Help During Hardship
It’s been a month of high highs and low lows for our team out in Haiti. As you may have seen, the country has been in uproar over fuel shortages, dissatisfaction with the government, and concern over gaps in the country’s budget, causing our hospital to come to the brink of closing, and our expat team to leave for a short while. You would think that during these few months we would’ve had no volunteers...in fact there have been some incredible volunteers working tirelessly to improve any part of the hospital they can, bringing training, skills and letting our Haitian staff know that they are not forgotten during this troubled time.
We have had several individual volunteers visit us. Beth, a Physiotherapist from the UK, and Fabian, a baker from Switzerland.
Beth worked in the Maison de Benediction and Rehab centre, working alongside our Haitian staff, encouraging and providing her knowledge and expertise around neural physiotherapy. One particular highlight of her stay was finding and fitting a wheelchair for one of our more immobile children. His face was a picture! Smiling and humming, he was clearly enjoying being able to engage more in the Maison’s activities.
Fabian worked in the new bakery set up by HaitiRehab Schweiz and run by ex-rehab patients. He trained the new staff there on how to make wonderful swiss bread and cakes, and how to craft sandwiches to sell. He lived with us in Haiti for 3 months, a fact made even more amazing because he is a paraplegic. He rolled himself to the hospital and back most days along the potholed busy roads, and was an awesome example to the staff at the bakery how having a disability does not make you incapable, but in fact makes you stronger.
We also hosted a Primary Trauma Care Course at the hospital. This was the first ever PTC course to run in the North of Haiti, and was a great success! We saw 48 participants become certified with another 12 completing the instructor training. This is a huge step forward for our trauma care capabilities, and we were also excited that members of the local government hospital, Hôpital Universitaire Justinien, were able to attend. We endeavour to be an outward looking, community focused hospital, and therefore love to welcome others to training sessions if appropriate. The volunteer team who ran the course are returning in the next few months to support the new Haitian instructors in the running of a follow up course.
“This traineeship was very practical; it will help us to save more lives” Orthopaedic Resident
One of our main aims with training, alongside the obvious practical benefits for patients, is for our Haitian staff’s confidence in their own abilities to increase. During the course, the confidence level in the room went from 54% to an incredible 90%. What an encouraging statistic! We are so grateful for this wonderful group of volunteers, who were so willing to spend their time off giving training to a group of skilled, passionate people.
Last but not least we had George and Ieuan come over from the UK, who are blessed with many handy skills. They flew in during a critical period for the hospital, when fuel was running so low that we only had one day of power left. George and Ieuan worked long hours at the hospital, and within a few days were able to fix the solar units for our NICU and surgery, meaning that we had enough fuel to last the next few days until more started to arrive. They were also able to fix a water purification system that had broken, and a sterilising unit in our surgery department, both of which are vital pieces of equipment. Finally, they installed the new hospital incinerator. This is a huge achievement as it has been an ongoing project for us for over a year, and has required many hours of work put in by multiple staff members and volunteers. The final push meant they worked until 4:30am alongside our Haitian staff, but they did it! An incredible end to a much needed trip.
We are so grateful all the volunteers that give up their time, talents and money to come and stay with us out here at the hospital. It creates a community full of passion, love and care, and changes their lives, not just the lives of those they have come to serve.
If you want to volunteer with us, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and see whether this is right place for you, too!