August 2018 team trip to Haiti


Things in Haiti slow down in the summer. School is out and it’s very, very, hot. Tracee was the USA portion of the team, along with some help from others back home via phone and internet. Jacques, Charles, Tracee, and clinic staff spent time evaluating each program and coming up with ideas for improvement. This is Dr. Jacques first month to devote his full attention to the clinic since graduating from his MBA program, so this review was particularly timely. We continue to give the safe birthing program extra time and support since it is one of our newest programs. This trip we introduced the “Days for Girls” program with the help of Amesville - New England Parish. daysforgirls.org seeks to supply girls with washable hygiene kits, so they don’t miss school while on their period. We also began a program to distribute LUCI lights to school children at the Charles Solomon school in Port-de-Paix. In October we hope to extend the program into Demier.   

Charles receiving LUCI lights to take to students, so they will be able to study after dark     

Charles receiving LUCI lights to take to students, so they will be able to study after dark  

 

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Nurse Ruth, and her daughter with a Days for Girls kit.  

 

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Nurse Midwife, Marie Fleur with supplies donated by Dr Becky Stilson.  

Days for Girls

Dr. Tracee worked with our Haiti team. She introduced a new program, “Days for Girls,” spear headed by Catherine Hare of the Amesville-New England Parish in southern Ohio.  The program aims to keep girls active and in school all month long by supplying them with washable hygiene supplies.  Volunteers in Ohio stitch the hygiene kits and HAM brings them to Dumay to be distributed to girls at the Centre de Sante de Dumay.  As we do every 3 months, Dr. Tracee cared for home bound patients in the Dumay area, by visiting each one with Clerdomy. 

First Community Church North Campus Farmers Market

On August 5, 2018, we participated in the First Community Church North Campus farmers market, selling Haitian art we purchase throughout the year from Haitian artists and at artist cooperatives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  Our name “Healing Art Missions” was born when we first traveled to Haiti with suitcases of medicine, filled those suitcases with Haitian art, then sold the art in the USA to raise the funds to purchase more medicine. Literally – “Healing Art”

A successful collaboration with the Asheville Symphony

On April 14, we had the honor of partnering with Asheville Symphony for the performance, PATRIOTS.  We want to give a special thank you to Bill and Nancy Getty's who organized our collaboration with the A.S.  We also want to thank our volunteers, Kelly, Warren, and Susie who operated our display booth.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by to take the time and learn a bit about Haiti and ways in which we're involved in the community from basic health care to access to clean water and education.  

Remembering Tousant

Tousant has been in our home visit program in Dumay since it's inception in 2011. 

When we first met him, though he could stand up, he was scooting around his yard on his bottom, planting corn in his yard. There were stalks of corn coming up between the rocks all over his quarter acre yard. 

At that time, his house was a humble shelter, leaning heavily to one side and made up of sticks and mud.  A few years after we first met up with him, he had a plywood house built by a non-profit that built a few homes in Dumay in response to the earthquake.  He lived alone, but all of his neighbors worked together to make sure he had what he needed. We occasionally sent him food and new clothes when he needed them. Most often, he was just really happy to have us visit and bring him vitamins to supplement his diet and Acetaminophen to help him cope with his knee pain. He always said he would pray for us to come back and see him again soon. 

The running joke with Tousant was no one knew how old he was, including Tousant. We tried to figure out by asking him to tell us historical stories from his childhood - who was president, any big events. He told us fantastical/mystical stories about things that happened in Haiti when he was a child.  I'm sure there was a grain of truth in the stories, but none of our Haitian staff could make sense of them. 

After a few months of illness and being cared for by his daughter, Tousant recently passed away and is survived by his daughter and son.  We miss his humor, his kindness and his mystical stories of Haiti.

January 2018

HAM started off 2018 with a busy and productive two weeks, January 14th to 28th. Dr. Tracee and Paul spent the first week working with eye technician Charles to continue finding potential cataract surgery candidates and organizing for the arrival of the eye surgery team we were hosting the second week. Dr. Leslie came along for the first week to see patients and assist Dr. Jacques with surgeries. The clinic was also under a bit of construction that week as well, with the addition of new double paned windows and double glass doors so the surgery room was actually isolated from the outside environment for the first time. 

Dr. Brian Stahl headed the Go Crazy, Do Good team as they returned to the clinic after their initial trip last January. This time he brought a larger team, including eye surgeon, Dr. Charle Agnone, and six surgical techs and assistants. Ophthalmologist Dr. Joan Nerderman also joined the crew for her first trip to Haiti. Dr. Tracee and Paul met Dr. Joan, who works at OSU’s School of Optometry, in 2017 and invited her to join this mission to help with the pre and post op work. Dr. Brian and his team performed an amazing 98 cataract surgeries in four days to the delight of his patients, many of whom were able to see for the first time in many years. 

October Trip

HAM founder and medical director Tracee Laing, and her husband and HAM’s Director of Operations Paul Hammond, led a team for our final trip of the year to Haiti, October 22 to 29, 2017. Joining Tracee and Paul we’re long time HAM volunteer and board member, Dr. Leslie Mihalov, veteran eye clinic volunteer Susan Palleschi, first time Haiti volunteer nurse Pat Martin, and HAM’s newest board member, Jack Blanks. Jack returned to Haiti after a 15+ year absence, though this was his first visit to HAM projects. 

The team jumped right into it Monday morning with Susan and Charles seeing eye patients, Drs. Leslie and Tracee seeing patients, and nurse Pat bouncing back and forth providing medical assistance. The medical team spent the afternoon doing home visits in the Dumay community while Paul and Jack spent the day in Port-au-Prince resourcing.

Tuesday began our annual medical visit to the Demier community located in the mountains on southwest peninsula of Haiti. Demier community leader, HAM health worker and water technician Ferdinand led our team of Dr. Tracee , Susan, Jack, Charles HAM’s eye technician and interpreter, and Jony another long-time interpreter, on a long hike into the mountains to his home, where the team fed and housed. It is an eight hour journey from the Dumay clinic to Ferdinand’s house and as there is no electricity in Demier the long travel day quickly concluded with a lovely dinner prepared by Mdm Ferdinand. Clinic began early the next morning with some patients arriving before the sun. Jack assisted Ferdinand hanging a tarp to provide some shade for the waiting patients. Dr. Tracee spent the day examining over 40 patients, ranging in age from babies to octogenarians, including a followup visit from a young woman hit in the head with a rock and knocked unconscious who they encountered on the hike to Demier the previous day. This was the first time we held an eye clinic in Demier where Charles and Susan, assisted by Jack saw over 40 eye patients for glaucoma, cataracts and general vision checks. The team brought a variety of prescription glasses and could offer drops for minor issues, but equally important was the assessment experience providing HAM with a better understanding of how meet the eye care needs of the Demier community. 

The end of the week proved extremely busy with the entire team back in Dumay. The eye clinic was in full swing, Drs. Jacques and Leslie performed several surgeries, and Dr. Tracee and Pat saw many patients. Friday proved so busy that Dr. Verdieu, HAM’s doctor on Tuesdays and Thursdays, who brought her daughter into the clinic for some lab tests saw how backed up patients were and immediately pitched in and began seeing patients while her daughter sat on her lap. 

It was a very productive trip that also allowed for critical planning time with Dr. Jacques. 2018 will see the start of HAM’s new birthing program as our two nurses who’ve spent the past year training with Midwives for Haiti in Hench graduate in January and return to Dumay to work full time. Additionally we are making important improvements to the clinic’s surgery and surgical support areas, and we plan to begin contraction on a building addition providing improved patient flow, additional primary care exam rooms, and a new pharmacy.