Day three – Saturday

As you might have noticed from the closing of the last post, today started early at 6:30. 

We spent a good amount of time moving and organizing donations before the day’s heat set-in. Cathy and Art, who worked the night shift in the church, received a reprieve from some of the heavy lifting as they were definitely tired!  Apparently the roosters like to sit outside the open-air windows and crow during the night.  Every fifteen minutes!!!! 

We then ate breakfast, met with the staff and shared some thoughts.  A devotional was held and we closed with a prayer.  Art and Cathy went off to freshen up.  Drew and Denise went back to the one-room clinic.  Kim has morning duty with Dawn at the Church and Adam is still trying to get the internet up at running for the staff.  The internet is the staff’s main source of communication with, friends, family and the outside world.  However, it has been down for over a week.  These blog posts are going through Adam’s phone!

Later in the day Kim and Art braved the heat of the store room to empty the remaining eleven duffels.  Cathy and Denise helped prepare dinner with Sonya, a volunteer from South Carolina.

In terms of the work that we are doing there are two paths we are following.  One path, as you have seen, is that we are engaged in the day-to-day hands-on work of caring for the kids, assisting with food prep, storing and organizing donations, ETC. 

The other path we are following is more long term.  We are taking opportunities to meet with the school staff, clinic staff and their management teams to see what we can do to impact on a longer term.  These would be ideas for possible projects that can be done while back home… with your help…..

Some ideas that we are discussing include:

  • Initiating an immunization program through the Minister of Health
  • Understanding what we can do to further support their church and their ministry
  • Developing a support team to raise funds for school supplies
  • Investigating a stipend fund for supporting another full-time staff member
  • Investigating a way of updating and integrating their network and computer systems
  • Further support for their larger clinic construction
  • Further support for the Hospital of Hope
  • Assisting with the building and supplying of a new orphanage house (so they kids can move out of the church)

We have mentioned a few times that we see an ample need here to assist with the work that Danita’s team is delivering.  With their progress, new opportunities open up to expand their works.  You will notice in the photos on this blog that there is a massive difference between the kids who have access to Danita’s facility and those who do not. 

We feel the opportunities listed above expand the list of services available as well as extend the present services to other destitute children in Ouanaminthe.  While the word ‘destitute’ may seem dramatic, no member of this team has ever seen such abject poverty before.  The fact that it lands at the doorstep of children is crushing to us all and inspires us to work harder.  The fact that we see smiles on faces is humbling.  It offers us both perspective and gratitude to be able to help in some small way.

The ideas listed above are just ideas.  Ones that we have thought of over the past few days.  We are also looking for any ideas that you might have, or if you are interested in working on some of the one’s above.

Don’t forget to check out our photos (at the bottom of the home page)to see your friends in action!

Also, please sign in to the guest book and continue to leave us comments.  They are really great, warm our hearts and give us strength!!  Let us know that you are out there!  A special shout out to Dawn’s Daughter, Kate for her post.  Nothing like a child telling her mom that they are proud of her.  It brought a big smile to all our faces!!!

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Day 2 – Friday

Today we got to work!  And boy did we work!!!

The day started with breakfast with the staff and volunteers… and Coffee lots of coffee. We then met for our orientation to discuss the process for integrating the new children, the rules for the environment and the shifts available to work with the children.  The meeting closed with a devotional and songs.

Every member of the team worked quite hard.  Drew and Denise went to the clinic and worked with a number of children.  Drew is already thinking of how he can establish an immunization program for the children at Danita’s. They also took a trip to the local hospital.  Art and Adam did some heavy lifting and started the process of unpacking the duffels.  Art is also working the night shift in the Church where the new arrivals from Port-au-Prince are housed.  Cathy is also working the night shift tonight.  They will be joined by two other volunteers.

Dawn got to sit in a staff staff meeting with the school and will be meeting with the teachers and interpreter on Monday.  She already has a number of ideas where we can have an impact on the school environment, starting with supplies.  Kim worked the afternoon shift with the kids in the church and performed a feeding evaluation on a child with Cerebral Palsy. 

As you can see from some of the photos, there are a number of children who have been through a war (the earthquake).  There are moments where they are happy and laughing and others when there is no question that they have been deeply touched by the recent disaster.  There are a number of amputees as well as special needs.

 

The team is finding that there are many people with good hearts who have come to volunteer.  There is a staff of 54 people from the local community that cook, clean teach and the like.  However, there are only four permanent staff members that run the whole show locally.  At any given time, it seems that at least one of them are away on some mission.

We are seeing some amazing things at Danita’s but we also see that it is a refuge in a deeply impoverished country. All around is vast desperateness.  We took a heartbreaking tour of the local village.  While Danita assists them, she is maxed out for resources.  The school ($5.00 charge per year for the local families and free to the orphans) is full with 500 students.  The students that attend school from the town get hot lunch included which is usually their only meal of the day.

Tomorrow Danita will be retuning from a trip to the DR and she will be joined by Sheree Bowie.  Sheree is the Executive director for the US office for Danita’s.

Every night the team is meeting to discuss new ideas, what we feel is working well and what is not working.  We are all very tired and very excited!!  We are all in agreement that this trip was a great idea and there is so much work to be done for these kids!!   We cannot wait to get back to work tomorrow… at 6:30..AM  🙂


Day One

After a long day of travel (began at 2:00AM) we are are here at Danita’s in Haiti and we are very excited!

Going through JKF airport with the fourteen duffle bags was almost as exciting as exiting the Santiago Airport with the same bags!!

When we arrived and were settled, we toured the Main facility as well as the individual homes for the boys and the girls.  The whole team is both amazed and surprised how well the children are cared for and how much more there is to do.  All students (there are 500 who attend the school from the town and from the orphanage) wear uniforms.  Their manners are impeccable.  They are so very happy, but have so many needs.   

The church has been converted to house the 55 Pot-Au-Prince orphans, many of which have chronic medical needs.   Services are now held outside.  Check out the photos in the photo section of the site.

We are very impressed that Danita’s staff has taken on the challenge of kids with needs such as burn victims, hydrocephalous, amputees and others.   With all the great work, the staff here is definitely challenged.  Aftershocks scare the Port-Au-Prince children terribly. Emotional needs are high especially for the children who have just recently lost family.  Support is around the clock. 

The staff is grounded, well spoken and fully engaged.  There are a number of other volunteers here as well from a fourteen year old girl who is stationed here with her family to college students who chose to come here for their spring break.

Tomorrow is our formal orientation.  We will be getting assignments as to where we can begin help hand-on. We will also be spending some time distributing the donated materials and learning what the individual team members can do to engage in the medical and educational support.  Some great relationships have already begun!

Speaking with our Field Coordinator, Karris, she wanted to make sure that we pass along our their thanks and gratitude for all of the people that have supported the team and Danita’s in general.  The donations made for the advancement of the clinic seems to be assuring that it will be completed before the end of 2010. 

Please check out the new pictures in the space.  However, we must include this one directly in the blog.  Denise carried a large platter of Cini-buns from NJ all the way to Haiti for the staff.  The entire team begged her to throw them out all through the day, but Denise persevered.  Here she is pictured with Brittany, our direct contact, who exclaimed that this was “the best thing she has had to eat in months!”

Take Care!!


Why the students at Oak Hill Academy Rock:

The Oak Hill Academy Student Council in front of 50 bags of clothing and toiletries. They are presenting a check representing the contributions collected for Danita’s children in Haiti.  Art and 6 other Tower Hill Members will be leaving on Thursday for Haiti.


Preparing for the trip

All,

 

We are very excited and yes, a bit nervous about traveling to Haiti.  We are hoping that we will be able to get access to the internet and make frequent updates to this blog.  Fingers are crossed!

 

Please feel free to look through the team list to meet us (just your everyday common people), check out the photos and please leave us a comment or two.  We would love to get your thoughts and words of support!

 

Why Haiti? 

Team Haiti has been around for more than two years.  Some members of the team are new; some have been here since the beginning.  We have planned and deployed a number of trips to Haiti.  With the recent events of the Earthquake, we feel compelled to make this trip and support Danita’s Children and the orphans in their care.  While there is work to be done all over the world and very close to home, the team feels that there is a very strong need in Haiti.  Many countries and communities have the ability to offer basic services to those in need, Haiti does not.  Simply put, it is a matter of life and death.  These orphans need support and an advocate.  Our team will be in suport of that advocate.  The earthquake did not create this issue or our interest.  However, it has multiplied the effects.

 

What are we going to do?

Our trip will focus on bringing much needed supplies and care to the Orphans at Danita’s Children.  While we have made some significant investments in their future clinic, we wanted to have a ‘hands-on’ experience. All team members will engage with the children directly – reading, playing, helping, changing diapers – whatever is needed.  In addition, we have two medical personel that will work with the people at their clinic.  We have a two people on the trip with education experience and they will be working with the school and teachers.  The rest of the team will be working with the management of Danita’s to understand long term needs and how we can support when we get back home.

 

Why blog?

This trip is not about the team members.  It is about helping others.  The purpose of this blog is to bring awareness to you, our readers.  Full transparency – we are trying to make you aware and get you engaged.  We are looking to establish a longer term relationship with Danita’s and broad support.  That is where you come in.  When the team returns, we will need help.  If you have any interest in supporting the longer term efforts, please let us know.  Perhaps you will be on the next trip?

 

What’s next?

We are presently preparing for the trip which will leave very early on the morning of the 11th.  The flights, accommodations and the logistics have all been arranged.  Kim and Denise have done a great job getting the team on track (with seven children between the two of them, you know they are the right people to organize this group)!

 

Now our focus is packing and getting the last minute items ready to go!  So many people have been so gracious with their support!  At this point we have 14 duffle bags (2 for each of us) to pack on Sunday!  There is a very good chance that we will have to ship some materials down after we are done packing.  Rumor has it that Art has collected over 40 bags of donations from Oak Hill Academy.  You guys rock!!!!

 

Best and please come back and look in on us!!!

 

– Team Haiti