Cherlie and I spent three weeks recently in the US, meeting with many people, attending an FHH board meeting and attending the 12th annual FHH banquet at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee.  We had a wonderful three weeks and appreciate all who came out to show their support at our banquet.  We had record attendance and the enthusiasm was unsurpassed!  Much thanks to the wonderful Banquet Committee, led by Lin McKenney, and all who volunteered to help out the night of the event.  You did a fantastic job!

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Haitian crafts on display in the Haitian Artist Colony at the FHH banquet April 28, 2018

There were two new programs that we highlighted at the banquet and which I’d like to describe for you here.  The first is a Diabetes Institute that we are establishing at our outpatient clinic in Gatineau.  This is a program to which Cherlie and I personally contributed seed money and is established in memory of my parents, Donald and Virginia Wolf and in honor of my sister Laura Bedient, who has diabetes herself.  The Institute will enroll our most indigent diabetes patients for a small yearly fee, after which they will receive monthly consultations, blood glucose testing and medications.  Our expectation is that this will help them better control their disease, and thus enable them to live healthier, more productive lives.  Many of our patients have young children and families they need to care for and if their diabetes isn’t controlled, they are unable to fulfill their family duties.  The Diabetes Institute has a charter and will be a designated fund so that 100% of donations to it will be used directly for patient care here in Haiti.  We encourage you to support this new initiative both financially and in prayer.

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Laura Bedient receives the Diabetes Institute charter from Cherlie and Laura’s son Timothy (FHH board secretary)


Rural families in Haiti live as subsistence farmers, growing crops and raising animals to sell to support their families and send their children to school.  During Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, many families lost crops and livestock and have had a difficult time surviving.  In order to help meet these livelihood needs in the communities around our clinic, Friends for Health in Haiti has decided to start a Goat Program.  Key features of the program are as follows:

  • The initial pilot program will involve 4 communities near our clinic.
  • Two supervisors (our employees and Community Promoters) will work with a committee chosen by the community to oversee the program.
  • Twenty-five families will be chosen by the committee in each community to receive two female goats. They will be bred to two bucks that come from an improved breed, raised to provide more meat and larger goats.
  • Each recipient family will receive training regarding care of their goats, importance of immunizations and basic financial management.
  • After breeding, the family will take care of the female goats with a requirement to pay back the community with two of the offspring, after which all further goats will belong to the family.
  • A veterinary technician will be available for any medical problems with the goats and to help with the babies, if needed after delivery. Vaccinations will be given to all goats in the program every year.
  • Offspring goats will be given to families in a new community each year and the process will repeat itself in the new community.
  • We’re hoping that the communities will be able to sustain the program on their own in the future by selling some of the offspring goats to pay for veterinary supplies and vaccines for the program. In this way, eventually all the communities around the clinic will benefit from the program and the socioeconomic level of the people will rise.

We were thrilled to see the level of support that was offered to this new Goat Program at our annual FHH banquet.  We are also grateful for partners such as Dr. Nancy Willerton from Denver, CO, Wade and Janet McGuinn and Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church in Columbia, SC who are assisting us with this project.  GO GOATS!!!


Goats are an important part of rural Haitian communities, providing money when they’re sold so families can pay for food and schooling for their children.




We were thrilled and blessed by a visit in March from Milwaukee dentist Dr. Dana Bott.  He was accompanied by long-time supporters Ray and Donna Moon who flawlessly worked out all the logistics of their travel and activities.  Ray is the Logistics Coordinator for FHH and he and Donna come down to visit and work with us every year.  We asked them to work out all the arrangements for travel, equipment and supplies with Dr. Bott and to work with him during the week as he did dental extractions.  They all did a wonderful job and we were grateful for this new service to our patients.  In addition, they brought with them a portable dental unit with an air compressor and suction, so in the future Dr. Bott and other dentists will be able to do some dental fillings as well as pull teeth!  Thanks to all the wonderful donors who contributed to the purchase of this valuable piece of equipment.


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Dr. Bott gets ready to anesthetize a patient as Donna assists


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Dr. Bott gives a final pull while extracting a tooth


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Portable dental unit that the team brought down and left with us.


We set up the two dental chairs (which had been donated to us by Dr. Maria Tammi) in our empty xray room, spreading out the dental supplies on a table.  The room had more space than our clinic exam rooms and worked well as Dr. Bott was able to go back and forth between patients.


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Dental supplies spread out on tables in the xray room.


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Dr. Bott, Donna, and interpreter James Gordon stand beside a happy patient.


Ray did behind-the-scenes work in sterilizing all the dental instruments in pressure cookers on the stove in the residence.  He went up and down the stairs several times each day, preparing instruments for the next patient.  We’re grateful to Ray and Donna for their wonderful assistance and we thank Dr. Bott for his willingness to come render dental services to our patients.

While the dental team was working hard, Cherlie and I and the other clinic nurses were dealing with a dilemma.  A couple came in to the clinic one afternoon with their infant daughter, having walked since the day before from their home up in the high mountains.  They said that the child had fallen off a bed onto the floor and cut her tongue two days prior to their arrival.  When I examined the infant, she did, indeed, have a deep laceration through the front of her tongue and it extended through more than half of the tongue!  This was a dilemma because with the length of time that had passed since the injury, the chances of healing were greatly reduced and the chance of infection was high.  In addition, we had doubts as to the truth of their story because there were no signs of other injuries to the infant that would suggest that she had actually fallen off a bed.

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Couple holding their infant daughter with a serious tongue laceration


The parents were insistent about the cause of the injury and we could tell that they did not want to go down to the government hospital in Jérémie to have a surgeon repair their daughter’s tongue.  They wanted to take their chances with us.  So, I mustered all my ER skills, said a few prayers, advised the parents that the laceration repair might not work and sewed up the little baby’s tongue.


Sutured tongue

Tongue with sutures in place.

The baby nursed right after the procedure and seemed to be quite happy, so we sent them home with instructions to return back in a week.  When they came back, the tongue was fully healed and there was no evidence of infection.


Repaired tongue

Tongue with sutures removed


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Infant girl after the sutures in her tongue were removed

Needless to say, there was a lot of rejoicing in the clinic that day and many prayers of thanks to the Lord for his healing mercies!

Kingston Presbyterian Church (KPC) in Kingston, NJ has been a faithful supporter of FHH from its inception.  That’s because it’s my home church – the church where I grew up and still am a member.  So, the congregation is always close to my heart and they have made it their mission to support Cherlie and me and our ministry in Haiti.  As such, nearly every year since we first began work down here, they have sent a work team down to help us out.  This year we had a group of 7 with us for a week in March.  The group consisted of Pastor Sharyl Dixon, Scott Hodge, David Raduzycki and his daughter Emily, Janet Rubinstein, Robin DeGutis and Juanita Ashby.  All of them had been with us on previous visits, so it definitely was like “old home week”.  We had a great time together and they accomplished a lot for us.

In order to help us expand our spiritual ministry, we have been partnering US churches with some of the local churches in the area around our clinic.  Last year, we partnered KPC with a Baptist church in Duranton, which  is about a 45 minute drive from the clinic.  The group from KPC spent a whole day at the church, leading the adults in crafts and Bible study in the morning (yes, we’ve discovered that adults really love doing crafts!) and VBS with the children in the afternoon.  The church people were wonderful hosts and prepared both breakfast and lunch for the group, sharing it with great enthusiasm and warmth.

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Pastor Sharyl Dixon shares a Bible lesson with the adults in Duranton


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Adults who have never been to school take great delight in coloring with crayons as part of craft activities!


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Duranton school children gather for VBS in their school uniforms.  It was a popular activity as evidenced by the attendance.

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Children work diligently on their crafts during VBS



A highlight of the afternoon was playing with a colorful parachute that the KPC group brought with them.


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David Raduzycki made a new friend.


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Pastor Noel and two elders from Duranton join with six of the KPC group for a day of fellowship and fun.


During the week, the group also helped us out at the clinic.  Scott and David built us two new shelving units to use in our Procedure Room to store surgical instruments and supplies.  Others in the group helped varnish some cabinets and painted walls of the residence.  Everyone spent some time in the clinic helping Cherlie and me and our staff as we consulted with our patients.  They also sorted through several drums of used clothing and made up sacks with a variety of clothing to be sent up high in the mountains to communities in need of assistance.  They also spent a morning going out to a nearby community to see some of the latrines that were repaired after the hurricane.  These latrines were built as part of our Water and Sanitation program.

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Janet registered patients under the watchful eye of Adrien, our registration clerk.



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Scott drills holes in the facing for the shelving unit he and David built.


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Emily helped sort through photos on my computer to be used for a collage in our waiting area.


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Juanita and Pastor Sharyl sort through clothing to send to communities high in the mountains


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Emily, Janet and Robin take a hike up the mountain behind the clinic.


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David inspects a latrine that is being repaired on a visit to a nearby community


On Friday of the week the KPC group was with us, Cherlie and I accompanied them to Duranton for a time of health education with the church members followed by a worship service.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship and the church welcomed us with open arms.  Many of the members are patients of ours at the clinic and they were thrilled to have us in their community with them.

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The KPC group sang several songs in Creole for the Duranton church members.  They did a great job!


Presenting gift

Pastor Sharyl presented a small gift to Pastor Noel on behalf of the KPC congregation.  It will be used to help them rebuild their church after the hurricane.


It was a wonderful week and we were sad to see them go.  I felt like I was back home in NJ again and the time was sweet.  Blessings on you Kingston Presbyterian Church!




We hosted another wonderful Avera medical team from South Dakota at the end of February, and I think they were glad to escape the cold and snow of winter.  January, February and March are ideal months to visit here in Haiti, since it’s pleasantly warm without the humid heat of the summer.  This year was no exception.

The Avera team was a productive group and included nine people:  Dr. Gil English, OB/gyn physician and his wife Kathy, who coordinates all the Avera teams, Dr. Jay Allison, a Core Faculty member in the Sioux Falls Family Medicine Residency Program, Dr. Kathleen Haight, a resident physician in Dr. Jay’s program, nurses Shari Platek, Barb Pratt, Alma Kooistra and Gerri Malsom and Gerri’s husband Jerome who is an all-around mechanic and handyman.

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The Avera team:(Top left) Gerri Malsom, Dr. Gil English, Jerome Malsom, Dr. Kathleen Haight, Barb Pratt.  (Bottom left) Shari Platek, Dr. Jay Allison, Kathy English, Alma Kooistra.

One highlight of the week was that Dr. English brought with him a LEEP machine, so that he will be able to intervene and potentially cure patients who have abnormal Pap smears.  Avera teams have been doing Pap smears for our patients for several years, but we’ve had to refer patients with abnormal results to local gynecologists in Jérémie.  Unfortunately, many of them never follow up as we advise, due to lack of financial resources.  Now, thanks to Dr. English, he is able to provide colposcopy and definitive treatment with the LEEP machine for those patients who have abnormal findings suggesting that they may be developing cancer of the cervix.

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Dr. English consults with a patient in our clinic, using our little portable ultrasound machine to show her what’s in her abdomen.

Dr. English also helps see some general medical patients and is quite adept at treating adults with hypertension and acid reflux.  As shown by the photo below, he and his wife seem to be preparing to do some dental hygiene teaching as well:

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Kathy and Dr. Gil English practice using our stuffed crocodile to demonstrate good tooth brushing technique.

We are pleased to be working with Dr. Jay Allison, a Core Faculty member in the Sioux Falls Family Medicine Residency Program, in developing a global health rotation in Haiti for family medicine residents.  Dr. Jay visited us on this trip in order to experience our clinic and community development programs first hand.  He was accompanied by Dr. Kathleen Haight, who is a second year resident in the program.  They both helped consult our clinic patients and Dr. Jay also helped me learn to use our new video gastroscope, which was donated to us by Avera.   He also showed Cherlie the proper cleaning procedure for the scope.


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Dr. Jay examining one of our clinic patients



Dr. Jay shows Dr. Wolf how to use the new video gastroscope, with Cherlie and Kathy looking on.


The suction machine that attaches to the gastroscope was graciously donated to us by a Hoven Hospital in Hoven, South Dakota.  Gerri and Jerome Malsom acquired the suction machine on our behalf.

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Gerri and Jerome Malsom point out the wonderful donated suction machine that attaches to the gastroscope


Shari, Barb, Gerri and Jerome have been down here to work with us before and we were thrilled to see them again.  They settled into our work routine without a hitch and helped out tremendously with the large patient load.  I got a little break with three other physicians present!  What a joy to have them with us.

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Dr. Kathleen and Barb take a break at the end of a busy clinic day



Shari assisted Dr. Haight in her examination room, including giving out these “peri kits” to young female patients.


Weed wacker

Jerome helped Lubin, our yard worker, learn to use a new weed-wacker to trim the weeds around the clinic.  It certainly works better than a machete!


Alma is also a nurse and this was her first visit with us in Gatineau.  She spent most of the week with Cherlie, weighing patients and taking their vital signs.  Of course, she also helped give out gifts to the children.


Alma stands in Cherlie’s nursing room in front of a table full of children’s clothing  and gifts.  It appears that she enjoyed the gift giving as much as the nursing!


We tried a new community activity with this enthusiastic Avera team – sending some of them up high in the mountains to a community where we have volunteer Community Promoters.  They walked for an hour up a steep mountain to get to a church where they met with local people and did some medical teaching with them.  The team then checked everyone’s blood pressure and gave them a referral card to come to the clinic when they found blood pressures that were elevated.  This service was very much appreciated and the following week we saw over 25 patients who had been referred to us from the community visit.  Thank you, Avera, for your enthusiastic participation.


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The church was full of people who came to participate in a community meeting with our staff and the Avera team


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Dr. Jay checks a blood pressure


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The team members consult together as they work.  In the foreground is Anisah, a fourth year medical student from MCW.


We have been very blessed at Friends for Health in Haiti by all the individuals, churches and organizations that have chosen to work with us in our medical ministry in Haiti.  Visitors bring us encouragement as well as expertise and we value the contributions of everyone who has come to Haiti to experience our work and get a glimpse of our ministry.

One of our newer partnerships is with the Medical College of Wisconsin.  I (Dr. Wolf) am now back on the clinical staff at MCW, in the Department of Internal Medicine and we are offering a Global Health elective for fourth year medical students.   This winter we had our first medical students work with us here in Haiti.

January brought us Ellie Olander, whose family is from Illinois.  She is planning to apply for a residency in Medicine and Pediatrics.  She had the dubious honor of being the first MCW student to rotate with us and she passed with flying colors!  I wrote about her in our last blog, since she was here with Patrick Harrington and his daughter Anna with Project Agua.  She also overlapped with retired veterinarian and amateur photographer Pat Mahoney.  Ellie was a big help in the clinic and we hope she learned some valuable lessons for the future, especially with regard to caring for patients from different cultural backgrounds.

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Dr. Wolf and Ellie Olander examine a patient in the Emergency Room.

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Ellie got experience in both medicine and pediatrics, including a consultation with this happy little boy!

We had Pat Mahoney go out into some of the communities where we have built houses and repaired latrines after the hurricane.  He enjoyed photographing people in their home environment as well as being photographed!

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Photographer Pat Mahoney gets a rare photo of himself with a woman whose house we’re repairing.

Pat also took a lot of photos in the clinic, both of our staff and our patients.  Look for some of them on our Facebook page, since he will be posting to it from time to time.  Pat’s photos will also be featured at our upcoming Annual Banquet in Milwaukee on April 28th.

In February, we enjoyed having our second MCW student, Anisah Ndifor.  An interesting thing about Anisah is that she grew up in the Cameroon, so coming to Haiti seemed like going home to her.  It was delightful to see her “discovering” Haitian food, only to realize that she ate similar food when she was growing up.  Anisah is planning to do a residency in OB/gyn, so she enjoyed seeing young women patients, especially when they’ve been pregnant.

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Anisah consults a young woman in the clinic

Thank you, MCW, for sending these great students our way!  And, thanks to the students for their flexibility and patience with us.

JANUARY 21, 2018

 At Friends for Health in Haiti we highly value those people and organizations that choose to partner with us so that we are able to accomplish our mission of improving health and changing lives in Haiti.  We’ve been privileged to have visits from many of these partners, as they contribute their time, energy and financial resources to help us out in our work.

Earlier this month we had a visit from Patrick Harrington and his daughter, Anna.  Patrick is the founder and director of a non-profit organization called Project Agua, dedicated to helping improve the availability of water and sanitation in needy communities around the world.  They have helped dig wells and build latrines in the Dominican Republic and are now beginning to help out in Haiti.

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Patrick and Anna pose for a photo outside our clinic.

Patrick and Anna visited some local water sources to see how the springs have been capped, making water accessible to hundreds of people.  Patrick enjoyed getting up close and personal with the water!

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Patrick checking the flow of water from a capped water source

They also went out into some local communities to see the latrines that we’ve built as well as hurricane houses.  Project Agua donated chlorine tablets after the hurricane as well as funds that were used for hurricane relief.

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Anna visiting a family whose house was built with tin and nails that FHH provided.  On the left is our community worker Viel Laurent.

Patrick and Anna were able to visit also with Ellie Olander, a fourth year medical student from the Medical College of Wisconsin who’s with us for the month of January.


Ellie being introduced at the beginning of a clinic day

All three of our visitors helped us with a continuing education seminar that we held with our second set of Community Promoters.  These promoters were trained in May 2016 by faculty and students from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.  Their educational activities in the communities were interrupted by the hurricane of October 2016.  Now, they are back on track again and we had them come to the clinic for further evaluation, feedback and training.  The most enjoyable activity of the day was having the Promoters do role-playing, as they gave an educational lesson with the rest of the promoters acting as “students”.  The “teachers” were impressive as they responded to the “student” hecklers.

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Promoter team teaches a lesson using the Promoter’s booklet with illustrations


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Promoter group poses for a photo with Patrick


When one lives in Haiti or visits here, you never know what might confront you on the road up to the clinic in the morning.  Such was the case when we found the road blocked by a large bus that had overturned the night before, blocking the road to all but motorcycle traffic.  Or, so we thought.

Overturned bus

crowd had already gathered around the overturned bus.  

We stood around talking with the locals until a local truck driver suggested that we might be able to squeeze our jeep by the overturned bus.  So, try we did, balancing between a steep drop-off on the right and the iron roof rack on the bus to our left.

First try

We aborted our first try when it was obvious we couldn’t get the back of the jeep past the iron roof rack of the bus.

The first attempt was unsuccessful, so I backed up the jeep, hugging the side of the road on the right and, with guys holding down the roof rack of the busy, made it past with only a couple of small scratches to the jeep.  Needless to say, the 60+ patients who were waiting for us in the clinic that day were thrilled!

Second try

One group of men held the roof rack down as others pushed the top of the jeep away from the bus, allowing us to finally pass.

Once I got past the obstacle, I got down from the jeep and gave everyone a huge thanks!

Friends for Health in Haiti wishes all of our readers a very Happy New Year! We trust you all had a blessed holiday season and that you are now ready to see what challenges this new year has to bring.

In our work in Haiti, we are always interested in expanding our services and programs, both in our outpatient clinic and in the surrounding communities, as long as those services are truly needed by the population we serve. It is an underlying tenet of our work that we seek to use our precious resources to have the greatest impact on the greatest number of people. So, that means that we have to be very discerning and wise about how we use the funds that are entrusted to us by our generous donors.

At our clinic in Gatineau, we provide general medical and pediatric consultations, provide prenatal care, including ultrasounds, do cervical cancer screening by offering Pap smears and breast cancer screening to those women who have breast masses detected on clinical exam. In December 2017 we took another major step forward in our medical services by offering to do minor surgical procedures for patients with things such as lipomas, cysts, hernias and hydroceles. This was possible due to the willingness of Milwaukee surgeon Dr. Joseph Battista and his wife, Pam Schulz, who is a nurse practitioner, to come for a week’s visit with us. Dr. Battista practices at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Milwaukee and has been a faithful supporter of FHH for many years. We were thrilled to be able to schedule him for a visit along with Pam and internists Dr. Greg VonRoenn and Dr. Dan Tanty. Both Greg and Dan have been here with us many times in the past and they were able to see most of the medical patients so I could be free to keep things running on the surgical side. I had prescreened all the surgical patients and scheduled several cases each day. In the four days they operated, Dr. Battista and Pam did 26 surgical cases. All of the patients did well and were thrilled to be able to get surgery close to their home communities, at a price they could afford.

Some of the patients needed IV sedation, so they were prepared for surgery in our little Emergency Department:

Preparation in ER

Patient in gown with IV in his arm, ready for surgery

Then, they were taken to the Procedure Room, where the surgery was done.

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Dr. Battista and wife Pam Schulz made a good operating room team


Pam gives a patient IV sedation prior to his hernia surgery


Dr. Battista injects local anesthesia prior to operating on a patient

Some of the patients with larger surgeries, such as hernias and hydroceles, needed to rest after their surgery before going home. So, a portable bed in the hallway became our recovery room, where they were able to sleep off the effects of the sedation and get prepared to go back home.


A patient rests on a bed in the hallway after his surgery.

We are very grateful for the assistance of Drs. VonRoenn and Tanty who saw all of the medical patients during the week. This was a huge help to us, especially since they’ve worked with us many times before and knew just how to function in our clinic. It was a great team for a great week.


Nurse Lourdia Jules, Dr. Battista, pharmacy tech Guy-Johns Chevalier, Pam Schulz, Dr. VonRoenn and Dr. Tanty.

Much thanks to Dr. Battista, Pam Schulz, Dr. Von Roenn, Dr. Tanty and our own staff for a very successful week of doing surgical procedures at our clinic for the first time ever!

 I want to let you all know that my mother, Virginia R. Wolf, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, December 6th.  As I shared before, she was recovering from a fall last month in which she fractured two of her cervical vertebrae.  She was making good progress with physical therapy and we had been hoping for a return to some degree of independence.  Unfortunately, this was not to be and she passed away quietly on Wednesday afternoon.

 Our family is grateful for the 95 years that the Lord gave to Mom and for the fact that her brilliant mind was clear and bright right up to the end.  We mourn for our loss but rejoice that she is in a better place.

 Thank you for your prayers.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written on this blog and I apologize for being out of touch.  Cherlie and I feel that we have, indeed, been over the river and through the woods, but we’re not going to Grandmother’s house!  We spent the month of November in the US and it was a busy time with lots of unexpected occurrences.

Our first stop was in Milwaukee where we had an FHH board meeting and visits with many friends and supporters.  While there, we took a quick road trip to Sioux Falls, SD to visit with the Avera Health Operations Council.  They allowed us to share with them the history of our ministry in Haiti and explain the many ways in which Avera Health has helped us to provide up-to-date health care to our patients.  We got treated to a tour of the city, the Cancer Center, Emergency Department and corporate offices and had a wonderful reunion with many previous Avera visitors to Haiti.  It was great to see familiar faces and get to know new people and Cherlie even got a quick  (cold) ride on a Harley motorcycle!

Again, with Milwaukee as our base of operations, we took another road trip to Louisville, KY to attend the annual Medical Missions Conference sponsored by Christian Medical and Dental Association.  We had a booth for Friends for Health in Haiti and met lots of young nursing and medical students who are interested in serving overseas in the future, practicing physicians and nurses who are open to short-term visits and organizations providing services that might be helpful to us in our clinic in Haiti.  The “team” representing FHH consisted of Logistics Managers Ray and Donna Moon, Yvonne DuCharme and Director of Development Judith Romelus.  They did a great job handing out FHH “freebies”, talking up the organization and our needs and getting contact information on all who stopped by the booth.  Thanks from Cherlie and me for a great team effort!

On our way down to Louisville, we took a side trip to Bluffton, IN with a truck loaded with drums of medical supplies and equipment that are being graciously shipped to Haiti by Apostolic Christian Church’s Harvest Call ministry in Haiti.  This is a huge service to us since ACC ships containers to Haiti frequently and allows us to include some of our supplies in the container, the contents of which are unloaded in Les Cayes, which is not far from Jérémie.  Thanks, ACC, for your service to us and our patients.

In the midst of all the FHH-related activities, I received the shocking news that on November 4th, a few hours after I spoke with her on the phone, my 95 year old mother fell on her kitchen floor and literally broke her neck, C1 and C2, to be precise.  The C2 fracture was somewhat displaced but she did not suffer neurologic damage, nor did she have any serious head injury.  Her face was swollen and purple from bruising but her spirit was not diminished, nor her incredible memory and cognition.  Surgery was considered in the early days after her injury but was not felt to be a reasonable option.  After six days in the hospital in Princeton, NJ, her pain was more tolerable and she was transferred to a rehab facility.  I was fortunate in being able to be with her for 9 precious days, during which she made tremendous progress and is now able to walk with a walker in spite of the large, hard collar around her neck.  We hope she’ll be able to go home soon with a live-in caregiver.  Needless to say, it’s been a stressful time for us as a family and all I can say is that I am blessed to have three wonderful siblings and a niece who lives nearby.  All are sharing the load and it’s been a joy to be able to rely on one another’s strengths.

Cherlie and I are now back in Haiti, ready to re-open the clinic and resume our important activities here.  Thanks to all of you for your prayers on our behalf.  It is a privilege to serve the Lord here with partners like you all.

South Dakota is a long way from Haiti but you wouldn’t think so from the energy and attitudes of the Avera Hospital System teams that come to visit us three times each year.  The gifts they bring, their expertise and their boundless enthusiasm make their visits memorable ones.  We were blessed to have an Avera team with us again at the beginning of October, led by Haiti team coordinator Kathy English, RN.  Her husband, Gil, who is an OB/gyne doctor, accompanied her on this visit, having been here last May.  Word of his visit got out and we ended up seeing record numbers of patients in the clinic with Dr. Gil doing dozens and dozens of Pap tests.  We were grateful for the opportunity to provide this screening modality to our female patients and they were grateful as well!  Dr. Gil also treated some of the patients who had had abnormal Pap test results on previous visits, so that was an added service to them.


Avera team

Here is the team, from left to right top:  Tracy Opdahl, Sarah Campbell, Stephanie Allen, Dr. Gil English.  On the bottom:  Madelyn Cassen, Ashley Walter, Jodi Beach, Kathy English


The Avera teams always bring us lots of needed medications.  They take up lots of luggage space and fill up the table in the residence.

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Table in the residence full of medications brought to us by the Avera team


We always like to keep our visitors busy and one of the best ways is to have them help pack medications in the pharmacy.

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Jodi helps pack medications in the pharmacy.  She also helped type up some important spreadsheets for our water and sanitation program.


On a previous visit, the Avera group brought down plastic signs to put on the clinic walls to identify the rooms.  This time, they brought one specially designed for Cherlie’s triage room.  She was thrilled!

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Cherlie proudly holds up her new room tag.


Dr. Gil was accompanied in his work by Dr. Harold Severe, so Dr. Severe can become proficient in doing pelvic exams and Pap smears.  The teaching was wonderful and it was great to be able to take advantage of Dr. Gil’s expertise.

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Dr. Gil and Kathy English with Dr. Harold Severe


We always love to see the “coincidences” that the Lord plans for us, especially in regard to bringing people to us with the right supplies at the right time.  On the spur of the moment a few days before their departure from the US, I had asked Kathy to bring down a bottle of tetracaine eye drops so I could numb up an eye in case someone came in with a foreign body in the eye.  As “coincidence” would have it, the first day the team was with us, sure enough, I had a patient who had an irritating speck on her eye that needed to be removed with a cotton applicator.  Were it not for the tetracaine drops, I would not have been able to help solve her problem.  The patient jumped for joy when she saw the speck of dirt on the applicator and no longer in her eye!

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Maddy helps Dr. Wolf remove a piece of dirt from the eye of a woman using tetracaine eye drops brought by the team


We always have visiting groups help us out with teaching, both at the clinic and, sometimes, in local communities.  This team did both, with dental teaching at the clinic and hygiene teaching in two local communities.

Stephanie teaching

Stephanie and her translator do dental teaching for our clinic patients.


I think Stephanie probably preferred the following activity, however:

Stephanie baby.jpg

Stephanie holds an infant while her mother was seeing the doctor


Another way in which we kept the team busy was in packing and sterilizing surgical instruments and towels to prepare for the visit of a surgeon later this year.

Tracy sterilization

Tracy preparing surgical instruments for sterilization


The Avera teams offer to perform, transport and read Pap smears so that we can do this important cervical cancer screening test for our patients here in Haiti.  It is a huge service to them so each time word gets out that the Avera team is at our clinic, all the women in the area come running.  They appreciate the service as well as the free gifts that are given out, including sanitary kits!

Sarah Paps.jpg

Sarah waits for the next patient to come for a Pap smear.

Cherlie sanitary kits

Cherlie explains to a patient how to use the washable sanitary kits


Sometimes visiting nurses are able to help out in the same departments in which they work in the US.  Obviously, the setting is a bit different but medical cases are often similar.

Ashley ER.jpg

Ashley, an ER nurse with Avera, gets to help out with a patient in our little Haitian ER.

We are grateful to Avera for their generosity and faithfulness to us and for their dedication to serving our Lord globally through sustainable partnerships and long-term relationships.