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We recently had a visit from ten members of churches in the New Brunswick, NJ Presbytery, including several from my (Dr. Wolf’s) home church in Kingston, NJ. It was a delight having them here and we experienced many great activities together. Some of the team members have been down here multiple times in the past and several were first-timers. But, they all worked hard and we hope everyone had a fulfilling and enjoyable time with us and our staff in Gatineau.

 NJ team and our staff in front of the clinic. Bottom left to right: Scott Hodge, Ninfa Mueller, Juanita Ashby, Cherlie, Whitney Charbonneau, Janet Rubinstein, Sharon McAnuff. Top row: Katie, Guy-Johns, Adrien, Gemi, David Raduzycki, Emily Raduzycki, Tom Lee, Miller, Pastor Sharyl Dixon

NJ team and our staff in front of the clinic. Bottom left to right: Scott Hodge, Ninfa Mueller, Juanita Ashby, Cherlie, Whitney Charbonneau, Janet Rubinstein, Sharon McAnuff. Top row: Katie, Guy-Johns, Adrien, Gemi, David Raduzycki, Emily Raduzycki, Tom Lee, Miller, Pastor Sharyl Dixon

Everyone on the team spent some time with us in the clinic. Sharon McAnuff, a retired nurse, put her skills to good use with Cherlie in the triage room, doing patient vital signs and weights.

Sharon helping Cherlie with patient assessments

Sharon helping Cherlie with patient assessments

Architect Tom Lee was here with us for two weeks and he and the two other men in the group – David Raduzycki and Scott Hodge – completely set up and organized a brand new workshop for us. We just completed an addition out the back of the storage depot, and there is now ample space for all those lovely power tools and carpentry materials. We’re hoping this dedicated workshop will be used not only by visiting carpenters, but as a venue for doing some vocational teaching with Haitian carpenters, who are less skilled with power tools.

David building a counter in the new workshop

David building a counter in the new workshop

Several members of the team went with our Community Coordinator, Gemi Baptiste, to a community about 30 minutes from the clinic. There, they did some health teaching, gave a Bible lesson and spent time interviewing and learning from the local community members. They asked questions of our Water and Sanitation Promoters and this allowed the Promoters to show off their knowledge to the community. At the end of the week, Cherlie and I went with the team to another community where we did some health teaching, answered lots of questions and had Pastor Sharyl bring greetings from the churches in NJ.   The team was thrilled to be treated to a taste of fresh coconut water!

Ninfa and Juanita eating the inside of the coconut after drinking the coconut water

Ninfa and Juanita eating the inside of the coconut after drinking the coconut water

Sharon receives instructions from Jules, one of our Promoters, on how to eat the inside of the coconut with a “spoon” made from the outside of the coconut shell.

Sharon receives instructions from Jules, one of our Promoters, on how to eat the inside of the coconut with a “spoon” made from the outside of the coconut shell.

One of the very important events of the NJ Team’s week was a meeting that we held with 40 pastors and lay pastors from the Protestant churches in the area around the clinic. We wanted to meet with them to let them know that we will be referring some of our patients to them for discipleship and Christian fellowship, especially those who pray with us and accept Christ as their Savior. Pastor Sharyl Dixon and members from Kingston Presbyterian Church greeted them and Pastor Sharyl fielded some questions from the pastors regarding church activities, theology and practices in the US. It was a good beginning for us and we hope to have more meetings and seminars with the pastors in the future.

Pastor Sharyl in the midst of the pastors in our meeting with them at the clinic

Pastor Sharyl in the midst of the pastors in our meeting with them at the clinic

Dr. Wolf addresses the pastors in our meeting together

Dr. Wolf addresses the pastors in our meeting together

A few months ago, we made history when we held two Vacation Bible School (VBS) sessions for young children in the area around the clinic, with the help of the Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Denver. They did such a great job and the children had such a great time that we were almost afraid to try it again for fear of not meeting up to our own expectations! But, try it we did with the NJ Presbyterian group. We had about 30 youngsters come to the clinic for Bible stories, crafts, games and fun two afternoons during the week. Here are some photos from the exciting event:

Painting a welcome sign for the VBS sessions

Painting a welcome sign for the VBS sessions

Juanita helps some of the boys with a game during VBS

Juanita helps some of the boys with a game during VBS

Pastor Sharyl shares a Bible story with the VBS children, with the assistance of Daniel, the translator

Pastor Sharyl shares a Bible story with the VBS children, with the assistance of Daniel, the translator

 Children sitting in a circle at the start of VBS

Children sitting in a circle at the start of VBS

VBS children holding up their crafts at the end of the last day

VBS children holding up their crafts at the end of the last day

 

Here are some happy faces from the two-day VBS event:

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While the NJ team was there, we were also blessed by a visit from several members of a hospital group from Sioux Falls, South Dakota called Avera. One of the group members was a family physician named Dr. Patty Peters, who did patient consultations with us in the clinic all week. We were grateful for her help and expertise.

Dr. Patty Peters relaxing at the end of patient consultations

Dr. Patty Peters relaxing at the end of patient consultations

Avera Team members (left to right): Sherry Gorman (computer expert), Shari Platek (RN), Kathy English (RN, mission team coordinator), Dr. Peters (family physician) and Bill Bradfeldt (pharmacist). Missing in the photo was Bob Voglewede, retired, former VP of Missions for Avera.

Avera Team members (left to right): Sherry Gorman (computer expert), Shari Platek (RN), Kathy English (RN, mission team coordinator), Dr. Peters (family physician) and Bill Bradfeldt (pharmacist). Missing in the photo was Bob Voglewede, retired, former VP of Missions for Avera.

We’re excited about the expertise and resources that Avera brings to our ministry and are anxious to see what the Lord has in store for all of us in the future!

Cherlie and I want to take this occasion to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We hope that as you enjoy the blessings of your wonderful country you will pray for the people of Haiti who feel blessed as well, but make do with much less. For those in all walks of life and all places on the globe, this is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord and we are grateful.

We’re also grateful for you, our donors, supporters and friends and the encouragement you give to us with your gifts, letters and prayers. We appreciate your partnership with us and pledge to be faithful to the mission to which we have been called – the mission of providing health care to those in need in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

The Moon Group came to Haiti

Early December brought us a visit from Ray and Donna Moon accompanied by Yvonne DuCharme, Lin McKinney, Jeanette Schweitzer and Jodi Hundt. All but Jodi had been down here before and we were delighted to have the group work with us for a week. They came loaded down with medications for our pharmacy, toys for our children and suitcases in which they packed craft items that they transported back to Milwaukee for our annual fund-raising banquet to be held on April 25, 2015.

Our dining room table loaded with medications brought down for the clinic pharmacy

Our dining room table loaded with medications brought down for the clinic pharmacy

Young girl with sickle cell anemia holds her new beanie baby during a visit to the clinic

Young girl with sickle cell anemia holds her new beanie baby during a visit to the clinic

One of the delights of their week was a visit to two churches near the clinic site, where they did some health teaching, gave out hygiene kits and participated in singing and joyful dancing.

Welcome sign in the front of the Baptist church in Duchene where the group did health teaching

Welcome sign in the front of the Baptist church in Duchene where the group did health teaching

With the help of a translator, Yvonne and Jodi do health teaching in the Duchene church

With the help of a translator, Yvonne and Jodi do health teaching in the Duchene church

Jodi, Jeanette, Yvonne and Donna hand out hygiene kits to those participating in the teaching sessions

Jodi, Jeanette, Yvonne and Donna hand out hygiene kits to those participating in the teaching sessions

 Local Haitians leave the church with their hygiene kits and newly acquired knowledge

Local Haitians leave the church with their hygiene kits and newly acquired knowledge

Adrien Jean Jacques and church members sing and play instruments for the visitors in their church after a teaching session

Adrien Jean Jacques and church members sing and play instruments for the visitors in their church after a teaching session

The group also helped us out in the clinic itself. Donna and Yvonne jumped right in and helped Cherlie stabilize a young woman who came in as an emergency with a high fever probably due to malaria.

Young woman brought in to the clinic on a stretcher because she was too ill to walk by herself

Young woman brought in to the clinic on a stretcher because she was too ill to walk by herself

Donna taking the blood pressure of the ill young woman in clinic

Donna taking the blood pressure of the ill young woman in clinic

Yvonne draws blood for malaria testing on our emergency patient

Yvonne draws blood for malaria testing on our emergency patient

In addition to helping provide medical care, the group assisted with several other projects, including putting facings on shelves that had been built by a group from my home church in NJ earlier in the year, organizing the Emergency Room and storage area and packing medications in bags for our patients.

Ray and Yvonne cut wood strips for facings for pharmacy shelves

Ray and Yvonne cut wood strips for facings for pharmacy shelves

Jeanette and Lin work hard sanding the shelf facings before staining them

Jeanette and Lin work hard sanding the shelf facings before staining them

Lin and Jeanette organizing supplies in the clinic Emergency Room

Lin and Jeanette organizing supplies in the clinic Emergency Room

Ray, Jodi and Yvonne have fun packing medications on the porch of our house in Jeremie

Ray, Jodi and Yvonne have fun packing medications on the porch of our house in Jeremie

Ray and Jeanette brought down some baseball caps with the FHH logo to show us in hopes of starting a promotional program selling FHH products. Would you buy one of these beautiful caps????!

Ray and Katie show off their new FHH logo caps

Ray and Katie show off their new FHH logo caps

Much thanks to the Moon group for their camaraderie and hard work on our behalf. We and our patients are grateful!

By Dr. Katie Wolf

Late October brought to us a work group from Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church in Denver, Colorado. Included in the group were board members Dr. Tim Bedient and Ralph Minor. Tim is a critical care and pulmonary specialist and is my nephew (Katie’s) and Ralph is an engineer who is our information technology consultant, among other things. A few months ago, Tim and Ralph had a meeting with Youth Pastor Sheri Fry from Montview and plans for a visit began to develop. The plans culminated in a wonderful team of 12 who spent a week with us in Jérémie and Gatineau. Their visit required more than the usual degree of tolerance and flexibility, as Tortug’Air, the local airline, was grounded due to a faulty engine on the one plane that is able to fly to Jérémie. As a result, they had to drive both ways between Port-au-Prince and Jérémie, not an easy task on a road that is improved, but still rough and under construction.

The team helped us out in several areas. Physicians Tim Bedient and Stephanie Knudson and nurse practitioner Eldonna Sylvia saw all the patients while I helped out in the pharmacy and did lab tests. It was great to have Tim’s expertise with my asthma patients and Stephanie and Eldonna gave me a break from patient consultations. All the other members of the team spent some time in the clinic as well, some observing what Cherlie and our staff were doing and others spending time interviewing our patients, in order to learn more about their lives and the things that affect them. When not busy in the clinic, we had some painting for them to do in the pharmacy building and residence quarters on the second floor.

Tim Bedient, Gene Rose and Phoebe Bawmann busy painting the outside of the pharmacy building

Tim Bedient, Gene Rose and Phoebe Bawmann busy painting the outside of the pharmacy building

Pastor Sheri Fry doing some painting with the team

Pastor Sheri Fry doing some painting with the team

 

There were two new activities that we were able to do with this unique group. First, we were able to offer animal vaccines to livestock that belong to people in the communities around the clinic site. Under the expert direction of veterinarian Nancy Willerton and her husband Craig Mills, the team vaccinated 395 animals (cattle, horses, mules, donkeys, pigs, goats and sheep) in 8 different communities in 4 days. It was definitely a team effort, involving the Montview visitors, who helped draw up the vaccines, change needles and syringes, two translators who registered the livestock owners and collected a small fee from them, Haitian veterinarian techs who helped restrain the animals and our own community coordinator Gemi Baptiste. The communities were extremely grateful for the service to their livestock and we were thrilled to be able to offer a new service to our patients and their families. Assisting with livelihood development goes a long way in terms of improving health in our communities. Kudos for the great teamwork demonstrated by our visitors and Haitian staff during this busy, productive week.

 

Several animals waiting for vaccines at one of the vaccination posts

Several animals waiting for vaccines at one of the vaccination posts

Veterinarian Nancy Willerton vaccinates a pig

Veterinarian Nancy Willerton vaccinates a pig

Nancy giving oral anti-parasitic medication to a steer while Vet tech Bruny Chevalier restrains him

Nancy giving oral anti-parasitic medication to a steer while Vet tech Bruny Chevalier restrains him

Another activity that the Montview group did as a “first” for us was to hold two Vacation Bible School (VBS) sessions with local children in the area on two days after school. We invited about 25 children and had more than 35 attend! Word got around and the children came marching up the road to the clinic, freshly bathed and clothed in neatly pressed, clean clothes. Little did they know what was in store for them, but come they did! Pastor Sheri and her team led them in craft activities, Bible stories, songs and games. During the two hours they were with us, I think the children smiled and laughed more than they probably had in the past few months of their lives. It was great work on the part of our visitors, the translators and the children.

 

Children sitting in the waiting area in front of the clinic during VBS

Children sitting in the waiting area in front of the clinic during VBS

Children laying out paper “people” on benches so they can decorate them

Children laying out paper “people” on benches so they can decorate them

Two young girls looking over their beautiful craft items

Two young girls looking over their beautiful craft items

All the children showing off their crafts

All the children showing off their crafts

Children learn how to play the game of “duck duck goose”

Children learn how to play the game of “duck duck goose”

Getting ready to “go” during game of “red light, green light”

Getting ready to “go” during game of “red light, green light”

 

by Dr. Katie Wolf

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, which can mean one of several things. One, there’s nothing interesting that’s been going on, two, I’ve been having problems with internet and/or computer or three, there’s too much going on and I’ve been too busy to report on it! In this case, it’s definitely not the first reason, since there has been a lot going on. I’ve actually had significant computer problems lately, since my computer crashed several weeks ago and I didn’t have easy access to my saved files (had to use a Dell instead of my Mac). And, I have been very busy as we’ve made significant progress on several fronts. So, let’s catch up and see what’s been going on in Gatineau!

We had another wonderful visit in early October with students and faculty from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON). Under the direction of Nicole Warren and Sara Groves, the 8 students worked with us on our ongoing Water and Sanitation Project in six communities near the clinic site. They did a year-end evaluation for us of the Community Promoter activities, going into the communities and making random home visits, meeting with community members and leaders and interviewing the 12 Community Promoters regarding their activities. They found that the Promoters have, indeed, helped people change their behaviors by building tippy-taps to use for washing their hands, treating their water and cleaning up their water sources.

In addition, the students and faculty directed a two-day seminar for the Promoters on the subject of “Community Motivation”. This was extremely well received and the Promoters loved the games and demonstrations that were done to make the subject come alive. Here are some photos from the sessions:

Promoters and students divide into groups to discuss their experiences in the communities

Promoters and students divide into groups to discuss their experiences in the communities

A promoter discusses how his group made a “house” out of tongue depressors, demonstrating the topics of use of available resources and planning ahead for a project

A promoter discusses how his group made a “house” out of tongue depressors, demonstrating the topics of use of available resources and planning ahead for a project

Smile on the face of a Promoter as he learns valuable new skills

Smile on the face of a Promoter as he learns valuable new skills

Game with yarn demonstrating teamwork and inter-connectedness of the Promoters and students

Game with yarn demonstrating teamwork and inter-connectedness of the Promoters and students

Faculty member Nicole Warren looks on

Faculty member Nicole Warren looks on

Retired faculty member Sara Groves returned to JHSON to teach this course and help evaluate our Water and Sanitation Project. Sara led a group of students to us last year to do the initial evaluation at the beginning of the Water and Sanitation Project

Retired faculty member Sara Groves returned to JHSON to teach this course and help evaluate our Water and Sanitation Project. Sara led a group of students to us last year to do the initial evaluation at the beginning of the Water and Sanitation Project

Stay tuned for more updates about a recent visits from members of Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church and our FHH Board of Directors.

We recently bid farewell to 2 more teams from Elmbrook Church who were very helpful in continuing the work started by previous teams, including patient data entry, the preparation of meds for clinic, and wood-working projects. Thus concludes a 2-month season in which 5 teams joined us in ministry here, blessing us with their moral support and their eagerness to assist us in any way possible.

Team 2 from Elmbrook Church

Team 3 from Elmbrook Church

For more pictures from the past 2 months, check out our Facebook page. (While you’re at it, “Like” Friends for Health in Haiti!)

Only days after the final team left, construction on the clinic resumed, and it has not stopped for two weeks now. Our dump truck has made over 40 trips from Jeremie to Gatineau to stock the site with cement, sand, gravel, and rock, enabling the construction crew to work uninterrupted. The rock foundation has been going up quickly, and the crew will soon be pouring the bases of the columns. However, the threat of April showers looms large, so pray that this rainy season would be significantly drier than normal!

Our dump truck delivering a load of sand

Screening the sand to be used for mortar

Hauling rock for the foundation

As of last week, the storage depot has doors, which is big because it gives us a secure place for all our construction materials.

The Storage Depot Has Doors!

For the past 2 weeks, we enjoyed having some folks from Oakwood Church in Wales, WI, stay with us in Jeremie. Some stayed for only the 1st week, some stayed for only the 2nd week, and some stayed for both weeks, wreaking havoc on our attempts to get one picture of the whole team. 🙂 Below is a picture of the 4 who stayed with us for the 2nd week.

Rachel, Aaron, Neal, & John

We thoroughly enjoyed having them with us to work on projects around the house & clinic, and they were a huge encouragement to each of us through their work and through their many conversations with us about ministry here.

Neal & Rachel Putting Varnish on Clinic Chairs

Next up: 2 more teams from Elmbrook Church!

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