Nos Petits FrĂ¨res et Soeurs Haiti
In Memory January 12, 2010 Over 220,000 are believed to have died and it is estimated as many as 300,000 were injured
Saint Leger Marcelene
one of the deadliest natural disasters
in modern history.
Mr et Mme Guy Blanchette
Soeur Irene Baptiste
Mgr. Joseph Serge Miot
Lundy Maxdax Davensky
St. Louis Louisena
making the Haiti Earthquake
“The drive of the Haitian people to push ahead in the face of so much sorrow and in front of obstacles which are so insurmountable, to still try. It’s absolutely unbelievable.” Fr. Rick Frechette, CP
Cover: Nurse, Junette and patient Alzia, 8-years-old.
St. Damien Pediatric Hospital
grateful to be admitted
Madame Rosana, a mother of three sons, lost the father of her children in the earthquake. She then made the journey to the capital to find treatment for her son Rubens, who lost his right hand and whose left hand was badly injured. Before they arrived at St. Damien’s, they went to the public hospital but were denied treatment. “I try to be supportive of my son as much as I can. I try to give him hope, but at the same time, I know that my wishes are far from reality. We were living on my husband’s income. He was maintaining our family. At the moment, we depend completely on the help of our neighbors and NGOs. Everyday I think about how we will live and what I should do. I am so afraid that my son will lose his left hand, too. He wonders if one day he will be able to write again. He misses going to school.” After treatment, Rubens was discharged but he has weekly appointments to change the wound dressing, refill his medication and receive food. The Social Work Department at St. Damien’s continues to dialogue with patients when they attend their regular appointments. In this way, St. Damien’s continues fostering relationships with families, offering support and services, such as therapy at the St. Germaine Rehabilitation Center.
“The unbelievable strength, hope and trust of our patients were what kept me going,” says Jan Weber, NPHI Medical Services. “Especially the children who seemed to have no doubt in us.”
Rubens and his physical therapist, Norma Lopez.
Johanne fights through a coma As a result of the earthquake, Johanne, age nine, had a severe brain injury as a result of the earthquake that left her as good as dead. The doctors assured us there was little hope, but Johanne had people urging her to come out of her semi-coma state. Her faithful mother and grandmother never left her side while she was treated at St. Damien’s. The therapy team of the St. Germaine programs worked with Johanne everyday. Other mothers in the hospital were wishing, praying and hoping for Johanne to wake up. Her family had amazing courage and determination to keep on hoping.
“The kids are very happy at therapy because coming here puts value on their lives,” says Gena Heraty, Director of the Special Needs Program. “It means that their parents take the time to dress that child up and makes the effort to bring them so that means they are
Johanne still has a long way to go, but the important thing is that through our programs, she will have very good care and will be given every opportunity to improve. Her mother brings her to therapy two to three times a week at our rehab center.
worth something to somebody.”
Johanne is a beacon of hope for all of us. She suffered so much, but she is a fighter. She, like the Haitian people, are not going to give up without a fight; luckily for her, she has a host of people around to help.
St. Damien Pediatric Hospital St. Philomena Rehydration Center
Nathalie peer-recommendation that saved a life Nathalie fell ill at her home, convulsing with pain and shock as she experienced an enormous amount of fluid loss in just a couple of hours. It was not the first time she had been ill. Previously, she had been diagnosed with a form of anemia so severe that she was unable to attend school. The anemia also disfigured her so that her abdomen and legs were largely swollen with fluid. As a result of the disfigurement, her parents concluded that their daughter had been afflicted with a voodoo curse. When her cholera symptoms commenced, Nathalie’s parents assumed that the next part of the curse had commenced. “They kept me at home and spent the whole night praying for me,” Nathalie explains. “But the next day, I was even worse. I felt so horrible. And then my neighbor came to me and told me that she had been sick, too, and had gone to the St. Philomena Rehydration Center in Tabarre. We talked more, and I realized I was one of the 10 people in my neighborhood who had gotten infected with this critical epidemic they call cholera.” The neighbor’s visit convinced Nathalie’s parents to bring her to St. Philomena. On Tuesday morning at 10:15 a.m., she entered the center very sad and scared, thinking she was going to die. “I felt so sick,” she says. “I was ready to give up and say goodbye to my family that I loved so much. My eyes were filled with a river of tears, and I was talking to myself. I said, ‘Nathalie, it’s over. Everything’s over.’
“Cholera is a terrible terrible sickness, and it’s hard to see it everyday,” says Wynn Walent, Assistant National Director. “We’re seeing it as something we have to make sustainable and a service that we will have to provide for a long time; and that’s definitely going to be really expensive. We will really need help and support financially to be able to continue to do what
She takes a pause. “But it wasn’t true.”
we’re doing. The support is needed,
Nathalie explains: “The doctors and nurses rushed to take me off the pickup truck that I was in and carried me into the tent. They took perfect care of me. All the medicine I needed, they gave me.”
appreciated and is literally saving
Four days later, Nathalie sits up in her chair, dressed in an immaculate blue T-shirt and striped skirt, and smiles. “I feel good,” she says, “and I am ready to go home. I don’t know how to estimate my joyfulness and how much thanks I should give to every single person who worked to help NPH be what it is today. Because the NPH today is able to serve all the poor Haitians in the country. I thank everyone for their support–the doctors, nurses, and the volunteers, as well as the donors and everyone who manages the organization. They saved my life.”
1,771 Cholera patients treated in 2010.
St. Damien Pediatric Hospital Maternity and Neonatology
helping to heal Haiti
3,893 Maternity patients treated in 2010
Richard (Richie) is NPFS’s first medical student, currently in his sixth and final year of classes at Haiti’s University of Notre Dame. At the age of 26, Richie has been with NPFS for the last 15 years. He entered St. Helene at the age of 11, and excelled as a student in Kenscoff’s on-site schooling. Moving into secondary school, Richie finished his senior year and after successfully passing the baccalaureate, he made a decision that would set a precedent for the possibilities of life at NPFS.
“After the destruction of a number of hospitals in the earthquake almost one year ago, we had the privilege to try to offer mothers in Port au Prince a safe place to have their babies,” says Fr. Rick Frechette, CP. “Now, every day in our
“I had always wanted to be a doctor,” he explains, sitting back in his scrubs at the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital where he currently lives. “My father left when I was little, so I spent my childhood with my mom and my aunt. When I was eight years old, my aunt became very sick.” Healthcare in the rural areas of Haiti was hard to come by, and in Richie’s home village of Jacmel, finding care for his aunt proved difficult. “At eight years old, your world is still very small,” Richie explains. “You don’t know concepts like health discrepancies, brain drain, inequity. I was young, but there I was, telling my aunt to fight and be strong. She passed away and then my mom died when I was 11, also due to lack of medical care. After that, all I could see was how many people were in that exact same situation: sick with no one able to help them.” When Richie was accepted at Haiti’s University of Notre Dame, a medical school with a 10 percent acceptance rate, he was able to start fulfilling the promise he made so many years ago. When the earthquake hit in January, Richie immediately jumped from medical student to volunteer doctor, arriving at the hospital to assist wherever he was needed. He provided invaluable support in the emergency room, external mobile clinics, neonatology and maternity. He did this all while continuing his school work at the university. “It’s very important for me to be a Haitian doctor in Haiti and it’s also important that I show the other children the possibilities that await them at NPFS,” he says. “I want to open the door for them and make it so my country, at long last, can begin to heal.”
hospital, we hear the cry of pain of the mother giving birth. It is a cry that gives way to a second one, the cry of the baby boldly announcing his or her presence
250 Neonatalogy patients treated in 2010
St. Damien Pediatric Hospital Cancer Ward
St. Damien’s cancer program began in
Amanda grateful beyond words
2005, initially treating nephroblastoma,
Amanda, a 13-year-old is currently receiving treatment for osteosarcoma in St. Damien’s nine-bed cancer unit. For her birthday this year, Amanda was serenaded on guitar and saxophone by NPFS staff, as well as famed Italian singer Paola Turci, who was visiting the hospital. Amanda’s particular case was diagnosed by using a lab outside of Haiti. One of the biggest obstacles has been the lack of skilled pathologists within Haiti; the entire country only has three pathology centers and there are often mistakes in diagnosis. Due to this, St. Damien’s cross-checks all pathological reports in the US, collaborating with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Improving in-country diagnosis is one of the factors Dr. Heurtelou, the Haitian pediatrician who runs the program, is focusing on as she works to expand the current services available. “The goal is to have a comprehensive hematoncology/pathology center,” Dr. Heurtelou, who spent 10 years of her medical training in Cuba, explains. “We also want to expand the amount of cancers and hematological disorders treated here,” she says, adding the latter in reference to St. Damien’s treatment of sickle cell disease and hemophilia. In order to achieve this goal, Dr. Heurtelou is working with St. Jude to develop a training program for local staff and increase the flow of resources into Haiti. As with all services provided by St. Damien’s Hospital, treatment is, and will continue to be, free of charge. To Amanda’s mother, a widow who lost her home and employment in the earthquake, this provides no end of relief. As she watched the nurses bring Amanda her birthday cake, she clapped her hands in time with the music and smiled at her daughter. “Mesi anpil. Thank you very much,” she says quietly as her daughter cuts the first slice. “Pou tout. For everything.”
hepatoblastoma, retinoblastoma and Burkitt’s lymphoma–all solid tumor diseases. In 2010, the program expanded to treat osteosarcoma, lymphoma and LLA leukemia, as well as Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Currently the center treats 25 patients a month and has a staff of two doctors, five nurses and two assistants.
St. Damien Pediatric Hospital
Sister Judy it took more than two broken ribs to slow this nun down
When the earth shook, Sister Judy watched as her entire town crumbled to the ground. She had lived in Fondwa, a poverty-stricken hamlet 45 minutes out of Port-au-Prince, for three years. Now her house, and that town, had perished into dust. “You do what you have to do in those situations,” she says. There were no beds, no blankets, no anything, so she and the rest of the all Haitian community spent the night huddled together on the road, sleeping body-to-body. Sister remembers a baby crying throughout the night–not out of fear but hunger. The quake struck at 4:57 p.m., and all the food supplies were destroyed. Hardships were nothing new in the life Sister had chosen. As a nun, she served 11 years working with migrant Haitian farmworkers in the unincorporated town of Immokalee in western Florida. As a clinical nurse with a master’s degree in clinical psychology, she worked with the chronically mentally ill in a community hospital in Ohio. She came to Haiti eight years ago, after a friend introduced her to Father Rick Frechette. Together, they worked in some of the poorest (and most dangerous) slums on earth, providing healthcare for the voiceless. “I wanted to be with people who had no safety net, no anything,” she says. “People who knew that the government wasn’t coming to save them.” She dreamed big and ambitiously, starting the first pediatric cancer program at St. Damien’s after a little boy presenting with lymphoma approached the hospital as a last resort. For children with holes in their hearts and other cardiac maladies, she started collaborating with Rotary International’s Gift of Life program, sending Haitian children to the United States for life-saving surgery. “It’s Haiti,” she often says. “No other hospital looks like us, and it’s for a reason. What we believe we can do far surpasses most people’s perceptions of what is possible in a developing country.” When the earthquake struck, St. Damien’s became a trauma center, with sick patients lying in the beds, the lawns, and anywhere a cot could fit. On a telephone call to Fondwa, Father Rick asked
Sister Judy to come back to Port-au-Prince and serve as the hospital administrator, knowing that if anyone would be able to retain a sense of stability and focus to the hospital, it would be Sister. When cholera struck, she brought those same leadership skills and established an efficient and remarkable pediatric cholera center. Sister Judy developed her staff to be some of the most highly skilled in Haiti; her chief oncologist has weekly video conference calls to discuss treatment and diagnosis for oncology patients with St. Jude’s cancer center. It has been a long journey, and on the anniversary of the quake, Sister Judy reflects on the past year. She thinks back to that night in Fondwa, in the town she had moved to in 2007 to serve the rural poor. “The earth shook the whole night,” she says. “The entire mountainside across the ravine had slid off, and we didn’t know if we would be next. We were so terrified. We prayed the whole night, for life, for survival.” As the sun rose over the mountains, Sister did what she has done time and time again in her life. Her ribs were broken, but she would deal with those later. She checked to make sure that those around her were OK, and cared for, and then she called Father Rick. “Yes, I’m OK,” she told him. “How can I help those who are not?”
Fr. Wasson Angels of Light St. Louis Child Protection Camp
Danny big brother “My mom, she left me at St. Damien’s, the old hospital, in Petionville,” Danny explains. “I was little. I had a broken arm, and she brought me in. And then she was gone.”
Parents who fear they cannot care for their children will often use hospitals as “safe houses” to leave their kids in the hands of people they hope can provide them with a better life. Danny was treated for his arm, and after coordination with the Social Work Office, he was brought to St. Helene, the orphanage, in Kenscoff.
By the end of 2010, 160 children are living at the St. Anne Baby house and St. Louis Child Protection Camp
“I spent 15 years at St. Helene,” Danny, 22 explains. “And I just remember how wonderful the trees and the sun were up in the mountains.” He went on to train as an electrician and was hired by NPH to work in the Kay St. Germaine Rehabilitation Center in 2008. His work was noticed, and when the earthquake hit, Danny was asked by Alfonso Leon, Director of Family Services, to join the Fr. Wasson Angels of Light team. Now at the St. Louis Child Protection Camp, home to children between the ages of 6-14, Danny serves as a houseparent to the 11-to-12 year-old boys. “That’s a tough age, no question,” Danny grins, “but I love them.” He spends the entire day with the kids, going from school to sports to dance class. It’s hard work since all of these children have suffered severe trauma and hardship, but Danny does it with an effortlessness that makes the work seem continuously fun and never a burden.
Children were taken in as a result of the earthquake
Saint Anne ::: A rented temporary home for more than 40 children, six years old and younger. The future site of this home will be located in Tabarre, near St. Damien Hospital.
Saint Louis ::: Temporary child protection camp for over 120 vulnerable and displaced children. The camp is constructed out of shipping containers and is located in Tabarre. Capacity of the camp will be 350.
Saint Helene Foyer ::: Located in the mountains of Kenscoff (elevation 6,000 feet), St. Helene is a permanent home to 382 children. More than 400 external students from the community attend the on-site school. Kay “House” Christine is located inside St. Helene and is home to more than 30 children with special needs.
80+ Big brothers and sisters, youths that grew up at St. Helene, are now employeed with the Fr. Wasson Angels of Light program.
St. Louis Child Protection Camp and FWAL School.
Fr. Wasson Angels of Light School
it’s scary when your life depends on bananas
Fifteen-year-old Nolaise remembers watching her aunt return home from the market, her head piled high with the yellow fruits. “If she hadn’t sold enough, we knew we wouldn’t be able to eat,” she says softly. “Sundays in Haiti, people always buy bananas. But the other days....” She trails off. “Sometimes it would be a couple days before we had money to by food.”
“I walk everyday over an hour to get to the FWAL school, and the traffic makes the journey very dangerous. One time a car banged into my leg. I love the school here because it has everything. Where I live it is not even a home, only a bed. The owners of the house don’t give me food, so the only time I eat is when I’m at school.” Elsie, age 15.
Nolaise is one of the approximately 740 external students at Father Wasson Angels of Light. The school commenced October 4th and runs on a campus adjacent to the St. Louis Child Protection Camp in Tabarre. The school serves children living at the St. Louis and St. Anne homes and also provides free schooling for low-income students in the surrounding area. For some students, the school is a continuation of studies that were disrupted or halted by the earthquake. For Nolaise, it is, “the first year of school in my life.” She grins and starts to speak animatedly. “After my parents died, I went to live with my grandmother; I was in Jeremie,” she says, naming a village in one of the most southern parts of Haiti that is an eight-hour drive from the capital. “My grandmother got too old to care for me,” she adds. “She sent me to live with my aunt in Port-au-Prince, in a three-room house with nine other children. Both here and in Jeremie, there was very little money. I never started school.” Nolaise looks around the school grounds, still smiling. “Here I am so happy! I am so happy,” she repeats, “for the school I am in! I am able to learn new things here, and I know that by being here I am guaranteed to eat at least one meal a day.” Nolaise has had to start school in the equivalent to first grade, but it doesn’t phase the 15-year-old one bit. “I have hope!” she proclaims. “And I know now that I will be someone in the future.”
“I really love it here because I am with all my friends. After the earthquake, I didn’t think I would be able to keep going to school anymore, but then one of the girls where I live told me about this school. They feed me here, and the classes are very interesting.” Islande, age 13.
Fr. Wasson Angels of Light St. Louis Child Protection Camp
Mirlanda and the sliding earth Mirlanda was born in Port-Au-Prince, three blocks from the National Palace. Her father died when she was young, and her mother abandoned her to go to the Domincan Republic when she was 10 years old. She was sent to live with a family friend. When the earthquake occurred, the house sustained little damage, but the head of the house kicked her out, telling her that she could not care for her anymore. Mirlanda found herself alone in the largest tent city in Port-Au-Prince, located on the Petionville Golf Club. But a tent city was no place for a 13-year-old girl to be living alone. “With the continuing reports of gender-based violence at the camps, we knew we couldn’t leave her there,” explains an associate of FWAL. Kerline, the FWAL social worker investigated and found out that pre-earthquake, Mirlanda was living in a house with eight other children, sleeping on the floor while others were sleeping in beds. She was made to work constantly, sometimes being forced to carry more than 100 pounds of food on her head. When she refused, or said she felt sick, she was beaten. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the police immediatley authorized FWAL to take Miranda into protective care. Once at FWAL, Mirlanda was placed in the St. Anne home which is normally reserved for the younger children, so she would be in an environment to heal. Miranda took very well to St. Anne, taking on the roll of big sister to the 40 toddlers and young children. Miranda has been described as “someone who makes every day a little bit brighter.” “Haiti is a terre glisser,” she explains, using the French expression that literally means “sliding earth” and is used to connote a place that is unstable. She smiles. “But here I feel safe. And I want to stay here for a long, long time.”
“The children that come to us are very happy because most of their life it’s been in very difficult situations,” says Alfonso Leon, Director of FWAL. “ They realize that here with us they have the protection of the adults, the friendship of the other children and an environment that will create some kind of security for them.”
Fr. Wasson Angels of Light St. Anne Baby House
a neighbor saves two sisters
There was something wrong going on next door. Marie didn’t know exactly what, but she knew the three-year-old next door was in serious trouble. She had heard the noises, yelling and the silences afterwards. She saw in the face of the gaunt girl the remnants of her own child. In the past, Marie’s son had suffered from malnutrition and had been brought to the Kay au Bois malnutrition clinic at St. Luke’s. “When I saw her eyes, her cheekbones, it was the same as my son’s,” Marie explains. “I knew she needed help.” Marie approached Judeland’s father and insisted that she be allowed to take the girl to Kay au Bois. The father agreed without hesitation; he had divorced Judeland’s mother and was living with his new wife, a woman who had not been accepting of his child from his previous marriage. Judeland’s father explained that his daughter had been subjected to both physical abuse and the withholding of food as punishment. When Marie and Judeland reached Tabarre, Marie relayed the whole story to the St. Luke staff and expressed the absolute necessity of not returning the child to her current home. The St. Luke staff immediately contacted the Fr. Wasson Angels of Light program. The Social Services staff started an investigation and were horrified by what they found. “There was serious abuse going on,” explains Kerline, the FWAL social worker. “Judeland’s stepmother was mentally incapacitated and unable to care for her child, and so Judeland ended up in a situation that was completely unacceptable. We also made the decision to remove Judeland’s six-year-old sister, Celiane, from the situation. We had to protect them.” The FWAL team then proceeded to file the necessary paperwork and begin the procedures to bring Judeland and Celiane into St. Anne, FWAL’s home for children younger than six years of age. “They both blossomed wonderfully,” says Sister Kathleen Nealon, the play therapist of the house. “We are thrilled that they have been able to come from such a traumatic place and begin life anew with us.”
Kerline big sister Kerline first joined NPFS as a six-year-old child at the St. Helene orphanage in the mountains of Kenscoff. Preforming well in school with a special affinity for working with children, she became an employee of NPFS upon graduating from high school and then went to work as a teacher in the St. Luke street schools with the often troubled pre-teen and teenage groups. Fluent in French, English, Spanish, and Kreyol, she was recruited to join the FWAL team after the January 12th earthquake. As a social worker for the Father Wasson Angels of Light (FWAL) earthquake response program, Kerline had a busy morning sorting through the files of the more than 700 children that the FWAL school serves. “The children here,” she explains, “marginalized to the most minute outskirts of society, can feel like they aren’t anything, and we have to change that.” “It’s definitely a difficult job,” Kerline says of the work that often requires doing intake for children who have had long histories of abuse and abandonment. “But even the hard parts, they end up teaching you so much. As a social worker, being able to find a solution to each child’s problems always feels like such a success. It is an amazing feeling to know that you’re going in every day to work and help the poorest of the poor.”
St. Luke Foundation
Esther fulfills a life dream Esther grew up at the St. Helene home in Kenscoff. She came to NPH with her younger sister when she was 12 years old, after her very ill parents were no longer able to care for them. She can’t remember a time in her life that she didn’t sing, as music has always been her true passion and gift. When Esther came to St. Helene, many realized her special passion and talent for music and Fr. Rick Frechette often took her to sing at masses, burials for the dead and to special events. Following the earthquake, Esther started singing for the children in the newly formed Fr. Wasson Angels of Light program. They went out into the tent cities and organized activities, arts and crafts, music and a meal for the children, bringing a sense of hope and encouragement to all those who survived the horrific earthquake. Nine months after the earthquake’s devastation, Fr. Rick organized a spiritual pilgrimage to Italy for the hard working Haitians who had worked around-the-clock. The highlight of the trip was attending a concert by Andrea Bocceli at the Milan cathedral. This was the first time in the 700-year history of the Duomo that a fundraising concert was ever performed. Fondazione Francesca Rava - NPH Italy was the only beneficiary of the proceeds which went to the two new homes in Haiti, St. Anne and St. Louis. Mr. Bocceli donated the concert and did not receive any money for his performance. Esther was given the opportunity of a lifetime as she gracefully and confidently walked across the stage in one of the largest and most beautiful cathedrals in the world. Esther sang a song she wrote herself: “God never gives sorrows without help and He has something for the orphans of the world, this angel, Fr. Wasson. He did not die; in our hearts, he will remain for always.” “All my thoughts were only for Haiti, its people, its rebirth, reconstruction and its new beginnings,” Esther says. For Esther, she sang her version of The Impossible Dream. For all those who have so generously and lovingly dedicated their time, talents and treasure to the children of NPH, you have also achieved an impossible dream. Esther’s deepest desire is to study music, learn to play the guitar and give back to NPH and Fr. Rick for the physical, emotional and spiritual security she received. Currently Esther works for the St. Luke Foundation, an affiliation of NPFS Haiti.
St. Germaine Rehabilitation Center
Veronica determination and joy Veronica was two years old when the earthquake struck. Her 12-year-old sister felt the ground trembling and rushed to cover the tiny toddler. When the shaking was over, the older girl’s breathing came to a halt. Veronica, cocooned in the enclosure of her sister’s body, was still alive. Her father rushed to grab her and ran toward the Doctors Without Borders field hospital. Tests showed that the girl’s leg would have to be amputated immediately.
“I think the people who worked in our programs and died, they’re
“I felt so alone,” Veronica’s father recalls. “My wife had also been killed in the earthquake, and to have her and my daughter gone while I was watching my other daughter get her leg cut off was unbearable. I begged for mercy, and I begged for strength.” Veronica was transferred from the field hospital to the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, and it was there that she met St. Germaine Director, Gena Heraty and psychotherapist, Norma Lopez. Due to the fact that Veronica would be staying as an inpatient at St. Damien’s to insure proper healing of her leg, they commenced therapy with her immediately.
part of us and as long as we’re here, our lives were enriched because of their lives,” says Gena Heraty, Director of Special Needs Programs. “We keep going on. but we’re very much aware of what we lost.”
“She expressed an enormous amount of both physical and emotional pain, and rejected all forms of physical contact,” Norma explained. “But we started with slow, minimal movements and she started to steadily improve. Veronica’s dad was a wonderful father; he was by his daughter all the time, and always encouraged her on her path to recovery.” Veronica was soon discharged from St. Damien’s in stable condition. Her right leg was very weak, and she could not put weight on it without the aid of crutches. She was given a brace, and after a few months was fitted with a prosthesis. Finally in October 2010, Veronica was able to take her first steps alone. Today, Veronica can run and freely gives out hugs to those who help her, and engages her classmates and teachers without hesitation. Her metamorphosis, and the strength and resilience of her father, gives hope and promise for the years to come. Veronica’s father has been employed as a teacher in the NPFS St. Germaine Special Needs School.
“There’s a Psalm that says, ‘The Lord hears the cry of the poor,’” says volunteer Sister Lorraine Malo. “Sometimes I’m saying, ‘Where are You, and why aren’t You hearing it?’ Then right away I want to take it back. Because for me, God is with the people in their very courage to keep going every day.”
Number of children and adults per program who have received assistance in 2010.
St. Luke Foundation Malnutrition Center
Kethlene “How many times a day do your children eat?” “Three to four times a week.” Kethlene blinks and her eyes are wet. “I live by myself. I am on my own with four children and as hard as I try, I can’t feed them every day. I work as a cleaning lady when I can, doing laundry, but most of the time I can’t find work. If I do, I use the little bit of money I get to buy a tiny bit of food and make my children a small meal.” Kethlene arrived at the malnutrition clinic this morning with her four-year-old son, Richard. He was weak and sleepy, speaking in a voice barely audible. Suffering from a form of malnutrition called Kwashiokor Marasme, Richard was admitted into Kay au Bois, St. Luke’s malnutrition program. The program, which started two years ago, combats the massive malnutrition in Haiti. Before the earthquake, 17,500 children under the age of five were reported to be acutely malnourished. After January 12th, that number skyrocketed. At Kay au Bois, patients have a weekly appointment for a consultation and receive food packages to feed their children for six weeks. It is a lifesaver for children such as Richard. Before the earthquake, Richard lived high up in the mountains with his uncle, because his mother had no money to support him. But his uncle’s death postearthquake meant that his mother had to take him back into the family, even with the knowledge that she would not be able to give him proper shelter or food. She finally came to St. Damien’s when Richard’s starved appearance convinced her that they needed to seek medical help. When asked why she chose the hospital, given the three hour distance from her home to Tabarre, she pauses to consider the question, and gives a slight smile. “St. Damien’s is one of the best hospitals in the country,” she says. “It’s not just about the illness-they care about the human being.” Her smile becomes a bit wider. “Basically, they care for your child like it was one of their own.”
St Helene Residents St. Helene Staff St Helene External Students Don Bosco Program Don Bosco Staff
382 150 408 255 30
Family assitance St Anne Baby House St Louis Child Protection Camp FWAL Schools FWALStaff FWAL Loan Program St Damien St. Damien Staff St. Philomena Cholera Hospital St. Philomena staff
92 41 118 2,500 187 114 30,000 356 1,771 94
Maternity and neonatology programs Public Health Programs HIV clinic in Public Health Programs St. Germaine St. Germaine Staff St. Eliane Sub-total
4,143 20,000 800 200 63 61,704
St Luke Foundation Programs In- Programs
St Luke Foundation Staff Francisville Staff Sub-total GRAND TOTAL
700 37 1,108,237 1,169,941
Erin’s story On January 12, 2010 a little after 4:30 p.m., I returned home to the Father Wasson Center in Petionville, Haiti where I lived and jumped in the shower in my fifth-floor room. This timing was important because bathing is essential in order to wash off the sweat and grime of Haiti before bedtime. At 4:53 pm, as I was toweling off, so fresh and so clean, our building started to tremble ever so slightly. I chuckled at first imaging a large dump truck hitting the building or something else more feasible than an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0. As a foreigner in the country, I was prepared to be wary of kidnappers, gang violence, thieves and hurricanes, but earthquakes were not on my “beware list.” Soon, though, the rumbling grew more intense and my brain comprehended what was happening. I immediately braced myself in the doorway of the bathroom but it was no match for a 7.0; within seconds, I was thrown to the ground by walls that had come to life. When the building finally settled, my arms and head were pinned down by concrete slabs. Miraculously, the door to my bedroom fell on top of me like a tent protecting my torso and legs from immediate crush injuries and any further falling debris. My first thought was, “This is it, I am dying.” It took me a moment, but I realized that I wasn’t bleeding and I was breathing. I decided I could survive for three days without water. I also knew without a doubt that my friends, family really, who worked for Fr. Rick Frechette and NPFS would be searching for those of us as soon as possible. So I waited. After many hours of waiting and attempts to get someone’s attention by screaming, I ‘found’ Molly. She was trapped in her room which was once right below mine on the fourth floor. Neither of us could speak very well but we did check in on one another from time to time always ending our short conversations with “I love you.” I was trapped for nine hours before someone finally heard my screams. Three hours later, and thanks to the skillful (and precise) jack hammering of my new friend Patrick, a builder from the partially constructed hotel next door and humanitarian, I was free and carried down what was then equivalent to one flight of stairs to the waiting ambulance.
I was transported to a nearby doctor’s office, where I waited for 24 hours to be airlifted by helicopter to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There, I received emergency fasciotomies on both arms for the crush injuries I had sustained. Again, thanks to the miracle door, I had no broken bones and other than failing kidneys, I was in relatively good health. I spent the next thee weeks recovering at Broward Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and returned to my family’s home in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 17th. Today, I am recovering physically and am even typing this with two hands; a feat nearly impossible only a few weeks ago! Emotionally, however, I still have a long road ahead of me, dealing with the death of my brother Ryan (my best friend), and my good friend Molly (my little sister), both of whom were also in the building when it fell. There were five of us in fact, including Rachel, a visitor from Portland, and Dr. Castro, a hospital employee from Cuba, who were rescued with minimal injuries. The one consolation I have is that my last words to both Molly and Ryan were those of love, and I know that both of them lived life to the fullest each day. I have shared this personal experience with you because, unfortunately, it is not a unique story. Innumerable Haitians lost loved ones on that day; many lost body parts, homes, businesses and schools. I am unique in that I received care quickly enough that I still have my hands, and I have a home to live in that is still standing and is full of nutritious food to eat and clean water to drink. And, as far as I know, Phoenix is far from any major fault lines. Thank you to everyone who has supported NPFS, Haiti, my family and myself through donations, work and prayers. I continue to pray for Molly, her family and all my friends in Haiti as we, Haiti and myself, heal and move forward. With love, Erin Kloos Erin is currently living in Phoenix, Arizona and is a first-year medical student at Arizona State University. She recently traveled to Haiti during Christmas break to volunteer in the St. Philomena Rehydration Center.
“Thank you for your gifts to us this year, with which we were able to cloth the naked, stand up for justice, act with mercy, feed the hungry, offer encouragement, protect the orphan, care for the sick, sacrifice for the things that will last. This world is better, thanks to you.” Fr. Rick Frechette, CP.
Nos Petits Frères et Soeurs Haiti For more information please visit our website at www.nph.org or email: email@example.com
Text: Ruben, Cassagnol Destine. Johanne, Gena Heraty. Esther, Sue Hanson Krafft. All other stories contributed by Ivy Kuperberg, Communications Officer, NPFS Haiti. Photos: Benjamin Katz, Ivy Kuperberg, Monica Gery, Andre Lucat, Danielle Greilich, Roseline Paul, Robin Forestal, Cassandra Chapman and Dan Lapp. Esther story photos courtesy of Fondazione Rava-NPH Italy (Luca Rossetti, Luz Photo).
Published on Mar 8, 2011