thank you all for responding so generously to our last call for donations! We have worked hard since. While the ever-present violence made outreach to the earthquake survivors difficult, we now have a new permanent clinic location plus mobile outreach program. With three trained staff and open from Monday through Friday in a poor country where hospitals are closed yet again, the new clinic is expecting to treat several hundred people a week for free.
This is a difficult newsletter to write, as the situation in Haiti is so volatile and continuously changing. This makes it hard to make clear statements. The rivalling gang warlords now have the country firmly under control and the population is suffering. It is fair to say that Haiti is in a civil war like state. The media are full of reports of people fleeing the country. Once, a shot ganster cam to the clinic and after receiving free treatment for his wounds, politely thanked.
In this present situation, it has been next to impossible to reach the earthquake area. At first, the roads were not passable because of land slides for many weeks. Then, as soon as they were, the gangs and shootings returned, and the misery stricken people in the earthquake areas also turned violently hostile towards people from other areas coming in. So the ladies from the clinic staff were scared for their life to go there. We as the directing team were caught between the decision of sending more direct help to the earthquake victims and possibly sending the staff to their deaths on a daily basis. We tried and tried and retried so many options, of which almost all failed. One example is when we tried to set up a safe location for a mobile clinic in the earthquake area at a church. It was next to impossible to find a driver who was willing to take the staff there, because the driver, of course, is also risking his life and his vehicle. When we finally found one who demanded a totally exaggerated price, we agreed. The next morning, he called and doubled that price. We had to decline, because to pay such a price was outrageous and totally outside of the justifiable range for the a clinic. As always in civil war, people take advantage of the situation.
There is tremendous fuel shortage with exorbitant prices, subsequently no drinking water for lack of water pumps, and electricity and phone line connections are a rare luxury. Just to get a few minutes of uninterrupted phone connection is close to a miracle. To say that we, as the team outside of Haiti, have had a very difficult time managing affairs is an understatement. Jinpa deserves a gold medal for patience for spending all day just to get through for a moment for weeks on end now, and then later another moment, and then later another for half a sentence…
Outreach to Aux-Cayes
We did manage to do one outreach to the earthquake area. Irnst, Jinpa’s foster brother, took vitamins and medicine to Aux-Cayes, the place struck by the earthquake. He has a van for his mobile music entertainment business and pays off the gang lords so they do not bother him. When he had a gig in the area, he went to the far outskirts, where the international help organisations have not reached and were people are not hostile. In this place with the grass-woven make-shift shelters, he distributed the flower essences (generously donated by FES), essential oils and vitamins. People were so grateful, they cried and said ‘you are sent by God!’ Irnst later told us that while he was there, the earth shook at three different times. The earth was still active, many weeks after the earthquake.
This video shows a man showing the shelters on the inside before distributing the remedies there.
The staff also sent care packages with essential oils to disinfect the dirty water etc. with people returning to Aux-Cayes area.
Faced with the sheer impossible task of getting more help directly to those struck by the earthquake, we thought of other ways of bringing help. Jinpa’s foster brother Irnst, who runs discos for churches on weekends after service, came to the rescue. Irnst has been taking the clinic ladies along with him. Thus, the help and remedies have reached the greater Port-au-Prince area, as well as places in the countryside near the earthquake area.
We Created a New Permanent Clinic!
Hospitals in Haiti are closed because of strike, lacking supplies and fuel for generators, gang violence etc. So our little outpatient clinic is more needed than ever. At the moment, the area around Camio’s house, about 10 minutes further outside of the Port-au-Prince suburbs than the previous clinic location, is calm and free of shootings and kidnapping. We had to abandon the previous location, because of too many curfews and the staff not being able to reach there safely. We rented a new location right in the presently calm area were they live. This clinic will be open five days a week, not just two as in the past, and have three qualified practitioners. Dieux voulant, as they say in Haiti, if God wishes, then this new clinic will be bigger and better with more staff, treating more people than ever before. As Camio, Marie Lucie and Josephine are putting the remedies on the shelves, at least 50 people a day pass asking when the clinic will open.Here are the new shelves and people waiting to be seen. And yes, the clinic staff cannot take good photos.
Clinic director Julia Graves is leaving, since the time she has to volunteer surpasses that of other years by at least 20-fold and now effectively requires the hours of a part time job.
Thank you again to all of our sponsors! Without you, this all would not have been possible!
All of our prayers go to Haiti becoming peaceful,
Much love from Julia, Michelle and Jinpa
With greatest appreciation for our latest donors:
Ven. Robins Courtin
Sandy Weil and friends and family
Lata Kennedy of Flower Power
Kyle Bolger for the hand operated electricity generator
Janine Coover and the members of Do Ngak Khun Phen Ling Buddhist Center
Bonnie Andretta of Kater Skill Herb Exchange
Julia Sheffield and members of IFPA
Selma Aslin, Adrianne Mockler, Big Pond Little Fish, Jamie Baker, Janet Ettele, Cecilia Quimby, Rebecca Wootten, Sage Mountain, Connie Valenti, Clare MacGoey, Paul Gruen, Larissa Dickey, Ver. Tenzin Lhamo, Bonnie Wood, Deborah Soule, Julia Hengst, Sharon Mc Greevey, Andrea Lemon, Ana Dotzler, Tanya Grandstaff, Irnst Norgaisse, Laura Fontaine, Jamie Baker, Three Jewels Outreach Center, Christi Pugh, Dido Roggatz for precious advice….. and anyone we may have missed!