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By Dr. Katie Wolf

The month of January is already speeding by and I feel like I wasn’t quite finished with December!  We had a peaceful holiday season here in Haiti with warm, sunny weather and fewer patients in our clinic than usual.  Many people assumed that we would be closed during the holiday, so they didn’t attempt to walk several hours to find out it wasn’t so!  We rewarded our pediatric patients with toy cars and beanie babies, and gave out lots of pillowcase dresses to the little girls.  It was fun to bring some joy into our little patients’ lives, especially during the special holiday time.

Young girl holding her new beanie baby gift

Young girl holding her new beanie baby gift

Construction has continued to move forward, for which we are very grateful.  The stairwell addition is nearly completed and the front of it blends in well with the rest of the pharmacy/lab/xray building.

View of the stairwell addition at the right side of the lab/xray/pharmacy building

View of the stairwell addition at the right side of the lab/xray/pharmacy building

The stairs inside the stairwell addition were recently framed and poured, allowing us to walk up to the second floor, rather than climbing up and down a ladder.

Stairwell before stairs are framed and poured

Stairwell before stairs are framed and poured

Framing the stairs prior to pouring the concrete

Framing the stairs prior to pouring the concrete

Stairs after framing is removed

Stairs after framing is removed

The roof on top of the second floor residence is in the process of being framed.  This involves placing 2×4’s, on top of which plywood is placed, then iron rebar and then the concrete is poured.  The frame is held up with bamboo, placed every 1-2 feet under the 2×4’s.  The carpenters requested 50 dozen bamboo poles to accomplish the framing!  That’s a lot of bamboo.  We buy a bamboo stand, have a group of men cut the bamboo and then transport it to the road, where the dump truck picks it up and takes it to the site.  Here’s the dump truck taking a load of bamboo:

Load of bamboo poles going up to the construction site on our dump truck

Load of bamboo poles going up to the construction site on our dump truck

Bamboo poles waiting to be used up at the site

Bamboo poles waiting to be used up at the site

We also have bought a lot of wood planks that are used for the borders of the roof.  The planks come from local trees that are cut down, then cut by hand to the thickness desired for the planks.  Many of them are “veritab” or breadfruit trees and planks are very sturdy and durable and do well for framing like this.  Here are some “veritab” planks that we bought recently:

Breadfruit tree (veritab) planks at the clinic site waiting to be used for framing

Breadfruit tree (veritab) planks at the clinic site waiting to be used for framing

A few weeks ago, I came upon an interesting site while the carpenters were at work.  In order to frame up the beams and roof on the stairwell addition, they had actually built a scaffold in a tree next to the stairwell.  Here’s a photo of their “tree house”:

Scaffold built into a tree near the stairwell addition

Scaffold built into a tree near the stairwell addition

The past month has seen construction on a small house built over the well that was previously dug on the clinic site.  This house will protect the well and allow access to the water pump that will pump water up to the cistern on the side of the hill, after which water will flow by gravity into the clinic buildings.

After the floor was poured, the walls began to go up:

Walls going up on the pump house

Walls going up on the pump house

Completion of walls on the pump house

Completion of walls on the pump house

Framing prior to pouring the pump house roof on December 31st

Framing prior to pouring the pump house roof on December 31st

One of the big projects the workmen have undertaken these past few months has been to pour another surface on top of the bridge, in order to improve drainage.  The columns were re-done to make them more sturdy and a new floor was poured over the bridge.  Here are photos showing the improved bridge construction:

Bridge prior to pouring the new floor

Bridge prior to pouring the new floor

Digging out the sides of the bridge before filling with rocks and gravel

Digging out the sides of the bridge before filling with rocks and gravel

First day of pouring new concrete bridge floor with creation of drainage ditch at top of the bridge

First day of pouring new concrete bridge floor with creation of drainage ditch at top of the bridge

Pouring the concrete floor of the bridge

Pouring the concrete floor of the bridge

Stay tuned for future photos of the completed bridge!

Framing has begun on the roof of the second floor residence, in preparation for pouring the concrete roof.

Here is a photo of the walls and upper beams as of December 24th:

Second floor walls and beams

Second floor walls and beams

Nearly completed framing of the roof:

Bamboo poles holding up the plywood framing for the second floor roof

Bamboo poles holding up the plywood framing for the second floor roof

Bamboo poles being placed under the roof framing

Bamboo poles being placed under the roof framing

We are blessed this week with the return of architect Tom Lee and a work group from several churches in the New Brunswick Presbytery in NJ, including my home church in Kingston, NJ.  Tom is offering his expertise and helping to supervise all aspects of construction and the rest of the team is painting and building shelving for the new pharmacy building.  We’re excited to have them here and feel privileged to share our ministry with them, as we are with all of our visitors.  Please pray for the Lord’s blessing on all of our activities this week.

Dr. Katie Wolf writes the following from Haiti:

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Cherlie and I and the rest of the staff of Centre de Sante de Gatineau and Friends for Health in Haiti would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We would also like to thank all of our donors, volunteers, prayer supporters and friends for your wonderful support and encouragement to us in our ministry here in Haiti.  We are grateful for your partnership with us and for the sacrifices you have made to work with us, visit us and support us.  You are the BEST!!!

THE BOY WITHOUT A NAME HAS A NAME!!!

When Cherlie and I see patients in our clinic in Gatineau, we often hear “life stories” from our patients – stories that tell us about their lives and the events that have led them to our doors.  Some of the stories are requests for advice (excellently offered by Cherlie, who is a great counselor), some are explanations about hardship and very occasionally they are celebratory and happy.

In our last newsletter, I shared with you a story about a little 3 year old boy whose mother died and who was taken in by his grandparents, who had never met him and didn’t even know his name.  Well, last week we saw the little boy again with his grandmother and he was active and talkative and obviously being well cared for by Grandma.  It turns out that his name is Lucson, something that he finally was able to communicate to his grandparents, and his little brother’s name is Eric.  Lucson was full of energy during his visit to me.  It was obvious that he liked the children’s chewable vitamins that he had been given on his first visit because he repeatedly said to me “The vitamins are all finished.  The vitamins are finished!”   Needless to say, I refilled his prescription for vitamins and sent him off as a happy camper!  During this holiday season, you can say a little prayer for Lucson and Eric and their wonderful grandparents who are providing a warm, secure home for them.  What a happy story for the holidays!

A happy Lucson on his follow-up clinic visit

A happy Lucson on his follow-up clinic visit

NEIGHBORLY LOVE

One of Cherlie’s tasks in our life in Haiti stems from her sense of community and desire to be a good neighbor to those around us.  She has the task of being “Public Relations Manager” for those living around us, whether it’s workmen who work at our house, farmers who help with gardening or neighbors with financial, medical and personal problems.  She’s there for all of them – spending time with them, making visits to their homes, helping where she can to be a good neighbor and have a positive Christian witness.  One of the neighbors across the road has a little granddaughter that Cherlie has befriended and when she came over a few weeks ago to show Cherlie her report card from school, she was rewarded with several beautiful pillowcase dresses, made by women back in NJ and Wisconsin.  Beautiful girl and beautiful dress!  Thanks women!

Cherseska, the granddaughter of our neighbor across the road

Cherseska, the granddaughter of our neighbor across the road

NO BLOG IS COMPLETE WITHOUT A CONSTRUCTION REPORT!

We enjoy keeping our supporters and friends informed with regard to the progress being made on construction of our new clinic, pharmacy/lab/xray building and residence quarters.  Here are some highlights from the past few weeks at the construction site:

The second floor residence quarters is going up quickly and the upper beams have now been framed and are in the process of being poured.

Carpenters are framing the beams at the front of the second floor residence

Carpenters are framing the beams at the front of the second floor residence

Iron worker placing rebar under the hot sun

Iron worker placing rebar under the hot sun

Scaffold put up by the carpenters to frame and put rebar in the beams

Scaffold put up by the carpenters to frame and put rebar in the beams

Front beams poured and framing removed

Front beams poured and framing removed

Beams inside the second floor rooms poured

Beams inside the second floor rooms poured

In order to access the second floor residence, it was necessary to build a stairwell that goes from the ground level, which is the original level of the land before any grading was done, up a floor to the pharmacy/lab/xray building floor level and then up another flight to the second floor residence level.   On the second floor, we decided to make an outside kitchen for the residence quarters, so we can have a Haitian cook prepare meals on charcoal fires, which is more economical and is the cooking fuel most Haitian cooks are used to.

Here are some photos from the stairwell-building process:

Block walls are going up on the middle level of the stairwell (same level as the clinic and pharmacy/lab/xray building floor)

Block walls are going up on the middle level of the stairwell (same level as the clinic and pharmacy/lab/xray building floor)

View from outside of the stairwell going from below ground level up to the second floor residence level

View from outside of the stairwell going from below ground level up to the second floor residence level

Getting a peek at the heavens through a window on the stairwell

Getting a peek at the heavens through a window on the stairwell

Electricians placing electrical conduits and ceiling boxes before pouring the roof of the stairwell at the second level

Electricians placing electrical conduits and ceiling boxes before pouring the roof of the stairwell at the second level

While all this work has been going on at the stairwell and second floor residence, part of the work crew has been making good progress building a pump house to enclose our newly-dug well.

The foundation walls of the pump house have been built, after which the columns will be poured as well as a concrete floor.  The building is being constructed to keep the well and well pump secure.

The foundation walls of the pump house have been built, after which the columns will be poured as well as a concrete floor. The building is being constructed to keep the well and well pump secure.

The finishing stucco was put on the sidewalk and roof that goes from the clinic building to the pharmacy/lab/xray building.  There is a small sidewalk going from a side door of the clinic over to the main sidewalk and the stucco work on that sidewalk led to some interesting comments from the Haitian workers.  Every one of them who looked at the area beneath the sidewalk said the same thing to us:  “What are you going to put in the space under the sidewalk?  It’s big enough for a two-room house.”  We didn’t have plans for anything there, but now that they mention it………!

Area under the stairwell that is big enough for a two room house!

Area under the stairwell that is big enough for a two room house!

MANY THANKS TO OUR VISITORS!

We would never have been able to make the progress that we have this year without the assistance and expertise of many wonderful volunteer visitors.  To all of you who have given of your time, money and energy to endure our hot weather and rocky roads to sweat and toil with us, we say a huge THANK YOU!  And, for those who have given financially to assist these volunteers, we give another huge THANK YOU!

We were blessed with having several visitors this past month.  Here are some highlights:

Master cabinetmaker Bob Chase made his third trip down here this year from Milwaukee to complete the installation of desks, counters and cabinets in the clinic for us.

Here is Bob putting concrete down on plywood countertops, after which ceramic tile was placed.  It was quite a challenge to work with Haitian cement, rather than the thin-set variety that he’s used to at home!

Here is Bob putting concrete down on plywood countertops, after which ceramic tile was placed. It was quite a challenge to work with Haitian cement, rather than the thin-set variety that he’s used to at home!

Cabinets along one wall in the Emergency Room

Cabinets along one wall in the Emergency Room

Sink, cabinet and writing desk in one of the examination rooms

Sink, cabinet and writing desk in one of the examination rooms

Desks in the registration/medical records room, handmade by Bob

Desks in the registration/medical records room, handmade by Bob

Each office has a desk and shelves on the wall

Each office has a desk and shelves on the wall

We were all blessed to have 4 additional visitors from Milwaukee the second week Bob was here.  Ray and Donna Moon and Yvonne Ducharme have made many trips to Haiti in the past, but this time they were accompanied by Yvonne’s brother Lawrence.  They all had the wonderful experience of driving out to Jérémie from Port-au-Prince, part of it in the dark, leading them to ask repeatedly “Are you sure this is the road?”  They got their fill of our roads as they rode up to the clinic site and back every day!  And, they even had energy to accomplish some very significant tasks.

Donna and Ray Moon helped Bob by laying all the ceramic tile on the countertops in the clinic.

Donna and Ray Moon helped Bob by laying all the ceramic tile on the countertops in the clinic.

Lawrence and Yvonne cutting wood for clinic windows.  Lawrence came prepared with his hard hat and tool belt!

Lawrence and Yvonne cutting wood for clinic windows. Lawrence came prepared with his hard hat and tool belt!

Lawrence built these shelves in a storage room and Donna and Yvonne sorted through 12 drums of medical supplies, organizing them in plastic totes for use in the clinic.

Lawrence built these shelves in a storage room and Donna and Yvonne sorted through 12 drums of medical supplies, organizing them in plastic totes for use in the clinic.

The team even had time to put up a toilet paper holder in the clinic bathroom!

The team even had time to put up a toilet paper holder in the clinic bathroom!

Here’s Cherlie and her new best friend Ray!

Here’s Cherlie and her new best friend Ray!

The whole group stops for a photo:  Bob, Donna, Ray, Lawrence, Yvonne, Cherlie and Katie.

The whole group stops for a photo: Bob, Donna, Ray, Lawrence, Yvonne, Cherlie and Katie.

During the Milwaukee team’s visit, we also were able to have a couple of days with a mother-daughter nurse practitioner team from Houston.  Susan Collins and her daughter Mary helped see patients in the clinic with the assistance of translator James:

Susan and Mary interview a patient with James’ help.

Susan and Mary interview a patient with James’ help.

HAVE A BLESSED, PEACEFUL HOLIDAY SEASON.

WE LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Katie and Cherlie

by Dr. Katie Wolf

I just spent a couple of weeks back in the US attending meetings and taking care of lots of business.  Cherlie kept the construction crew on target and they accomplished several important things while I was away.

The sidewalk between the main clinic building and the pharmacy/lab/xray building was poured and framing was started for the roof over the sidewalk.  The roof just got poured on Friday, and once the framing is removed we’ll be able to walk from one building to the other.

The sidewalk between the two buildings has been poured and framing is in place for the roof.

The sidewalk between the two buildings has been poured and framing is in place for the roof.

Progress was made on the stairwell that will go up to the second floor residence quarters, with the floor of the stairwell poured and block walls going up.

Block walls being built in the area of the stairwell going up to the second floor residence.

Block walls being built in the area of the stairwell going up to the second floor residence.

One of the frustrating things about construction here in Haiti is the lack of attention to clean up.  Workmen, for the most part, don’t like to assemble pieces of blocks and wood that they’ve used in building a structure, so these objects tend to lay around the yard for weeks and months on end.  The area around the outdoor latrine was especially “messy” with wood scraps lying on top of rocks that had been stacked up in the latrine excavation.  We arranged with a group of young men to clean up the area and smooth down the rocks around the latrine.  Here are some before and after photos:

Area around the latrine before clean-up

Area around the latrine before clean-up

Area around the latrine after clean-up

Area around the latrine after clean-up

Good progress has been made on construction of the second floor residence quarters.  The iron workers are in the process of placing rebar to form beams at the top of the walls.  These beams will be poured later this week, after which framing will begin for the roof.

Ironwork placed along the top of the walls of the second floor, forming the beams.  Concrete will be poured to make the beams later this week.

Ironwork placed along the top of the walls of the second floor, forming the beams. Concrete will be poured to make the

Thanks again for all your prayers that make such progress possible!

by Dr. Katie Wolf

The two week visit from Bob and Audrey Chase and Don Richmond from Elmbrook Church in Wisconsin came to an end this weekend with almost everything completed on the cabinetry for the clinic.  The team worked extremely hard, taking only one day off, and made thirteen round trips to the clinic site up in the mountains.  Most of the mornings were sunny, but there were frequent afternoon rains, so many of the trips down the mountain involved lots of slipping and sliding in the mud.  They were real troopers, though, and maintained their energy and enthusiasm right through to the end.  Much thanks to all three for their hard work, dedication and expertise on behalf of FHH and the Haitian people we serve.  And a special thanks goes to those who prayed them through each day.

Here are some highlights from their final week of work:

In addition to organizing all the desk, cabinet and drawer parts, Audrey varnished the drawers and shelves.  Here she is hard at work with her paint brush.

In addition to organizing all the desk, cabinet and drawer parts, Audrey varnished the drawers and shelves. Here she is hard at work with her paint brush.

The Medical Records/registration room has a window that is accessible from the outside and two large desks.  Patients will register here and get their charts at the beginning of the clinic day.

The Medical Records/registration room has a window that is accessible from the outside and two large desks. Patients will register here and get their charts at the beginning of the clinic day.

Each of the three staff offices will have a desk and wall cabinet above it.  Here is a nearly completed desk and cabinet.

Each of the three staff offices will have a desk and wall cabinet above it. Here is a nearly completed desk and cabinet.

Each of the 4 examination rooms has a sink with counter and a small writing desk in addition to a large cabinet that will be put up on the wall above the desk.  The Emergency Room/observation area will have these cabinets along the wall, covered with a counter top.  They’ll provide ample room for supplies to use in taking care of our ill patients.

Each of the 4 examination rooms has a sink with counter and a small writing desk in addition to a large cabinet that will be put up on the wall above the desk. The Emergency Room/observation area will have these cabinets along the wall, covered with a counter top. They’ll provide ample room for supplies to use in taking care of our ill patients.

Bob was busy putting finishing touches on the cabinets in his last few days of work.  He built the cabinets at his home workshop in Wisconsin, then took them apart to ship down to Haiti and put them back together down here.  Fortunately all the parts were numbered and Audrey made sure they all went in the right place!

Bob was busy putting finishing touches on the cabinets in his last few days of work. He built the cabinets at his home workshop in Wisconsin, then took them apart to ship down to Haiti and put them back together down here. Fortunately all the parts were numbered and Audrey made sure they all went in the right place!

Don Richmond helped with the sanding and varnishing in addition to getting to know our two young clinic workers Adrien (left) and Guy-Johns (right).  Both young men are from the area and have been willing helpers both in the clinic and in the construction work.  They helped us paint inside the new building in preparation for installation of the cabinets.

Don Richmond helped with the sanding and varnishing in addition to getting to know our two young clinic workers Adrien (left) and Guy-Johns (right). Both young men are from the area and have been willing helpers both in the clinic and in the construction work. They helped us paint inside the new building in preparation for installation of the cabinets.

On our final night together, Don presented Bob with a Haitian machete!  Here is Bob with his new gift.  Audrey doesn’t look like she trusts him with it!

On our final night together, Don presented Bob with a Haitian machete! Here is Bob with his new gift. Audrey doesn’t look like she trusts him with it!

AND OF COURSE THERE’S MORE CONSTRUCTION!

As the visitors were busy working on the clinic furnishings, the Haitian workers poured the roof of the outdoor patient latrine.  Here are some photos from September 16, 2013:

Pouring the latrine roof

Pouring the latrine roof

A small version of the “bucket brigade”

A small version of the “bucket brigade”.

Masonry foreman Mackenson stood on top of the clinic roof, supervising the roof pour and giving instructions to the workers below.

Masonry foreman Mackenson stood on top of the clinic roof, supervising the roof pour and giving instructions to the workers below.

This week the workers started laying blocks for the residence quarters, on the second floor of the lab/xray/pharmacy building.  This new phase of construction is a very exciting one for us because completion of the residence facility will allow us to stay up at the site and have the clinic open five days a week.  Thanks to all who have contributed to us financially so that this new step can be taken.

Before being able to lay the concrete blocks, they first needed to be transported up onto the roof.  First, they were brought one by one from the area where they were made up to the area in front of the lab/xray/pharmacy building

Before being able to lay the concrete blocks, they first needed to be transported up onto the roof. First, they were brought one by one from the area where they were made up to the area in front of the lab/xray/pharmacy building

Then, the blocks were handed up an assembly line on a ladder to the roof where they were cemented in place.

Then, the blocks were handed up an assembly line on a ladder to the roof where they were cemented in place.

 

Here are the masons laying block walls on the second floor residence quarters

Here are the masons laying block walls on the second floor residence quarters

Five rows of block are in place along the front of the building

Five rows of block are in place along the front of the building

Workers bringing mortar in buckets up to the roof where the blocks are being laid

Workers bringing mortar in buckets up to the roof where the blocks are being laid

 

View of the new walls going up after the first day of work

View of the new walls going up after the first day of work

As always, thank you for your prayers and encouragement for us and our Haitian workers.

By Dr. Katie Wolf

This past week, we have had the privilege of hosting Bob and Audrey Chase and Don Richmond from Elmbrook Church in Wisconsin.  Bob is an expert cabinetmaker who pre-fabricated cabinets for our clinic in his shop in New Berlin, WI last fall.  We shipped them down here in a shipping container being sent to Haiti by Food For The Poor, thanks to the intervention of Karl Ralian of Waukesha, WI.  The shipping container was delayed in being shipped to Haiti due to a backup of containers in the Haitian customs department last fall, so Bob was unable to come install the cabinets in February as originally scheduled.  We re-scheduled the visit for this month and Bob and his wife Audrey and Don Richmond are now hard at work putting the cabinets together and installing them in the clinic rooms that Cherlie and I (with some local helpers) recently painted.

The work is going very well, and the crew is being helped by several of the masonry workers who are up there building our reservoir and latrines.  Here are some photos from the week:

Audrey Chase and Don Richmond varnishing drawer pieces

Audrey Chase and Don Richmond varnishing drawer pieces

Varnished drawer pieces set out to dry in the sun on the front porch of the clinic

Varnished drawer pieces set out to dry in the sun on the front porch of the clinic

After helping to set up and organize the work site, Cherlie joined in to help the varnishing team

After helping to set up and organize the work site, Cherlie joined in to help the varnishing team

Bob sorting through all the pre-fabricated pieces of cabinetry that were shipped down

Bob sorting through all the pre-fabricated pieces of cabinetry that were shipped down

Bob holding up the first cabinet that was assembled on the site.

Bob holding up the first cabinet that was assembled on the site.

Bob and Audrey relaxing after the first day of work

Bob and Audrey relaxing after the first day of work

The team will be with us for two weeks.  Please continue to pray for their strength, perseverance and safety in this important work that they are doing for us.  Their dedication and diligence has been a blessing and a testimony to all the construction workers who are also on the site with them.  Mutual respect and appreciation has been evident as they all interact together, for God’s glory and for the good of the Haitian people that we serve.

by Dr. Katie Wolf,  Jeremie, Haiti

The past few weeks have brought some rain to our area, a brief trip to the US for me and continued construction progress.  Here are some new photos to show you that the work continues to go on!

The floor of the outdoor latrine was poured and the walls have gone up.  Here are the workmen pouring the columns of the latrine:

Pouring latrine columns

Pouring latrine columns

No good work gets done without a qualified supervisor.  Here’s Cherlie giving pointers on how to finish the latrine:

Cherlie inspecting latrine

Cherlie inspecting latrine

Meanwhile, the pipes have been hooked up to the septic tank.  Now, all we need is water to flush the toilets!

Septic tank pipes

Septic tank pipes

The walls of the reservoir up on the hill are being built as well:

Reservoir rock wall

Reservoir rock wall

Remember the blog where I mentioned that the workmen are living up at the site and cooking their own meals?  Well, here is a pot of rice and beans on the fire with the chief cook standing by:

Cooking pot and cook

Cooking pot and cook

We’ve had a number of thunderstorms in the afternoons lately, which is good for the farmers but leads to a slippery ride down the mountain.  A storm was on its way when I took this photo of afternoon fog in the valley behind the clinic:

Afternoon fog in the valley

Afternoon fog in the valley

UPDATE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION-MINDED

by Dr. Katie Wolf

For those of you who enjoy following our construction progress, here are some photos from the past couple of weeks.  We have had a very dry summer here, which is not good for the crops, but is very good for our construction.  Rain makes it hard to get materials up to the site and for the workers to work, but, fortunately, the rain that has fallen has been mostly at night and the road is dry by the time the truck starts up the mountain.  We’re grateful for these signs of God’s grace!  Thanks for your prayers and wonderful support!

The stucco work on the pharmacy/lab/xray building is moving along quickly.  The inside of the building is finished, as is the front porch.  This week the masons are finishing up the two sides and back of the building and then it will be done!

Masons doing stucco work on scaffolding on one side of the pharmacy building

Masons doing stucco work on scaffolding on one side of the pharmacy building

Here is the nearly completed side wall

Here is the nearly completed side wall

The patient latrine was dug to a depth of 10 feet, after which a retaining wall was built to prevent collapse of the top of the hole.  Here are the rock walls being built:

RockWalls_Latrine

Rock walls along the sides of the latrine to prevent collapse

Here the walls are up and the framing is built for pouring the concrete columns.  The latrine will be dug down another 10 feet deeper to increase its capacity

Here the walls are up and the framing is built for pouring the concrete columns. The latrine will be dug down another 10 feet deeper to increase its capacity

Here is the clinic building with the latrine behind it and the septic tank further down the slope

Here is the clinic building with the latrine behind it and the septic tank further down the slope

In order to store water to flow down by gravity into the clinic buildings, we’re building a concrete reservoir or cistern on the side of the mountain above the clinic.  Here is the base of the reservoir, dug into the ground a few feet to stabilize the concrete slab that will be the floor:

Base for the reservoir that will hold 10,000 gallons of water

Base for the reservoir that will hold 10,000 gallons of water

Rocks piled up in front of the clinic to be used for the latrine and for the water reservoir up the hill.

Rocks piled up in front of the clinic to be used for the latrine and for the water reservoir up the hill.

Behind the storage depot is the hill on which the reservoir will sit.  When the initial excavation of the land was done using a borrowed backhoe and bulldozer, the mountain wasn’t cut back far enough to allow for drainage and prevention of erosion.  So, for the past few weeks, we’ve employed several strong, young men to cut back the mountain using pick-axes and shovels.  Here’s part of the wall that they’ve cut back:

Cutting back the mountain

 

AND, FOR THE MEDICALLY-MINDED

Last week, this little boy came into the clinic, holding a bloody rag to his face from a laceration he sustained in a fall.  He was changing his goat’s grazing location and tripped, falling onto a sharp rock on the ground.  Fortunately, his mother lives nearby and brought him quickly to the clinic to be seen.  Since it was a fresh laceration, we took time from our other patients to sew him up.  He was a model patient, never flinching with the local anesthetic injections or the sutures.  In fact, he slept through the whole procedure!  Here he is a week later, ready to have his sutures removed:

Facial laceration a week after being sutured

Facial laceration a week after being sutured

For those of you astute clinicians, I want to assure you that, in addition to fixing his laceration, we also treated his fungal scalp infection!

Bad case of tinea capitis

Bad case of tinea capitis

Every once in a while, we have the opportunity of attending activities at the government hospital in Jérémie.  A good friend of ours, Concepcia Pamphile, is the Assistant Medical Director of the hospital and she invited us to attend the dedication ceremony for a new Maternity Wing of the hospital.  This occasion also corresponded with the celebration of the hospital’s 90th year of existence!  Attending the ceremony was the Minister of Health, who I was privileged to meet.

Haiti’s Minister of Health, Dr. Florence Guillaume, addresses the audience

Haiti’s Minister of Health, Dr. Florence Guillaume, addresses the audience

Banner announcing the dedication of the new Maternity Wing of Hopital Saint Antoine

Banner announcing the dedication of the new Maternity Wing of Hopital Saint Antoine

By Dr. Katie Wolf

During these past two weeks we saw great progress on our water and waste situation.  The walls of the septic tank were completed, after which the inside walls were sealed:

Sealing coat of stucco being put on the walls of the septic tank

Sealing coat of stucco being put on the walls of the septic tank

Then, the roof was framed and poured:

Pouring the roof

Pouring the roof

Completed roof of the septic tank with access holes in the top

Completed roof of the septic tank with access holes in the top

In addition, the hole was dug for our 4-room patient latrine.  After reaching a depth of 10 feet, a rock wall will be constructed to keep the walls from collapsing, after which it will be dug another 10 feet.

Patient latrine hole

Patient latrine hole

The site for building a water reservoir on the top of the hill above the clinic was also staked out this week.  A small foundation is being dug for that, after which walls and columns will be built.

Meanwhile, all the final stucco work on the inside of the pharmacy building was completed and the porch outside is now being worked on.

Stucco work on the porch of the pharmacy building

Stucco work on the porch of the pharmacy building

Thanks to your faithful prayers we are making great progress with our construction!

Construction at our clinic site is back in full swing again, after a lull that came after the roof of the pharmacy building was poured.  We’ve changed to a new construction team and they are working quickly to finish everything that needs to be completed for us to be a fully functional outpatient clinic.  Below are photos of construction events from the past few weeks:

Completion of the stucco work on 3 storage areas under the pharmacy building:

Storage Areas

Storage Areas

Stucco work is almost completed on the inside of the pharmacy building:

Inside stucco

Inside stucco

Placing Electrical

Placing Electrical

In spite of periodic breakdowns, our faithful dump truck and driver continue to bring materials up to the site:

Dump Truck Delivering Materials

Dump Truck Delivering Materials

While the masonry was being done in the pharmacy building, another crew was digging a hole for a large septic tank.  Here is the hole after a week of digging through rock and dirt:

Septic Tank Pit Finished

Septic Tank Pit Finished

Then, iron bars were laid to reinforce the floor, after which a concrete floor was poured:

Septic tank ironwork

Septic tank ironwork

Rock walls then went up and PVC pipes were put through the wall to allow for inflow of waste water into the tank:

Rock wall septic

Rock wall septic

Digging has also started on a 4-hole latrine for our patients:

Digging latrine

Digging latrine

Cherlie and I have entered into the construction arena as well, by beginning to paint the inside of the main clinic building.  It already was painted with a coat of primer paint, but now we’re painting with the real colors!  Here’s Cherlie showing how it’s supposed to be done:

Cherlie painting

Cherlie paintingPHOTO:  Cherlie painting

We’ve been joined in our efforts each Saturday but 3 local young men:

Young Men Paiinting

Young Men Painting

We’ve appreciated the help and they’ve been happy to learn a new skill!

By Dr. Katie Wolf

On a beautiful, clear sunny day in southwestern Haiti, February 23, 2013, the Health Center of Gatineau (Centre de Sante de Gatineau) was dedicated in a ceremony attended by over 300 people.  Those attending included leaders and officials from local communities as well as the town of Jérémie, representatives from business and other non-profit organizations, local priests and pastors and hundreds of clinic patients.  It was a joyful, fun-filled celebration of God’s goodness in helping us to complete (nearly!) construction on a new, permanent clinic building.

The Master of Ceremonies was Concepcia Pamphile, the Assistant Medical Director of Hopital Saint Antoine, the government hospital in Jérémie.  Pastor Felix Leconte Belace, pastor of a local non-denominational church near the clinic and a patient of ours, gave the invocation, after which a group of young people from his church sang a song of adoration to the Lord.  There were speeches from two local community members as well as dancing and an offering of fruit from the Gatineau community.

Cherlie gave an impassioned speech describing some of the obstacles that we faced in the construction process and the victory that we all feel with completion of the clinic building.  I then thanked everyone for coming, including several members of the Board of Directors of FHH who were present, and I pledged cooperation with the Haitian Public Health Department, local government hospital, other non-profit organizations and others who are working to improve health in Haiti.  I also thanked everyone who has worked with us over the past few years, including local officials, construction workers, businessmen and women, and engineers, all of whom worked with us to make our vision a reality.  Finally, I thanked our families who sacrifice in having us here on a fulltime basis and thanked the Lord, who gave us direction and enabled us to persevere to completion of our goals.

Those from the US who attended the ceremony and helped, both with preparation and with the festivities included Worldteam missionary Joyce Throness, FHH board members Timothy Bedient, Neal Meitler and George Jelich, and friends Lisa and Isabelle Jergens, Megan Caley, Ralph Minor and Maura Myles.

The ceremony began around 9:10am and concluded at 10:30am with a dance performed by young people from a local Catholic parish.  Refreshments were served and the guests had a chance to tour the building and interact with one another.  It was a very blessed time and we all felt that the Lord really was a part of it.  The weather was wonderful, the grounds were beautiful and the clinic looked astounding with its bright white primer paint and green and white balloons and decorations.

Rejoice with us as you look at the following photos from the grand event:

Making final preparations

Making final preparations

The decorated clinic

The decorated clinic

Speakers for the ceremony - Dr. Katie Wolf, RN Cherlie Severe, Concepcia Pamphile, & Manite Louis

Speakers for the ceremony – Dr. Katie Wolf, RN Cherlie Severe, Concepcia Pamphile, & Manite Louis

Dr. Katie Wolf thanks local community members

Dr. Katie Wolf thanks local community members

Ceremony attendees from Jérémie and surrounding communities...

Ceremony attendees from Jérémie and surrounding communities…

…over 300 total attendees!

Cherlie makes closing remarks

Cherlie makes closing remarks

FHH board members George Jelich and Neal Meitler

FHH board members George Jelich and Neal Meitler

A long-time patient celebrates the clinic opening

A long-time patient celebrates the clinic opening

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