“ Ther ei sa l wa y shope, a ndIt hi nki ft her ea r eenoug hpeopl et ha tr ea l l ywa nt t odos omet hi nga boutt het r a g edi esoft hewor l d, F r . Wa s s on t he yc er t a i nl yc a ndoi t . ” -
Ha i t i
2006 –HAITI COUNTRY REPORTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. National Director’s Letter 2. Country News 3. Reports: a) Ste Helene Orphanage b) Home Correspondent/Volunteer Coordinator c) Training and Development Facilitator d) Hôpital Saint Damien – Pétionville e) Hôpital Saint Damien – Châteaublond f) Kay Christine g) Construction ●
Hôpital Saint Damien – Châteaublond
Kay Germaine – Châteaublond
4. Department of Sponsorship 5. Hospital Classroom 6. Special Events 7. Future Projects
NATIONAL DIRECTOR’S WELCOME To all our friends, When I look back three years ago, we had a dream to build a new pediatric hospital in Haiti, in order to serve the poorest children in this country. Last month, on December 4th, we inaugurated the new pediatric hospital in the presence of many donors and friends who supported us during those three years of hardship and struggle. Thanks to them and many others, this dream is now a reality! During the three years we realized many other projects such as repairing the Kenscoff road. Completion of this road will take a few years yet, but at least the project is started. This work was made possible with help from other countries. Special thanks to the French Office who sent funds to initiate this project. Another project we realized is major repairs to the Baby House. During the renovations, whenever we could, we used the same material from the old Baby House to do some of the repairs making the project less expensive. The roof of the Baby House had become infested with rats and this was becoming a serious health and safety issue for the babies. On the roof of the house we built a large area which will become office space for Sponsorship, Social Work, House Director, Accounting, National Director and Regional Director. There will also be a meeting and conference room as well as a small office equipped with internet access for the use of visitors. We are working harder with external students to help them finish their studies. Students have a difficult time in Haiti because of the violence and unrest that plagues the country, especially the capital. For example, school closed very early in December because of the kidnappings. Many students have been kidnapped and brutally murdered. Recently, a teenaged girl was killed right in front of her school. In another incident, a man told a student to go outside the school to meet her mother. As soon as the girl went outside, she was abducted. The worst case recently is the kidnapping of two young girls from the same family. Even though the parents paid a huge ransom, both girls were killed by their abductors. It is difficult for the students to establish and keep any regular school routines when such things are becoming daily occurrences. It is getting so bad that every time your phone rings, you start praying that is not another kidnapping case! Last year we took all the external students to the beach. NPH paid for this outing by using the ‘sharing fund money.’ We rented two buses to transport them and meals and accommodations were supplied. We also had a beautiful Christmas party for them in Pétionville at the old hospital site. NPH provided refreshments and at the end of the party, the students each received some money to buy a Christmas gift for themselves. Long Term Goal: We would like to build a trade school for those students who are not able to complete a classical education. Our goal is that before they reach the age of 18, these young men and women would have learned a trade to help them survive in the country and to help them towards independence 3
from NPFS (NPH). Along with the stage program held every summer, where they have a chance to work or train with a local company, we hope that this programme would provide them with the opportunities necessary to get into the business world and be able to earn their own living. Short Term Goal: Another project is to have an NPH-Haiti choir. This will become part of the school curriculum. Each child will try to learn to play at least one instrument. Many thanks to all long-term and short-term volunteers. Haiti is a real challenge for anyone who decides to volunteer here and we are grateful for your generosity and commitment given all the headaches and heartaches you see each day. A special thanks to Pat Mollaghan - chapo ba pou ou. We were indeed blest to have Pat for as long as we did, and we are all missing his contribution. However, more than his contribution we are missing him with his gentle ways and Irish sense of humour! Pat was the on-site manager of that it took to build this huge never seemed to give out as he this immense project. No one and headaches he dealt with in smallest chore done is a accomplished with the echo of owe him a great debt indeed, true friendship to NPH Haiti takes a well-deserved break in donors and friends, we now serve the poorest children of
the hospital project for all the years facility. His patience and kindness worked tirelessly and patiently on really know the daily challenges this country where even getting the formidable task, usually gun fire ringing in your ears! We for his generous commitment and and wish him Godâ€™s blessing as he Ireland! Thanks to Pat, to all our have a beautiful new hospital to Haiti.
With the help of our many benefactors and sponsors, we were able to provide each child with new footwear for the opening of the school year. New school uniforms were also purchased and it is a great sign of hope for us when we see the children lined up each day for morning prayers, proud and happy to be able to go to school. We are truly blessed to have the contribution of the Salesians Sisters. Under the capable direction of Sister Altagrace we know that the education of our children is in safe and capable hands. The commitment of the Sisters and school personnel to our children is remarkable and we are grateful to them. Thank you to all NPFS-Haiti staff for the wonderful work you are doing for our children. Many thanks also for the prayerful and financial support we receive from our many friends, benefactors, sponsors and families. May God bless you all!
Ferel Bruno National Director NPFS-Haiti 4
COUNTRY NEWS In Haiti, we are very aware that we live each day in the shadow of political instability, kidnappings, violence, robberies, and death. 2006 has been no exception as we struggled to live as normally as we could knowing that these are ever-present realities in our lives. The presidential elections in February held out great promise since René Préval was a very popular candidate, particularly among the poor. He was elected by a landslide and everyone knew it, but when ‘Day 6’ post-elections arrived and there were still no results forthcoming from the Electoral Council, all hell broke loose in the capital and we seemed to be back to square one. There were mass demonstrations everywhere, violence on the streets, kidnappings and shootings. The whole country shut down for several days causing great hardship to the people and preventing most of us from attending the annual board meetings in Honduras. Finally, when the Electoral Council feared mass revolution, it suddenly decided that Préval had been lawfully elected after all! In many ways, Préval has been a disappointment and we are not aware of any great changes since he assumed office. However, I think it is only fair to say that he took over a disastrous situation in every area and perhaps it remains next to impossible to effect change at this time. We continue to depend on the prayers of all those in the NPH family – for safety and for a return of justice, stability and peace for Haiti. At present, it is the kidnappings that hold the entire country hostage. Even as I work on this report there is a mass demonstration on the streets of Port-au-Prince as people show their rage and fury with this growing phenomenon. Almost every family has been affected in one way of another. NPH – Haiti is no exception. Employees and relatives of our employees have been kidnapped, beaten, held for ransom, and traumatized, both physically and psychologically. The faith and courage of the people of Haiti, who have been enduring this kind of situation for years on end, gives us the strength and willingness to continue to work among them. The churches are full to overflowing and the people continue to thank God for all their blessings, few though they may be! It seems they are able to get up each morning with renewed hope and face the challenges of another day – challenges which include finding enough food to feed the family, needing medicine for a sick child, carrying drinking water for afar, remaining safe, and trying to sell their wares for a few pennies in the local markets so that they can buy rice for their children. Through it all, the Haitian people remain undaunted. When asked how they are, the answer is invariably the same, “mwen byen, gras a Dye!” It is a challenge and a gift to work among them!
STE HÉLÈNE ORPHANAGE This year we were so busy at Ste Hélène that it seems time flew by faster than previous years. Most of our efforts were concentrated on making various adjustments with the different groups of children. In the case of the babies, we had to move them out of their house since we have had a big problem fighting the rats and the leaking roof. Finally, everything is fixed and the babies now have extra space in their house. We had to crowd them for several months in a smaller house, but now the problem is resolved. We also had a group of older boys and girls who finished their school at Ste Hélène and had to move to the city in order to continue higher education. For the boys who do not have any relatives, we were able to build a small house for 12 of them and one of our former young boys is responsible for this group. The girls live in Pétionville where NPFS rented a house for 8 of them. The Social Worker visits them regularly to make sure things are going well with them. The main purpose in having the young students live in the city when they are older than 18 years is to expose them to the reality of the country. We hope that they will learn to adapt to the life- style most Haitians live. This year has not been much different from other years when we talk about the problems in the country. For some reason, trouble-makers always manage to make problems. The kidnappings are out of hand and there were times when we did not send our children to do their shopping for their birthday since even young school children were being kidnapped. Despite all the insecurity in the country, we were able to celebrate our 20th anniversary the day after the inauguration of the new hospital. We were honoured to have many of our long-time, dear friends and supporters of NPH in attendance. For sure we still miss our dear Father Wasson, but it is nice to see that even now that he is gone, there are so many people still interested in continuing his mission. We have a very nice painting on ceramic representing St. Francis and Fr. Wasson passing on their message of love and peace to a small group of children. This is a beautiful gift received from NPH Mexico for our 20th anniversary! I want to thank once again all the people who were able to visit us for these special events and even though we were unable to have more relaxed visits, I think it was a nice experience for all of us in the end! Please keep up the good spirit and support for the children in all the homes of NPH. May God bless you all! Alfonso Leon 6
HOME CORRESPONDENT/VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR 2006 will be a year to remember in the life of NPH – Haiti. In the last month of the year we had the great joy of having the inauguration and dedication of our new hospital! It was truly a blessed event for us, one that we were able to share with many people who came both from the local community and from abroad. After years of dreaming about a new hospital, after months of back-breaking work, after endless delays with containers stuck in customs, numerous strikes and frequent work stoppages because of violence and unrest, all our dreams became a reality! The hospital opened – a bright, spacious, beautiful building – truly a miracle for Haiti!
Hospital Courtyard The last week of September was ‘moving week’. Everything that was not essential to the running of the Pétionville facility was sent to the new hospital. On October 1 we moved the children on two big buses. What an event that was! I accompanied them on one of the buses. It was exciting when we arrived and the parents saw the hospital for the first time! All the way on the bus they sang songs and hymns. I believe it was a way to calm their apprehensions. One hymn had a line that said, “You have assured me of your love, O Lord, why should I be afraid of what tomorrow brings?” The parents sang this hymn over and over. As we pulled up to the new hospital, some of them began to cry, others to clap! It was a touching moment! We got the children settled into their new rooms and they were soon all smiles and feeling at home!
Left: The bus arrives at the new hospital Right: Fr. Rick welcomes a little patient 7
On December 5, in conjunction with the inauguration of the hospital, we anticipated the 20th anniversary celebrations of the founding of NPH – Haiti and had a wonderful day in Kenscoff under brilliant skies and cool breezes. The children and staff hosted a grand celebration for almost 300 guests. There was a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Fr. Rick and many of his Passionist confrères, followed by a great programme of songs, poems and dance put on by the children. After Mass there was a sit-down dinner in the school courtyard which had been decorated with balloons, banners, and streamers of all kinds! In the afternoon, the guests were given tours of the various buildings by the children. The day ended with pizza and fireworks – much enjoyed by all, but especially by the children! It was a day to rejoice and give thanks to God for all the blessings and graces of the past twenty years. At 6.00 p.m. the guests headed back down the mountain carrying in their hearts beautiful memories of both celebrations! Sadly, our volunteer numbers are down in Haiti, due, in part, to the fact that prospective volunteers are fearful of coming when their local T.V. stations and newspapers show the violence that has become a way of life here. Because of the shortage, most of us are doing enough work for three people! We did welcome Geoff in October and are hopeful that two more volunteers will arrive in January. We said a sad goodbye to Pat in December. His going has left a huge void in everyone’s heart! Pat had been with us for over eight years and was the chief of construction at the new hospital – a mammoth task that he did so well and with much grace! He is enjoying a much-deserved break in Ireland. At the same time we bid farewell to Adriano and Denis who had served for a year with us. These three men did a great deal to complete the hospital in time for the inauguration on December 4. They worked under stressful conditions and often without the equipment necessary to build a facility of this size. We are all in awe at the result of their labours! Mary Devine and Sandra Mares left in early January. Both are missed, Mary by the ‘street boys’, and Sandra by the older girls in the orphanage. Laura Leon returned to Mexico in June and also left a void in Kenscoff where she had worked so well with the children. Geoff Amann We welcomed some short-term volunteers/visitors during the year. Caterina spent the summer at the orphanage helping out with the Summer Programme and Glen and Monique Maddison, a couple from Canada who are both physicians, came to work with Father Rick in the clinics. They were to return in November but had to cancel their trip due to illness in the family. In July, Conan came and worked with Fr. Rick. The Italian architects made several trips in connection with the new hospital. Kyra Abbott, from Canada, helped us out several times by accompanying children to the U.S. and to the D.R. for surgery, cancer treatment and other services not available in Haiti. Eddie Perry and his mother came and Bob Wells from the U.S. helped out for three months at the construction site. August brought Marijo from the DR as well as James and Marie Antonia from Spain. Lots of visitors/volunteers/workers came in connection with the new facility – 14 electricians from Costa Rica, Flavio and Mia from Italy, who helped to set up the equipment in the hospital kitchen, Donna Marie who painted the beautiful rose window in the hospital chapel. Mike, from Canada, builds schools in the outlying areas and he was with us for a short while in the fall. Sisters Ruth Mary and Kathy Limber were involved in staff education and Dagny Henning, Medical Director for NPHI, spent a week in Haiti visiting our various facilities. In December, Conan’s wife, Teresa, came to help with the final preparations for the inauguration. I 8
don’t know how we would have managed without her! Adele returned briefly on two occasions and helped with the preparations for the guests who came for the inauguration. Haiti is always a nicer place when Adele is here! We look forward to her return. The Home Correspondent job keeps me busier than I like and I am becoming known as the ‘late Sister Lorraine’ because it seems beyond me to ever “catch up” on the writing requirements of this job! The only reason I don’t get fired is that there is no one to take my place!
***************************** The following photos will give you a glimpse of December 4 - Inauguration Day and December 5 – 20th Anniversary of the foundation of NPH – Haiti.
Jennifer and little friends
A royal welcome in Kenscoff
Juan Guerra and a little friend
Waiting for Mass to begin
Father Phil and Father Rick
Dr. Rüthemann is welcomed 9
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR Summary of formation programme with the older children – November 2005 to June 2006. Since my return in November 2005 I have worked with two groups of our older children separately during the school year: the group of seventeen/eighteen year olds in residence at Ste Helene, and the boys in Kay Delmas. Both groups continued workshops together during vacation when the boys stayed at Ste Helene. Through workshops I have encouraging team work at all levels. The programme sought to teach life skills, time management, money management, acceptance of responsibility, accountability, honesty, trustworthiness, reliability, curbing of extravagence, etiquette, acceptable attitude, decorum, basic good manners, general behaviour, table manners and dress sense. Through dialogue and open discussion, the children debated many topics including equality, sexual issues, environment and conservation, the use of their talents and Voodoo medicine and culture. Outside activities introduced these young adults to the management of money and ways of becoming self sufficient. Outside workshops included recycling (making paper and heat blocks (a substitute for charcoal), conservation, the environment and pollution. Some of the children participated in meetings with a local group called Operation Green Leaves along with other children from schools in Furcy and Kenscoff where local teachers were in attendance. Groups helped dig drains, repair roads and fences, and plant trees. I worked with the children on a one-to-one basis and discussed problems individually as well as collectively. I have visited schools and spoken with school directors, and have assessed individual progress through reports from house parents. In small groups of five and six, our young adults spent weekends with a former Haitian employee where topical, cultural, religious and medical issues were openly discussed. During the program guest speakers were invited to give advice on career opportunities, preparation of CV’s and applying for electoral identification cards. The children have been taught basic first aid, personal hygiene, and day to day survival skills. Social events included visits to the cinema and restaurants, French theatre, a trip to the beach, and cookery workshops at Tabarre, Saint Damien in Pétionville, and Ste Helene. Foreign volunteers have invited the children to participate in cookery classes, thus introducing them to cuisine from different countries. Over the months of February, March and April I visited companies and businesses in search of new work experience opportunities for the older children. My hope is that the stage experience would be related to work the children wish to continue when they leave school. (Hopefully the employers will invite the 10
children to return to full time employment when their studies are complete). To encourage a good work ethic I have tried to seek out employment that has a disciplined structure, a strict working schedule, and is a fair employer and interested in the children. To help the children prepare for their work experience we have put together CVâ€™s and practiced interview techniques. I am convinced that a program such as this has far reaching benefits for our children and young adults. May I take this opportunity to wish all who support our mission a peaceful heart and much happiness in the New Year. Thank you for making our work here in Haiti possible.
Adele Lawler Training and Development Facilitator
HÔPITAL SAINT DAMIEN – PÉTIONVILLE 2006 will be remembered as a bitter-sweet year for all of us at NPH - Haiti! On the ‘bitter’ side, we closed the hospital in Pétionville, an old, five-story converted hotel, where, for years, we had operated far beyond the capacity for which the building was intended. Nevertheless, it was ‘home’ to us and to the parents who entrusted their children to our care. Here, in this inadequate facility, hundreds of children found healing, compassion and a new chance at life! Annually, over 20,000 children suffering from malnutrition, tuberculosis, severe burns, parasites, skin diseases, and AIDS were treated with kindness and competence. On the ‘sweet’ side, we opened Hôpital Saint Damien – Châteaublond in Tabarre, an amazing facility – spacious, bright and beautiful! The site is like an oasis in the midst of the grinding poverty that is all around! It is really a small miracle given the headaches and heartaches that any construction of this magnitude is bound to generate, especially in Haiti. There were construction glitches, strikes, unavailability of materials, endless months of waiting for containers to be released from Customs, violence in the streets of Port-au-Prince which at times, resulted in work stoppages because the workers were too afraid to leave the security of their homes. Because of the lack of heavy machinery available to us, the work was tedious, slow and back-breaking. The results are truly ‘miraculous’! Only those who worked on the site or saw it being transformed into the wonderful building that now stands on that land are able to appreciate all that went into it – the sacrifices, the hard work, the delays and, yes, sometimes even the tears! Today we are enormously proud and most grateful to God who blessed our efforts and to our generous donors who ensured the capability to go ahead even in the darkest moments. For now, the building in Pétionville is being well-used. Some of the administrative offices have remained on this site and Gena Heraty moved the day programme for handicapped children from Tabarre to the second floor of the former hospital. It is less lonely when one walks through the halls and still hears the squeals and laughter of happy children! For almost twenty tumultuous years, the excellent work of Hôpital Saint Damien was carried on in the inadequate and cramped quarters of a former hotel. We give thanks for those years of dedication and service that saw this little hospital earn a high reputation among doctors, nurses and the general public as one of the best health centers in the country. We are now ready to assume the bigger challenges facing us in Tabarre. As well as the new and more comprehensive services we will be able to provide, we hope to be able to maintain the traditions of respect, competence, generosity, and love for the poor which have become hallmarks of Hôpital Saint Damien!
Left: Alberthe in the old emergency room Right: Mme Chalot serves lunch in the old hospital 12
HÔPITAL SAINT DAMIEN – CHÂTEAUBLOND October 1, 2006 dawned a beautiful sunny day in Haiti – much like every other day. But it was not like every other day- it was not ‘business as usual’ for Hôpital Saint Damien! Today was moving day! Much of the equipment and furniture had already been moved to the new hospital in Châteaublond, but today we were moving the most precious ‘equipment’ of all – the children! After all the years of planning and hard work, moving the children would help to make Hôpital Saint Damien – Châteaublond a reality!
Sister Lorraine arrives with a precious ‘cargo’
For years, the directors of Hôpital Saint Damien – Pétionville had dreamed of an expanded facility that would better serve the needs of the families who, each morning, waited in long lines, clutching very sick children to their hearts. This facility would be more accessible to people traveling from the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. It would be equipped to perform surgeries, able to offer comprehensive pediatric cancer treatment, dental care, programmes for physiotherapy and rehabilitation, among other things. There would be a state-of-the-art lab, a good pharmacy and a modern kitchen! The land in Châteaublond was purchased in November, 2002; generous donations from Minnesota and Italy enabled the building process to begin. The continued generous donations of numerous individuals from many parts of the world enabled the construction to continue resulting in the beautiful facility we now have! It is reported that Father Wasson often used to say, “It’s surprising what you can do in a lifetime if you do it just a little at a time.” His wise words provided encouragement for us time and time again and gave us confidence to go on! Our hope is that the new hospital will have a goal of such excellence that it will be unique in all the Caribbean and become a pediatric training center for the entire region. From this . . .
To this . . .
There is still much work to be done at the new site but it is open and functioning and we are determined to make it a center of excellent health care where the poor will be welcomed, the children will be healed and burdened parents will find solace and consolation. The building, thanks to Alessandro Cecchinato and Roberto Dall’Amico, is itself a work of art. It is laid out in such a way that people who cannot read are able to find their way around in this huge facility. Sadly, this includes many of the poor who come to our doors. On entering, going right is for minor problems and going left is for major ones. Both areas are built around calming courtyards. Images mark the rooms, making it easy to direct parents to the room of their child. In the middle ages, when many people in Europe could not read, the images of art were prominent to give subtle instruction and education. We have used the same approach, and made a “chain of art” which is also a “chain of light” surround Hôpital Saint Damien. The entire property is surrounded by a six-foot security wall where paintings, done by local Haitian artists, each tell a story of their own. There is the Way of the Cross, the healing miracles of Jesus, the logo of Father Wasson’s Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, Noah’s Ark, the Mysteries of the Rosary and portraits of Padre Pio and of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Patroness of this poor and troubled country. The small St. Philomena Chapel was made entirely of handcut stones and is meant to be a beacon of light and hope amidst the harsh sufferings of the children who are brought to us. The Chapel conveys a sense of light – it is open and airy, it is made of beautiful light-coloured stone, and the ceiling, dark at the entrance, lightens to bright day over the altar of sacrifice. Above the altar is the brilliant rose window depicting time-honoured religious symbols and symbols unique to Haitian life. Inauguration Day on December 4 was a truly blessed and happy event! People came in large numbers from near and far and the joy and excitement were tangible! For those of us in Haiti, it was a great sense of accomplishment and for the guests, especially those in the NPH family, there was a feeling of pride and gratitude for the work accomplished!
THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS WILL GIVE YOU A GLIMPSE OF THE JOY AND EXCITEMENT OF THAT DAY!
Mgr. Kebreau cutting the inaugural ribbon
Father Rick receives the Papal Blessing from Mgr. Mario Giordana, Apostolic Nuncio for Haiti
Liturgical Dance at Mass in Kenscoff
Juan Guerra, Jim Hoyt and Frank Krafft with the children 15
Maria Chiara and a little friend
Dee and her godchild look happy!
Debbie visits a small patient
Father Joe, Provincial of the Passionists, and Philip Abbott
Robin with a new-found friend
Lydia and her special boy 17
KAY CHRISTINE Hello dear friends, A sunny January morning and time to write a few words to keep you updated on the last year in Kay Christine. Sunday morning, 31st Dec. we all sat around in front of our house and had a little prayer together. As I looked at all of us I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude that we were all there and we were all in pretty good health. So we start the New Year together and we pray we will all enjoy good health as we did in the last one! Any big news from 2006? We bought two pigs, some goats and two sheep and Belizaire loves taking care of them! Indeed the reason we bought them was to keep him busy and indirectly keep him from hassling the other kids which he likes to do. So Belizaire travels up and down each day to help in the garden and help take care of the animals. This is working very well and hopefully it will continue in this way during 2007. We started taking our kids to a swimming pool each Saturday. The kids LOVE it! It is a great laugh for all of us and a great treat for the kids and those of us with them. In the water the kids are so much more independent as we have nice floats for them, so they enjoy the freedom very much. A beautiful treat! Yvonne has had very few seizures this past year and this deserves a mention because her seizures were always traumatic for her and for all of us. All going well, we will celebrate Yvonne’s 30th birthday in March and I am sure those of you who know Yvonne will be very surprised to realize she is this age! For Christmas we gave her a lovely skirt and now we just have a job to get her to take it off when she needs a shower! I am not joking! Yvonne loves skirts – and when she loves something she does not want to part with it at all. Our external program moved to Pétionville, to the old hospital, and it is going well though we have lost some of our regulars who lived closer to the other location. It is always so sad to sit and speak with these mothers when they first arrive as they are really at a point of despair. I feel very lucky to be there for them and to be in a position to give them some hope. I always try very hard to instill in them a feeling that we will help them and that they are not alone. Their sad stories and their sad voices cling to my soul and often when I am back in my room in Kay Christine I allow the tears to fall as I reflect on the hardship of so many people. In December Tifle was sick and had to be in hospital for two weeks. So I got to see first hand how the new hospital works and I was very impressed. What a beautiful building and what an achievement! Thankfully Tifle recovered well and she was very warmly welcomed back to Kay Christine by all the kids and staff. It was very beautiful to see her reaction when she came back home and to hear her shrieks of delight when she saw everyone. She was the centre of attention and she was delighted! Some people are often afraid to dream – afraid to have big visions. I am not! Many years ago I dreamt that some of “my” kids would make nice cards and in this past year this dream became a reality. Katherine (from Ireland) has worked with us for one year now and she has helped my dream become a reality. We have three of our older children doing embroidery and Katherine 18
has transformed their work into beautiful cards! They are very nice and the children are very proud of their work! There is a moral in this little story about my dream. Sometimes in Haiti we get so frustrated because simple things seem to take forever to accomplish and frequently we feel as if we are banging our head off a wall. However, it is important to keep focused and to keep trying. Sometimes a dream is realized after years but it is all the more beautiful because of the effort to get it realized. And the outcome is equally important. I have many dreams for my work and with God’s help I will see them realized. For 2007 I pray we will all be healthy because this is the priority. I pray we will be safe as Haiti becomes more and more dangerous. I pray that all of you who support us will continue to do so, and that you will also enjoy good health. I pray that every day we will find something to make us laugh! God’s blessings on you all! Gena
Gena with Olsen
Katherine and Rose Therlie
HÔPITAL SAINT DAMIEN CHÂTEAUBLOND
Following the successful completion of the new school in Kenscoff, Fr. Rick decided that a new hospital was needed to replace the existing site. The old hospital was not a suitable building as it had been constructed to be a hotel and not a hospital. It was overcrowded, the rooms were small, there were many stairs, and no elevator. When a new construction was agreed upon by the NPH International Board, we set about looking for a site. After much searching one was found. We began construction of the hospital in August of 2003. What we (Gerry Needham and I) thought was going to be a one-building, two-floor hospital grew into what we have today, a huge complex housing a modern hospital with a separate Public Health Clinic, a Service Building housing the kitchen, laundry, maintenance, medical depot, hospital classroom and staff canteen. Also on site is a hand-cut stone chapel, a guest house and a public kitchen complete with bathrooms and showers for parents and visitors of the hospitalized children. All of the above ‘extras’ were usually preceded by Fr. Rick saying, “Lads, what do ye think if we . . .” and off we’d go like the seven dwarfs with our shovels and picks to start another foundation! Anybody who has been to visit the site will know that the days are hot and dusty, a great excuse to have a beer after work and it was on many of these stop-offs that you would often hear, “We’ll have to keep him out of the place. If he keeps going on like this, we’ll never get finished!'' It’s obvious today though, that Father was the visionary and even though it took a little longer to complete the project, the results are rewarding! From the beginning, the work went well, and despite the turmoil and political upheavals in the country during the almost four years of construction, we continued to work through it without any serious delays. In keeping with the philosophy of NPH, it was agreed that we would use manual labor, instead of paying wealthy machine-rental companies, to do all the digging. In this way we were putting the money into the hands of the local poor people rather than into the bank accounts of the wealthy. We were aware that by choosing to go this route, the project would take longer to complete, but we were happy to help the people of Haiti in this way. Two hundred and fifty men were employed at the height of the construction which lasted for about two years, then, as the major work was completed, we scaled back gradually as the work decreased . The project is impressive by any standards but what makes it even more impressive is that something such as this could be achieved while the country was on international TV screens for all the wrong reasons: violence, demonstrations, killings, political instability, kidnappings and taking first place in the world for poverty and corruption! Inside the security wall of the site it seemed as if you were in a different country from what we were seeing on TV. The workers were friendly with one another, kidding around, eating and chatting together. It was clear that the greatest evil any country can suffer is the grinding poverty that is a way of life in Haiti. Give people a chance to work and you see the real person! Throughout the entire time of construction, there were many adventures, some good, some not so good! But the one that remains with me is one that really confirms the phrase about ''Murphy's 20
Law''! As I was sharing the responsibility for the construction, I was asked if we could use a retired aircraft mechanic named Bob, who was willing to come and help us for three months. With all due respects, skilled labor is scarce in Haiti and as we were at the finishing stages of the building, it was exactly this kind of skilled person that we needed. Naturally I was delighted to have him come. He was a little concerned about the security issues in the country and he wrote and asked me about it. In response to his question I truthfully replied that we didn't expect to see any great problems in that area, at least nothing more than we were used to. The Presidential elections had just taken place, we expected the results to be announced any day now, and that would be it, no big deal! Everyone in the country knew who was going to win, if everything was on the square! Well, I couldn't have been more wrong! Unpopular and unbelievable election results (that were later overturned) became a flash point of mass demonstrations, roads blocked by burning tires, angry mobs taking to the streets, gunfire and black smokestacks from burning tires on every road that surrounded us! It was 9:00 in the morning. Some workers had managed to get to the construction site, but many couldn’t make it. The only thing to do was to close the site and let the workers go home while there was still a possibility for them to get home. We who have lived here for years had gotten used to this kind of thing, but to someone who had just arrived (on my advice that all was calm!) I felt uneasy to say the least! Predictably, Fr. Rick telephoned to check on our well-being and when I told him that we were practically under siege, he soon arrived with his convoy (as only he could under such circumstances!) to escort us to safety inside the walls of the existing hospital in Pétionville! Bob was a cool-headed person who smoked a pipe and just as we were about to leave the construction site for the three mile drive through the chaos on the streets of the capital, I noticed him picking up a piece of metal pipe about 24 inches long and I thought to myself, “This man is not going down without a fight!” Thankfully, we talked and detoured our way through the barricades to the safety of Pétionville without having to use Bob’s 'baton'! In 2005 the first building was opened. This was the Public Health Clinic which offers numerous services such as prenatal care, AIDS care and support, vaccination programmes, etc. This was followed by the Dental Clinic provided by Dr. Ron Pruhs and his wife, Ronnie, from Wisconsin. Supported by family and friends, Ron and Ronnie, have spearheaded the dental program for NPH in Haiti for over twelve years. They first set up a dental clinic in the orphanage in Kenscoff, and now are doing the same here in the new Hôpital Saint Damien – Châteaublond! This was followed by an extension of the existing program run by Gena Heraty in Kay Christine at the Kenscoff orphanage. This programme is a day center for Special Needs children and their parents, offering therapy and education to both the children and their parents or guardians. For this program, Gena used part of the newly-completed Guest House. Seeing the place begin to function and offer the services that Haiti's poorest of the poor are in such desperate need of, gave all of us involved in the construction a great moral boost! Finally, following discussions with Fr. Rick, Ferel, Sr. Judy, the doctors and staff, a realistic date was set for the official opening. October 1 was the date chosen for the first phase and then, two weeks later, for the second and final phase. It was agreed that December 4 would be the official inauguration date. We are happy to say that we succeeded in meeting these deadlines. Pat Mollaghan (The following photos will show you the progress of the construction) 21
After years of preparation, it comes with great pride to announce that the “Kay Germaine” project is well underway. The new physical therapy day centre will be located adjacent to the new Hôpital Saint Damien - Châteaublond in Tabarre. This facility will serve as a therapy and treatment center for handicapped children and a place of education and support for the parents. Kay Germaine will offer a wide range of treatment services including an indoor pool, therapy rooms, doctors’ consultation rooms, staff offices, etc. The project, to date, has created over 70 jobs on site and collateral jobs such as food services for the workers. The construction shall also serve as an economic booster with the purchase of locally-made and supplied building materials. Goals for the remainder of 2006 for the Kay Germaine project will include completing the foundation, concrete blockwork and ramping up materials for each stage of the project. Despite the numerous tasks associated with the huge celebrations of the inauguration of the new hospital and the 20th anniversary of the foundation of NPH in Kenscoff in early December, we have accomplished a great deal in a very short period of time and good weather has been on our side. The property has been cleared and preliminary leveling has occurred. The initial footprint for the building was defined and digging began on December 10, 2006. Approximately 1,200 cubic meters of earth have been excavated to date, and an excess of 2,000 cubic meters will have been removed upon completion of the foundation. An estimated 18,000 cement blocks will be needed to arrive at the ground floor level along with 500 cubic meters of gravel, sand, and cement. Barring unforeseen problems, overall completion is anticipated in the summer of 2008. Geoff Amann Volunteer, U.S.A.
The first trench is dug!
DEPARTMENT OF SPONSORSHIP Here in Haiti we experience many changes – often on a daily basis. Thanks be to God, our home and offices have remained safe. Every department in NPH - Haiti works very hard to make the orphanage function in the best way possible. The Sponsorship Office has a three-person team. There are two assistants who work at the orphanage in Kenscoff, Miss Guerda Norzil and Miss Michelet Myrtil. I work in the Pétionville office, which has remained at the old hospital site. Our Sponsorship Office works five days a week. We work an eight-hour day, but sometimes, emergencies add many hours to our work day. The Sponsorship Office is an intermediary between the children and their godparents. We work diligently at helping the children to remain in contact with those who have chosen to sponsor them. We help the children keep in touch through letters, postcards, photos, cards, etc. I think I can safely say that both the children and their godparents are satisfied. The job we are doing here is not always an easy one. Very often we seem to be fighting deadlines to have letters, cards, and assignments sent to the godparents in a timely fashion. Thanks to the help and understanding of the other offices, most of the time everything goes smoothly. Teamwork is important in the Sponsorship Office, not only for our own little team of three people, but also for the ‘team’ that includes all our godparents as well. Cooperation and understanding make our job easier and help us to achieve our main purpose, which is to keep the children connected with those who sponsor them so faithfully and generously throughout the year. In looking at our statistics for 2006, I think I can safely say things are working very well in our office. There are many people working for the same goal which is to assure that our children keep a strong connection with their sponsoring family. We are grateful to all the wonderful people throughout the world who chose to sponsor one of our children and who remain faithful to that commitment for many years. Thanks be to God and to each of you, our faithful sponsors! I wish you a wonderful New Year, full of blessings for each of you and for your families. Nadine Dede Rhau
HOSPITAL CLASSROOM The new hospital has a bright, spacious classroom where I continue to work with the children three days a week. This programme provides stimulation for those children who are well enough to attend classes. They are very proud and happy to come to the classroom each day because they feel they are finally able to go to “school”. I find it very sad when I ask a child on admission if they go to school and many respond, “pa gin kob pou lekòl” (there is no money to send me to school). It is heart-wrenching and it makes me want to work twice as hard to provide them with what I can during their stay in the hospital. The activities include art, music, the ABC’s, learning colours, telling time, drama, simple number facts, story time, painting, puzzles, crafts, educational games and a lot of fun! I have come to accept the fact that perhaps there is insufficient time for the children to learn much in the line of formal education, but there is plenty of time for them to learn that they are cherished, respected, and loved beyond words! It is wonderful to see them blossoming each day and growing in selfconfidence in their own ability to do the various activities. An important and added benefit is that the children realize that they are not alone in their illness. Before class begins each day, we pray for one another and for all the children in our hospital. When one of their little friends goes ‘home’ to God, it is an opportunity to talk about their own fears and apprehensions and to provide comfort and reassurance. The children learn to share and to work together. Most of all they have lots of fun, they become more and more eager to learn, and ever more ready to try things they have never experienced before! There is nothing more rewarding for me than to see a group of children laughing and happy, learning a new skill or playing a game in the hospital classroom! I love to hear their squeals of delight and to hear them shout, like children all over the world, “gade Sista!” (“look Sister!”) when they accomplish something that I absolutely have to see! I know that the children will never forget that at some point in their life, when they were in hospital, sick and lonely and a bit afraid, someone loved them very much and spent much time with them. They leave the hospital knowing, deep in their hearts, that they are much loved! So many of you have kept me well-supplied with the things needed to run the classroom. I am grateful to all of you and only wish that you could see the shining eyes of the children when I show them a new game or give them a brand-new puzzle, things sent by you! I seem to get all the joy of witnessing their utter delight when it is you who have provided so generously for them! I know I have the best-equipped classroom in all of Haiti! Thank you and God bless you, one and all! Sister Lorraine Malo, c.s.j.
SPECIAL EVENTS Everyday, life at the orphanage and hospital has a definite rhythm of school, work, prayer and play, but the year is often punctuated by a ‘special event’. In 2006, we had many such events. In January, we celebrated the 19th anniversary of the founding of NPH – Haiti. The orphanage hosted a beautiful day complete with Mass, dinner, a superb programme, and a leisurely afternoon to be with the children. February was a difficult month since Haiti held presidential elections. As expected, they were anything but peaceful and the country was once again in turmoil. For a couple of days everything was shut down, including all airports. Some of us were not able to travel to the international board meeting in Honduras and life became more difficult for the poor. On a happy note, the children celebrated Carnaval in a big way, dressing up in various costumes and having evening celebrations in the courtyard. March 23 to 26 we had important visitors from NPH – Italy. With them was a world-famous Flamenco dancer, Joaquin Cortes, who did a very successful benefit concert for NPH – Haiti in Milan the following May. Mr. Cortes is from Spain and is well-known in Europe. Journalists, photographers, agents, as well as Mariavittoria, President of the Italian Office and Maria Chiara, an Italian volunteer, traveled with Mr. Cortes. It was a world-wind tour as the visitors were anxious to visit all our NPH sites as well as the slum areas of the city. On Saturday evening we had a banquet here at the hospital to honour Mr. Cortes. It was attended by the ambassadors of Spain and France, as well as by the Italian Consul, the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince and the Papal Nuncio. It was a beautiful evening enjoyed by all!
Joaquin Cortes meets the Cuban representative 27
The summer months saw many activities taking place: ●The Summer Programme ●Graduation ●First Communion ●Staff Appreciation Day ●International Children’s Day
Three friends enjoy International Children’s Day Several Parents’ Days were held during the year. It is always a joy to see how much the children enjoy this day, but there is also some sadness for those children who literally have no one to visit them. It is difficult to see the longing and pain in the eyes of these children. In August, Shannon Taggart spent a week with us shooting the video section for Haiti. The video she produced is beautiful and will touch many hearts! At the end of the month Hurricane Ernesto paid us a visit leaving some destruction in the northern part of the country. We were grateful it was nowhere near the devastation caused by Hurricane Jeanne a couple of years ago. Gena Heraty and Father Rick attended the Boise, Idaho fund-raising event the weekend of September 8. On the thirteenth, the United Nations came with a huge donation of food, medical supplies and medications for Hôpital Saint Damien. It was to be the last big donation received at the old hospital site. December saw the event of the year as NPH – Haiti fulfilled a long-time dream. December 4 was the inauguration of the new Hôpital Saint Damien – Châteaublond in Tabarre! It was a wonderful celebration after so many months of hard work! Numerous people traveled to Haiti for the occasion despite the fact that the country was not in good shape at that time and kidnappings were at an all-time high! We were grateful for the presence of a delegation from NPHI headed by Father Phil. Many friends from the various orphanages and fund-raising offices were also present as were so many long-time friends of NPH. It was an event to remember! The following day, we celebrated (in anticipation) the 20th anniversary of the founding of NPH – Haiti. There was a great celebration in Kenscoff attended by many of the guests. All in all, 2006 has been a good year for NPH – Haiti and as always we are thankful to God and to all those who support our mission here in Haiti!
INAUGURATION CHÂTEAUBLOND – TABARRE
20TH ANNIVERSARY KENSCOFF 28
FUTURE PROJECTS During this coming year, NPH – Haiti hopes that it will be able to fulfill many plans and projects. Some of these are: ●
Full completion of the construction at the new hospital site
Completion of Kay Germaine – a day-centre for handicapped children
Completion of repairs to the Kenscoff road begun this year with the help of the French Office, Dieter Gall and the German Office
Opening of the surgery wing of the new hospital
Opening of the new physiotherapy rooms
Opening of the wing for children suffering from malnutrition and/or tuberculosis
Reorganization of emergency services
Beginning a trade school for the senior students at the orphanage
Beginning an NPH – Haiti choir
We hope all these projects, plans and dreams will help us to better serve the beautiful children of Haiti!
Published on Nov 29, 2013