. They are giving 10 people $30 each at the beginning of the summer, and tying that in with the Parable of the Talents. By the end of the summer the 10 will have used the $30 as 'seed money' to raise funds for a Thriving Villages project: solar fruit dryers (designed by Johnny Zook). Also, a rummage sale will raise funds for Haiti as well as Japan. Very cool!!
Jen and I were working on the Anemia Campaign materials (making good progress! I think we're almost done). We talked about whether or not to give treats to the kids when they come with parents to be tested for anemia and receive iron tablets. We concluded that probably most of them would bring their kids without incentive beyond the Child Health Record and the iron therapy
But we still think the idea of providing some treat/incentive seems to be a good one. LOW cost. :)
At this point we're really just exploring the idea, and are looking for suggestions!
The idea, I think, would be to 'reward' good behavior/choices...such as
1. showing up for the campaign
2. actually improving levels of anemia (some of which can be controlled by the parent by giving the de-worming pill, the iron pill, and trying to shift foods to higher iron-rich foods, but also not all of this is within the parent's control. They may be too poor to give their kids much to eat, in which case the kid's anemia might not improve to goal).
We could provide something special to the kid(s), parent, village.
We could, for example, have a celebration for the village if they reach a certain goal.
So send your ideas!! And we'll see whether we can come up with something
I've decided to take 2 trips to Haiti in June. My first trip will be short (June 1-4), primarily to make sure the stage is set for my 2nd trip (June 11-18). There are a lot of details that I am hoping will come together on these two trips.
I'll be launching the Anemia Campaign. As part of that training, I'll be providing the workers with a new Child Carried Record that I developed for Pestel. We will assign medical record #s to each child (an entirely new effort), which is going to be no small undertaking. For those interested, we're going to use this system:
10010001 = 1 (Section 1) 001 (town of Pestel....each village within a section will be assigned a village code) 0001 (child #1)
40200100 = Section 4 Town 020 Child 100 (0100)
Neat! Now we'll see if it works :)
One key is to make sure that we don't assign the same # to two different children, so I'll be bringing down master log sheets with pre-printed medical record #s. Children are then sequentially assigned a medical record #. It all gets a bit complex, and I won't bore you with any more details.
The Child Carried Record is a small document that has places for documenting immunizations, Vitamin A & Albendazole, anemia results, and malnutrition level. The idea is that the record can be updated by ANYONE who is providing care to a child throughout Pestel. This will help to make sure kids are not receiving two doses of a medication in a short time-frame, for example. And also it helps health workers know which child has already received immunizations, for example. Currently, this does not exist throughout Pestel.
Also, it allows us to start tracking data better. If we can get the cell phone application to work, then the workers will start entering the data into the cell phone-->transmit the data directly to the US. No more tedious and time-consuming data entry by us!!! The workers can also type in the child's medical record # as part of the data collection so that the data can be tracked to each child.
We haven't been able to do that to this point.
I recognize this isn't going to be EXCITING!!! news for most readers :) but it is an important, detailed step forward for health in Pestel. One that is both a bit daunting as well as vital.
Another bit of good news: I just learned that Miriam Frederick's organization was able to raise funds to help provide a diesel truck for Dr. Seneque!! His truck died several months ago. Thanks Miriam!!!
We (Jen, myself, Micah and Ellie) have spent the last several days in Chicago at the Variety International annual meeting, and we've had a really good time. The people in Variety are really welcoming and great encouragers!
I gave a presentation yesterday to the International Children's Fund Committee, the group that oversees the project funding. I think that went well. I received some good feedback. Quite surprisingly, during my presentation a series of questions from the group led to a very strong sentiment among the group that they want to fund-raise to drill wells in Pestel!
This is of course on my wish list ever since our trip in March when Dr. John Lane determined that there is water under them hills. And lots of it. But folks, this might become a reality much sooner than anyone anticipated.
I made it clear to them: establishing wells throughout Pestel is a game-changer for them. No doubts about it. In the household surveys that I have analyzed so far, the average hike for water is 2 hours.
You know what happens during the dry seasons: they hike even further out of necessity. You have to water to live.
The #2 cause of child death in places like Pestel? Preventable. Treatable. Unbelievable.
Kids should NOT die from diarrhea. That is simply unconscionable. And now that we know there is water to be had through well drilling
What is also astounding in my mind is that over the past 6 months I have been in contact with three experts in water who have expressed interest in working on this issue. Most recently when I spoke at the Moneghan Presbyterian Church I met Bruce Juergens who has offered to use his expertise in water engineering to develop a plan as to how we should approach this issue and many of the considerations.
None of this is an accident. And none of this is simply good luck.
This should be recognized as the hand of God releasing good gifts at the right time, and in turn people respond, some knowingly and some unknowingly, to His prompting.
We will see Thriving Villages in Pestel as a demonstration of God's goodness and compassion.