You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2014.

We’ve had a number of significant events in the history of Friends for Health in Haiti since Cherlie and I started our ministry here in 2007.  One of the most significant occurred on Monday, March 17th when we moved all of our patient operations into the new clinic building.  We had been delayed in doing this due to ongoing construction at the site, including some finishing touches being put on the clinic porch and doors.  But with the second story roof poured on the pharmacy/lab/xray building, the site is less “active” now in terms of dump trucks bringing up materials, so we decided it was a good time to make the big move.

Thursday, March 13th we moved all the charts, medications and supplies from our little tin-roofed house clinic over to the new clinic building.  Saturday found us at the site doing some touch-up painting on the porch and inside waiting area.  We took the benches that had been under the previous tin-roofed waiting area inside the house and brought out our new benches onto the new clinic porch.  Monday morning when we got up to the site, the patients were there and waiting, uncertain as to the change that was afoot.  We told them that they were about to make history as the first patients to be treated in the new Centre de Sante de Gatineau!  Those who had been praying for this day were rejoicing along with us, because they knew the obstacles that we had faced in getting these buildings up, painted and furnished.  It didn’t matter that the electricity and water weren’t yet connected.  The natural light coming into the clinic rooms was astounding as was the cool breeze coming across the valley and into the windows.  The walls were smooth and painted, a nice contrast to the falling-apart stucco walls we left behind.  Instead of plastic garbage bags tied to the window or the back of a chair, we now have plastic wastebaskets, conveniently located in each room.  There are drawers and cabinets for our supplies and a storage room for all the extras.  We feel like we are truly in heaven!

Front of the clinic on our beautiful opening day

Front of the clinic on our beautiful opening day

Patients sit on benches on the new clinic porch waiting for consultations to start

Patients sit on benches on the new clinic porch waiting for consultations to start

Cherlie addressing the patients at the start of the new clinic opening day

Cherlie addressing the patients at the start of the new clinic opening day

Dr. Wolf speaking with patients on opening day in the new clinic

Dr. Wolf speaking with patients on opening day in the new clinic

Praying with patients and dedicating the new clinic to the Lord

Praying with patients and dedicating the new clinic to the Lord

Cherlie leading a patient into her fresh, new triage room

Cherlie leading a patient into her fresh, new triage room

Dr. Wolf interviewing a patient in one of the new consultation rooms

Dr. Wolf interviewing a patient in one of the new consultation rooms

Dr. Katie and Cherlie removing sutures from a young patient

Dr. Katie and Cherlie removing sutures from a young patient

Guy-Johns Chevalier works in the temporary pharmacy area set up in the Medical Records room in the new clinic

Guy-Johns Chevalier works in the temporary pharmacy area set up in the Medical Records room in the new clinic

Adrien Jean Jacques registers patients in the Medical Records area of the new clinic.  He also is our clinic chaplain.

Adrien Jean Jacques registers patients in the Medical Records area of the new clinic. He also is our clinic chaplain.

 A patient registers outside at the registration window

A patient registers outside at the registration window

Thanks to all of you who have donated your time, money and energy in making this wonderful clinic possible.  We are rejoicing in the way the Lord has blessed us through you!

THE DENTISTS WERE HERE AGAIN!

For the second year in a row, we’ve had the privilege of hosting a team of dental students and faculty from Temple University in Philadelphia, under the direction of Dr. Jason Bresler.  Six students and faculty set up their portable dental chairs on the front porch of the clinic and pulled teeth for 52 of our patients!  The patients were thrilled with the service and we felt blessed to be able to help provide it to them, due to the generosity of the Temple University team.  Much thanks to all!

Patients waiting to have their teeth pulled by the Temple University dental team

Patients waiting to have their teeth pulled by the Temple University dental team

Temple University dental team sets up on the clinic porch

Temple University dental team sets up on the clinic porch

 Patients getting their teeth pulled and others awaiting their fate!

Patients getting their teeth pulled and others awaiting their fate!

Working on a patient with dental instruments spread out on a table behind

Working on a patient with dental instruments spread out on a table behind

 Dr. Jason Bresler, faculty member and one of the team leaders from Temple University Dental School

Dr. Jason Bresler, faculty member and one of the team leaders from Temple University Dental School

 

CONSTRUCTION NOTES

We recently poured a new surface on the bridge leading up to the clinic site, replete with drainage canals and a sloped surface to prevent mud and water from accumulating on the bridge.  This had been a major problem in the past, so the new surface will successfully resolve it.  Below are photos of the old and new bridge.  The design is thanks to Thomas Lee, architect from NJ.

Bridge prior to its facelift!

Bridge prior to its facelift!

 

New bridge surface.  The rocks near the bridge will be used to fill gabion cages along the sides of the creek above and below the bridge.

New bridge surface. The rocks near the bridge will be used to fill gabion cages along the sides of the creek above and below the bridge.

 New bridge from the side, looking over the creek to the new clinic buildings

New bridge from the side, looking over the creek to the new clinic buildings

We also recently had a Haitian carpenter build doors for the patient latrines.  Most all of our construction work has been done by Haitian workmen.  It’s a great way to provide employment for them and helps them support their families.

Haitian carpenters working on the latrine doors

Haitian carpenters working on the latrine doors

Completed latrine doors

Completed latrine doors

 

As promised, here are some photos from the exciting day last week when we poured the second story roof on the pharmacy/lab/xray building up at our clinic site.  As I show you the photos, I’ll describe some of the processes involved in getting the concrete up to the roof!

The day before the event, the carpenters were busy checking all the framing to be sure it was secure and that all the spaces between the plywood and planks were filled with cardboard or paper to seal them.  In addition, they built 4 ladders that were used for the “bucket brigade” to get the concrete from down on the ground where it was mixed, up to the roof.  When we arrived at the site early Wednesday morning, the crew was already in place and busily working.

There were four ladders set up in place with 2 ladders on each side of the building.  We had two cement mixers in use, one on each side, with each workman assigned to a specific task.  Some filled buckets with sand, some with gravel, some with water and some with cement powder that they put from bags into buckets.  Others carried the bags of cement from the storage building over to the mixing site.  Each batch of concrete has a specific ratio of ingredients and it’s the mixer operator’s job to keep track of what’s going into the mixer.  Here is one of the mixers that was donated to us by Wayne and Joanne Siesennop from Eastbrook Church in Milwaukee.  It was a wonderful thing to be able to have two mixers in use for such a huge job.

Filling the cement mixer with material

Filling the cement mixer with material

Pile of cement bags waiting to be used

Pile of cement bags waiting to be used

There were 6 plastic drums, 3 by each mixer, to hold water for mixing the concrete.  The drums hold 55 gallons each and water was carried in 5 gallon buckets from the creek up a steep hill to the clinic site by two sisters and their two sons.  They filled up 106 drums with water during the day!

Sisters Eveline and Marie carrying buckets of water on their heads from the creek up to the building site.

Sisters Eveline and Marie carrying buckets of water on their heads from the creek up to the building site.

Eveline, her son and nephew taking a break to watch the action

Eveline, her son and nephew taking a break to watch the action

Once mixed, the concrete is scooped into buckets and passed along the ladders up to the top roof.  The workmen who were hired for this task came prepared for the work, with long gloves made out of rubber or denim and various head wear to protect them from the sun:

One of the bucket brigades passing buckets of concrete up to the roof.  Several of them had long gloves that they brought with them for the job.

One of the bucket brigades passing buckets of concrete up to the roof. Several of them had long gloves that they brought with them for the job.

This young man made a hat out of a cement bag.  It served its purpose well and held up all day!  Another has a hoodie on without the shirt to go with it!

This young man made a hat out of a cement bag. It served its purpose well and held up all day! Another has a hoodie on without the shirt to go with it!

Once the buckets get up on the roof, they are emptied into wheelbarrows that are then wheeled across the roof to the area being worked on.

Wheelbarrows carrying the concrete over to the side of the roof where work is being done.

Wheelbarrows carrying the concrete over to the side of the roof where work is being done.

Once the concrete is poured out, another crew of masons are there to smooth it out, make it level and then put a sealing coat of cement on the top.  There were 2-3 sets of masons working on both sides of the roof at the same time.

First the concrete was smoothed out with a rake

First the concrete was smoothed out with a rake

Then, it was made level by the masons

Then, it was made level by the masons

The final sealing coat being spread over the area that is already packed down and level

The final sealing coat being spread over the area that is already packed down and level

Early in the day, both bucket brigades were kept busy and the concrete was poured along the edges and moved toward the middle.

Lots of iron rebar is visible on the roof and not much concrete early in the day.

Lots of iron rebar is visible on the roof and not much concrete early in the day.

Later in the day when the roof is almost all concrete.

Later in the day when the roof is almost all concrete.

There were a few interesting side issues involved in the roof pour as well.  For one thing, while most of the workmen were involved with the concrete, one of them was tending to the issue of cooking for the whole group that numbered over 100:

3 pots of rice and beans already cooked.  Next up was the goat!

3 pots of rice and beans already cooked. Next up was the goat!

The carpenters kept a watchful eye on the roof the entire day, since any disruption in the wood framing could result in a disastrous collapse!

Carpenter Jacob Pierre watches carefully as the masons do their work

Carpenter Jacob Pierre watches carefully as the masons do their work

Periodically throughout the day, some ominous looking clouds appeared.  Fortunately, none of them brought any rain.

Ominous looking clouds during the day

Ominous looking clouds during the day

In order to get the buckets up to the roof at the far end, the carpenters built a scaffold for the upper ladder to sit on.  It was evident that one couldn’t be afraid of heights and work on that scaffold!

Scaffold appears to be suspended in the sky

Scaffold appears to be suspended in the sky

While they were working, the head contractor, Boss Jean Lenor, wrote down the names of all the workers, ensuring that they would get paid at the end of the day:

Boss Jean Lenor in the straw hat writing down worker’s names as they work

Boss Jean Lenor in the straw hat writing down worker’s names as they work

Everyone periodically needs a break, right?

Two of the shovel workers taking a break to watch the others work

Two of the shovel workers taking a break to watch the others work

One of the fun things during the day was watching the buckets come down from the top roof.  When the workers poured the concrete into the wheelbarrows, they threw the buckets onto the floor of the roof.  Then, when the wheelbarrow was full, they took each bucket and threw it down to a worker on the lower roof, who then threw it down onto the sand on the ground by the mixer.  Here are a couple of airborne buckets:

Bucket in the air as it goes from the roof down one story

Bucket in the air as it goes from the roof down one story

Here’s the bucket as it’s being caught

Here’s the bucket as it’s being caught

Bucket thrown off the scaffold onto the ground by the cement mixer

Bucket thrown off the scaffold onto the ground by the cement mixer

As the finishing touches were put on the back side of the roof, everyone congregated at the front, leading to the question “How many people can a roof hold?”

Masons finish the final coat on the back side of the roof

Masons finish the final coat on the back side of the roof

Everyone congregates at the front of the roof toward the end of the day.

Everyone congregates at the front of the roof toward the end of the day.

Masons appear to be hanging in the valley as they finish the back corner of the roof.

Masons appear to be hanging in the valley as they finish the back corner of the roof.

And, then there were only a few as the sun started to go down and the work was nearly finished.

Final touches are put on the roof by the masons as the sun goes down.

Final touches are put on the roof by the masons as the sun goes down.

A wonderful, successful day of work that started so early was finally coming to a close.  Praise be to the Lord for his blessings!

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