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We are blessed at Friends for Health in Haiti to have a number of wonderful partners who help us accomplish our ministry in Haiti.  One of our partners is Avera Health System in Sioux Falls, SD and they donate much-needed medical equipment to us for our clinic in Gatineau.  Another partner is Harvest Call, the mission arm of Apostolic Christian Church (ACC) in Bluffton, IN, who allow us to ship supplies and equipment on their containers coming down to Haiti.  Helping us coordinate all of these supplies and transportation are FHH Logistics Managers Ray and Donna Moon, who are based in Milwaukee.

We recently were notified that a container with equipment of ours arrived at the ACC warehouse in Cayes.  So, we made several trips with our driver in a big box truck to get the equipment, bring it to Jérémie and up to the clinic in Gatineau.  I want to share with you the complicated process!

Delicate clinic equipment is packed in plywood crates in the US in order to ship it down to us safely and without damage.  The crates on this shipment weighed between 1200 and 1800 pounds each and were put on the shipping container with the use of a fork lift.  In Cayes, they were put onto our truck also with use of a fork lift.  But, once they get to our clinic, the crates had to be taken apart on the truck and each piece of equipment removed and taken into the clinic by hand. In other words, the equipment was carried by several strong-bodied young Haitian men!

Taking apart xray crate

The crate containing the portable xray machine being taken apart on the truck.


xray down ramp

The xray machine is maneuvered onto a plywood ramp where it is rolled down to the clinic sidewalk.


All hands (1)

All hands help to get the xray machine carefully from the ramp onto the concrete sidewalk.


xray machine in clinic

End result with xray machine safely in the clinic radiology room.  Hooray!



A similar process was followed to get the ultrasound machine off the truck and into the clinic.

Likewise, three examination tables were taken off the truck and carried into the clinic.  Each table weighed over 500 pounds and boards needed to be placed under the base of the tables to allow them to be carried by several men on each side.

Moving table2

Six men carry one of the examination tables into the clinic.


Cherlie adjusting

Cherlie makes sure the table is positioned correctly and is in good working order.


New exam table

My consultation room received a beautiful new exam table, this one without torn upholstery as the last one had!


Third table

Before moving it off the truck, the table had to be connected to electricity to allow the head to be put flat so it could be carried into the clinic. 

Two of the tables are adjustable, so the gynecologists can adjust the height of the table according to the procedure they are doing.  Dr. Gil and Kathy English acquired them and sent them down to us, thanks to Avera Health System.

We’re grateful to all who were involved in getting this equipment to us and safely into the clinic.  As the Haitian saying goes, “many hands make light work”.

We had another wonderful visit from our Avera partners from South Dakota at the end of May and this visit was dedicated to the care of women. Dr. Gil English, an OB/gyn physician, came down for his fourth visit, along with his wife Kathy, who organizes all the Avera teams. Dr. Gil has been doing Pap smears for our female patients and then follows up with those who have abnormal results. He examines the cervix with a machine called a colposcope, to see if there is evidence of cancerous cells and sometimes does a LEEP procedure to remove cancerous cells if necessary. All of this technology is unheard of in a remote place like Gatineau. But, Avera has helped us bring advanced medical care to our patients and they are grateful. For us in the clinic, we are thrilled to be able to not only diagnose abnormal Pap smears but to also treat early disease that could lead to overt cervical cancer. It is a luxury and we appreciate it very much.

Gil with patient.jpg

Dr. Gil doing a patient consultation


Kathy lab

Kathy English helps out by doing a pregnancy test for one of Dr. Gil’s patients.

Dr. English was trained as a Family Physician before he specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology. So, when he’s in Haiti, he’s often asked to see some of our medical patients. His FP training comes in handy when he’s diagnosing hypertension, diabetes and acid reflux! It’s a huge help to us for him to offer “full service medical care”.

Gil eyes.jpg

Dr. Gil examines a patient’s eyes as part of a complete physical examination

Other members of the Avera team included nurses Caitlin Powell, Kaitlyn Rooney, ultrasound technician Jodi Lienhard and radiology technician Rhonda Engebretson. Everyone pitched in to help where needed as Dr. Gil and I saw over 80 patients a day.

Jodi and Cherlie US.jpg

Jodi does an ultrasound on an OB patient as Cherlie looks on.

Rhonda shoes.jpg

Rhonda helps out by providing new tennis shoes to one of our patients.



Kaitlyn looks on as Cherlie interviews a patient.

While the team was with us, a young boy was brought to the clinic by his parents after falling out of a tree. He had a laceration on the left side of his forehead, but he also had an obvious deformity of the right side of the head that appeared to be a depressed skull fracture. We evaluated him quickly and decided that he should go down to the government hospital in Jérémie for xrays and a surgical evaluation.

Katie skull fx

Dr. Wolf examines a young boy with a head injury and possible skull fracture


Caitlin and Cherlie ER

Caitlin and Cherlie put a dressing on the boy’s laceration before sending him and his family to the hospital in Jérémie

We were pleased to be joined on Wednesday by the Avera “breast team” including Dr. Andrew Soye, Jo Ellen Deschamp and Jill Schultz. They spent the week in Jérémie doing breast exams, ultrasounds and biopsies for breast cancer screening and came to Gatineau on Wednesday to do the same for our rural patients. It was definitely a week for women as we offered both cervical cancer screening and breast cancer screening. We are very grateful to the Avera teams for offering these sophisticated services to our patients. Thank you Avera!

Breast team.jpg

Cherlie and Dr. Wolf pose with the “Avera breast team” (Cherlie, Jill, Rhonda, Dr. Soye, Jo Ellen and Dr. Wolf)