A Travellerspoint blog

HAITI 2017

OFF AGAIN JAN 30 2017!

Hello to all.....well some people have been asking me about my blog. There are always so many stories to tell and I really will give it the "ole college try" again.
When Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti inOctober 6 2016, I knew I could help in some way alongside Dr. Gardy and he said to please come! His mom lived in LesCayes, right along the fringe of the hurricane as it HIT the south arm of Haiti. I had been to this area 4 years ago and I remember describing it as lush and jungle-like, as compared to the north arm where I live. Now it was totally flattened/devastated/treeless and most roofs gone! I have never seen anything like it in my life.
When I returned, I wrote an article for my local paper VERNON MORNING STAR and if you go on their website and click on the eEditions and go to the January 8 2017 edition, page 23-24, you'll be able to read my article.
2 weeks ago, 2 nursing buddies from Vernon, Susan Kermociev and Olga Hamilton, went there for a 3 week stint of teaching 10 Haitian women how to sew. OSAPO's long term plans include a school and the kids will need uniforms and so these women will have a job!
Also, Andrea Nelson from Calgary is there supporting a small rural school in the nearby hills from OSAPO. She works with the local teacher/director and they have expanded the programs from 30 children to over 100 in just 2 short years. This will be Andrea's 5th or 6th trip in that time and she has painted wood to make blackboards, hired a Haitian builder to make desks, started a goat program, helped get a community garden going that the children help look after and she supports a daily rice meal program for the students! I'm sure there's more but you get the idea that she is one dedicated and busy lady.
Andrea and Susan are also directors on our newly formed Society Board....."CANADIAN FRIENDS OF OSAPO-HAITI SOCIETY" is official now and we're working with the CRA on obtaining a tax receiptable status. Next will be a website development....and we would LOVE someone to help us with that! It may be to help improve an existing OSAPO one that is in the works and then we would have a link on that to a page of ours??? But we need help in however it will look.
Coming with me this time is another retired nurse friend, Ann Simonski. She has been on other mission trips, loves children and she is like a magnet to them. I know I'll be getting some pics of Ann surrounded by a group of kids as she reads a book to them!
Also coming are 2 surgeons from the Vernon area, Drs. Ghee Hwang and Hamid Izadi. Dr. Toussaint from the OSAPO group has plans to keep them busy for the 1-3 weeks that they will be there.
Dr. Toussaint has asked me to hold another Introduction to OR Nursing course as there is a need at the clinic again as the ones who were trained in 2011 have all left...sad but true. The last one just had a baby boy in December and I'm hoping she will return and help out.
In March, my dear cousin Cam Hite from Port Moody area and his wife Cindy and son Ethan are joining me. Cam will be doing some electrical work and Cindy, a retired nurse, will be kept busy as will Ethan. The kids in the community will have lots of soccer for him to play and hills to hike and see the terrain.
So friends....all for now. God has blessed all the many plans for this time. I know He led me to Haiti in October, kept me safe, showed us how to help the stricken people in the best way at the time. And now this trip is blessed with so many people joining the OSAPO Haitian staff in serving the people of Rousseau.
Please pray for us all in our time there, for safe travel and that we would be led to obey and serve the people.
xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 18:16 Archived in Haiti Comments (0)

Happy Mother's Day May 10 2015

Time has flown by since returning to Canada. First I visited with my family in North Van and Victoria and was amazed at how the 3 grandsons have grown!!!! We are all excited about #4 to be born in June...and also a cousin to be born in June too! My family is growing.
As I write this today, I'm wondering if a day like this is celebrated in Haiti. I will have to ask DR. GARDY....WHEN HE COMES TO VANCOUVER/VERNON and then CALGARY in June 2015!!!! The committee is busy planning events for him to meet other Global Health/Community Development people, some family and friends....and hopefully a bit of time to just enjoy seeing our beautiful country for the first time!
If you would like to meet him, please get in touch with me....judydouglas@telus.net or phone 778-212-8877.....or........
7-10 PM
8305 West Kal Road, Coldstream/Vernon
Tickets are for sale at the BEAN SCENE on Vernon's Main Street across from Towne Theater and include a glass of wine and appys!!
(or phone/leave a message with me and I'll save one for you)
Don't wait as many have been sold already!
If you have questions about where all the donated money has gone in Haiti, please come and ask Dr. Gardy.
See what a Haitian is doing for his fellow country...men/women/children!!!
Kyle, chairman from WATER PROJECT FOR HAITI will also be there and also
Pat, who will be able to answer all your questions about DAYS for GIRLS sewing project.
Dr. Gardy is the co-founder of OSAPO, the remote "mountain" clinic that I spend time at. He is also the administrator of PIERRE PAYEN HOSPITAL, in a nearby community. He is also (in his spare time!!) the founder of a new Nursing School....called ISSIP (Institute Superieur des Sciences Infirmieres et de Physiotherapie). The nursing school part opened Jan 19 2015 when I was there and the PT part is to start this September. Both schools are hoping that some Canadians....YOU....will come as guest lecturers at the school! There is still need for many trades people....for educating and actual working too! The best way to teach is to show! : )
Susan Kermociev was such a good example of that. She brought her mom's old sewing machine and taught 2 Haitian women how to use it. Juliana was coming to OSAPO every Monday and Thursday to use the machine. She needs help to begin to market what she's made...a small step towards a business and a way to make $$ for her family! : )
Denise Nelson was a true gift from God...very timely...as she was there at exactly the right time to help teach the Haitian nurses about laparoscopic surgery. OSAPO staff (with help from an American surgeon who brought the equipment) performed OSAPO's first 2 laparoscopic cholecystectomies in March 2015!!!
The river bank is definitely a threat to OSAPO and there is a good, well-researched plan in place to build a reinforcement wall. It's been done very successfully along the river. Dr. Gardy has local labor forces piling up rocks to be used in the metal cages which will form part of the wall! Of course this will take $$$ but if not done, there is a very real danger that the clinic will one day be lost! It is in an ideal area, it is visited daily by many people from the surrounding area....and so the decision is to stay there! This decision was arrived at with much prayer and investigating by 2 different engineering firms in Haiti.
So to all of you....I am grateful for all your support. When I see so many are still reading this with interest, I am encouraged to carry on in my journey. God is my guide, and I pray that some of you will join me there one day and see for yourself. I am tentatively still thinking about October 2015 to return. You are all a blessing to me and my prayer is that you are also blessed!

Posted by jdouglas 11:48 Comments (0)

and now, about to leave Haiti!

Dear friends and family....I just read the last entry to this blog....I've decided I really cannot call it a blog if I only write on it once every 3 months!!! WHERE HAS TIME GONE SINCE JANUARY??? : )
I am leaving Haiti in 4 days and there is soooo much to tell you. This beautiful and amazing country still needs our help....we have to be careful how that help is given, but it is still needed! Haiti is full of wonderful, knowledgable people...but the countryside was so very much neglected for too many years by the corrupt Duvalier government.
But that is in the past and Haiti is ready to move forward. I am blessed to be working with amazing visionary Haitians like Dr. Gardy. Hopefully he will get his Canadian visa and join us in Canada in June. We are planning the 2nd annual OSAPO fundraiser June 6 at the Kalamalka Country Club in Vernon. There are plans in the works for the Calgary group to also hold another event in Calgary. Time and place to be announced!
I felt very blessed to have had some Canadian friends join me here in January. I would love for more of you to come and see what I see, work with me and Dr. Gardy and his staff, see the Haiti that I have grown to love! A group of 4 Calgarians and a friend from Vernon (Susan Kermociev) joined me for 10 days and what they accomplished was phenomenal.....not earth shattering as we all would want....but very meanful. They established relationships with a group of people in the mountains nearby who are trying to keep a school going for their children, Susan taught 2 Haitian women how to sew on the electric machine that she brought and they are now sewing articles to sell, they introduced "Wonder Bags" to 10+ Haitian women who now will be able to cook for their families more efficiently, and so very much more.
You see friends, you do not need medical skills to be needed here. Come with what God has given you...and often that means just an open and giving h
I have so many stories to share with you...many sad like the baby that was brought to the OSAPO clinic after the burning roof of the home caved in on it...oh it was the very saddest day of my life knowing that the child had a very poor chance of living....and then it was the joy of seeing a little girl who lives in the community to recover from having her 6th finger digit removed. It was constantly getting caught and getting infected and now she feels so beautiful without it....such a simple solution!!! it's a genetic trait in Haitians, usually tied off at birth but this mom did not have the money to pay for it!!
Men who have hernias so huge that it is impossible for them to work......in a culture that already has a 60% unemployment rate! What hope do they have without corrective surgery? 80% of Haitian doctors leave Haiti to go to the USA. So truly, Haiti does still need medical help....but there is so much more. They need people to come with trade skills....agricultural, electrical, plumbing....please consider how you may help!!!
My email is still judydouglas@telus.net and I welcome any and all questions and comments. I would love you to join me in Haiti. I am thinking of coming back in October 2015...after the joyful event of Joel's wedding in Sept. I am so very blessed as we also are awaiting the arrival of yet another Douglas in June 2015. I am so very thankful for all of God's blessings.
Thinking of you all......xoxoxo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 17:38 Comments (0)

Janvye 24 2015.....nan Ayiti!!! in Haiti!!!

Dear friends and family....as many of you already know, I am in Haiti! I just read a draft that I started in Nov 2014 to let you all know I was heading here, probably in January. Well I arrived here Dec. 30 2014...almost a month ago! I was picked up at the airport by some friends who live in Borel (where Water Project for Haiti site is) and so I travelled with them there and brought in 2015 by heading to bed about 9:30 pm. We all were bushed!!!
Since then, life has been full!
I returned to Pierre Payen Hospital and Donna Binkley's home on Jan 3 2015. I had been asked to take over as a "team manager" for the PPH Guesthouse as a surgical team from the States was arriving Jan 7. This was Naomi Shield's ortho team whom I knew well. There always is lots to do to prepare supplies for the teams and now I had to make trips to St. Marc to buy food and supplies for their stay!!! Always a learning experience here! My Kreyol is improving but I still need a lot of help so Loveline, Steve Mossburg's adopted Haitian daughter, became my very able assistant! God always supplies what is needed!
Which brings me back to the devotional reading from this morning...I still read from a book called "JESUS CALLING" by Sarah Young. She was inspired to write as if it was Jesus himself actually speaking...

"....Sit still in the Light of My Presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones....As you keep your focus on Me, I form you into the one I desire you to be. Your part is to yield to My creative work in you, neither resisting it nor trying to speed it up. Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step." (Hebrews 13:15)

As I read these words, I feel this...a peace that happens more often here in Haiti than it does in Canada. Here, it seems that I do yield to God to guide me each morning and show me what it is I am to do. In Canada, the whole pace of living has sped up and I don't spend enough quiet times with Him. I yield more to the pressure of "time" rather than to Him! Here in Haiti, I have come to realize that there really aren't that many things in life that are so very urgent and important. My love for Him and for my family and dear friends comes to the surface of my thoughts....and after that, whatever I can do in a day is what gets done!
I have so many stories already to tell you all...but for now, these are my thoughts to share. I'm back here at OSAPO and Dr. Gardy just got an urgent call that someone is sick at Moulin Sur Mer and so he is off down the mountain to help. Susan and I are just heading off for our morning walk and then off to church at Canaan orphanage, the place where my journey here in Haiti in 2010 began! I fondly remember those days with Susan and Caleb Kermociev and Shannon O'Brien.
I am so thankful that I listened to God's call to come here.......
xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 03:41 Comments (0)

March 23 2014...."do not grumble"

Dear friends and family....
Here it is a month after the last blog! And I am again at OSAPO...the remote clinic/hospital up in the mountains....and felt inspired to write as day is breaking and people are starting to stir outside. I'm sitting in the "conference room", a big room at the front of the building and it has a big porch leading off from it overlooking the road below. That is where I took the pictures/video of the passing-by funeral procession that I posted on FB. It is a great place for people watching and today will be a good day for that as it is market day in Montrouis, where this road ends when it joins National #1 Highway. Today the road will be full of laden-down donkeys and women with huge bags of goods for sale perched on their heads. I can't help but think how those vertebrae of theirs are being crunched downward!!! Most everyone walks down to the market. A few have enough "kob" to hire a taxi....a motorcycle. These bikes are constantly going back and forth with passengers....the record for me to see is 8 on one bike!!! Usually there are 3-4. When I take a "moto", I pay a bit extra (10 gourde...about 25 cents) to be a single. They've all gotten to know that and so don't stop along the way to pick anyone else up unless I ask them too. I learned that from my friend Annie. As she drives along with her Kia truck, she will constantly stop and ask people if they want a ride and if they do, into the back they jump, quite happy to have that bit of "luxury". : )
I just finished reading in my devotional book called "Jesus Calling"....a great little inspiration book that is written as if He himself were talking to me. This morning it starts out by saying "Let thankfulness temper all your thoughts. A thankful mind-set keeps you in touch with Me. I hate it when My children grumble." : )
What a good reminder as I can recall myself grumbling these past few days....it's getting hotter and stickier here (finally rained a bit last night) and I can't seem to get the last few things done that I want to do in the Maternity/Child building, The building is basically ready to go and yesterday the Japanese Ambassador arrived back in Haiti so we're hoping to hear soon when the Inauguration Date will be!! The beds cannot be filled, the dossiers cannot be written on....until it's officially opened!!!! Dr. Gardy asked me yesterday to remind him what date I'm leaving Haiti as we are all hoping that it will happen before I leave on April 14. Time will tell.......
Since I last wrote, I have been to Borel with some American women who came to lead Haitian women in fellowship and song and to teach them about some health concerns. The focus for the conference started to be education about cancer but the topics broadened a bit from that as the women were led to encompass general healthy habits...be it financial, physical or spiritual. There were 89 Haitian women there and one of them said to me that the time "wasn't long enough for us to be together" so that seems pretty positive feedback!!! Magalia, a Haitian nurse who works in the HIV clinic at Pierre Payen (PPH), was the first speaker and we quickly realized that the whole 3 days could be on that one topic! Even though this country has suffered from AIDS for many years, there are still so many misconceptions and so much lack of knowledge. After a lengthy question period, Magalia finally got on to talking about cervical cancer (they are starting to do screening at both PPH and OSAPO with treatment by LEEP. Thanks to IHA, I brought down one of the 2 machines used!!! : ) and then she talked about breast cancer. Then I presented a short explanation about Self-Examination of one's breasts with a picture handout. Stanley, the translator for the conference, had quite a time translating all my maneuvers!! : ) I set up a private area and opened the door to anyone that wanted to practice with me what was taught.....and I do believe I ended up doing 89 breast exams. Found 3 lumps and these women were referred on to a nearby hospital at Deschapelle (Hospital Albert Schweitzer)
We were at Borel for about 5 days total.....that is the compound built by the Church of God Conference from the USA that has been in Haiti for almost 20 years. All the women slept in the dorms there and we all heard singing and laughter throughout the time they were together. They loved being taught a craft making mats or baskets out of cut up plastic bags. Once they caught on to the blanket stitch used, they were very creative!!
Then we were off to Bayonais....a small, remote village farther north of Borel. One of the women has been going there for a few years and had arranged for us to stay 2 nights and hold a mini conference for the neighboring women. The whole great experience was repeated and new connections were made. They had just opened up a small medical clinic and so I worked with David, a Haitian nurse, for one morning. He was a great teacher of just normal good health habits and was able to give out a few needed medications. One elderly woman came in with a bandage wrapped around her wrist...she had fallen 10 days earlier...and it was pretty obvious as I unrolled it, that her wrist was broken. I gave her 1000 Gde ($25) as David figured that was enough for her to get a moto (they're everywhere) to Gonaive, the nearest city, where she could hopefully see a doctor who could set the bones properly. That should have paid for the consultation and the xray and maybe some food for the road!
Water Project for Haiti, the water filtration site at Borel who is my "parent umbrella", is still thriving and helping so many people get clean water! It was great to see Bim and Tim while I was there. There are now 5 Haitian men who have jobs there! Right now, there is a campaign on to raise money to keep making filters as a supporting couple, Theresa and John Carruthers, have offered to meet every dollar raised over the next 60 days!!! If you would like to support a water project, go online to www.waterprojectforhaiti.com and check it out.
You also could hear about it all if you come to the fundraiser on WEDNESDAY MAY 21 in VERNON at the ELKS HALL. Please note the date change from a previous notice. We're hoping that tickets will be sold for the event at the Bean Scene. I am sure looking forward to a BEAN SCENE latte when I get home!!! : )
OSAPO desperately needs a workspace to de-contaminate instruments and materials used in the "SOP" (salle de operation"), the Urgence (emergency) and the clinic rooms. Right now, all that activity happens in basins in a hallway that also houses some supplies. Not ideal but better than before when instruments were carried into the kitchen area and placed into the pressure-cooker style autoclave on the burner there. Thanks to the latest container full of equipment for the Maternity/Ped ward, OSAPO now has a MidMark11 autoclave which greatly simplifies sterilizing!
This hospital is growing busier every day. It services an area of about 52,000 people and most of them walk down from the nearby hills for 4-5 hours for health care. Dr Gardy and his adminstration team have got so many projects going on besides the medical.....agricultural, nutritional, midwife training, a community garden where new things are grown and then shown to the people to try to grow themselves. I love that about the seed program....people are given new seeds to plant and then come to OSAPO for a cooking class where a big meal is prepared of all the new foods so they can see how to best utilize them in a nutritious way!!! 132 new latrines were just built. The next team that arrives here will be going out and helping the locals to paint them.
So I hope to see you on MAY 21 at the fundraiser. There'll be a picture show and video, some entertainment while you eat a wonderful Haitian-style meal and a silent auction. We have set the goal high at $30,000 and have already raised 1/3 of that so please come and help raise the rest. I know everyone is always being asked to give to so many projects and this is another one!! It is really making a difference and is well run by Haitians....that's the part I like. Every dollar will go directly into the building of the addition that is so desperately needed and will be fully accountable to me.
HIV lurks everywhere!
And just now, the sound of women singing has reached me. There are benches outside where people have come to sit in the order they'll be soon be seen at clinic. From there, they move inside to the chairs where they wait their turn to first pay for the consultation and then be seen by the nurse and the chart will be started with VS, height and weight, etc. Then they go and sit on benches that are by the 3 consultation rooms and will see the doctor when their name is called! I often see many moms with malnourished babies. They get registered in a feeding program called Medika Mamba and are followed until their weight improves. Another great program! : )
But now it is almost 8am and I have got to get started on my day! Again, if anyone reading this is inspired to come and help, please contact me. I have good connections for safe food and lodging, you would meet wonderful caring people who are trying to make a difference in a country that has struggled for so long.
xoxo Judy
judydouglas@telus.net or in Vernon, phone 250-545-8877 and I'm on Facebook....

Posted by jdouglas 03:41 Comments (1)

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