Tuesday, January 26, 2010

HOPE in Jimani

Ruth Madison, Project HOPE's Health of Women and Children Technical Advisor, is on the ground in Haiti and the Dominican Republic assessing where the needs are greatest for HOPE volunteers and medical supplies. Here are her observations:

On Saturday, I visited the Good Samaritan Hospital in the border town of Jimani, Dominican Republic to assess opportunities for HOPE volunteers and medical supplies. As I pulled up to the hospital, a U.S. Navy helicopter lifted off with its precious cargo of severely injured Haitians on its way to the USNS Comfort.

Upon entering the hospital, I was caught up in the energy and excitement of several international and NGO volunteers heroically providing care to hundreds of injured Haitians who had crossed the border seeking care from the medical staff and resources available at Good Samaritan.

After speaking to the hospital’s head of volunteer coordination – a volunteer herself – and learning she had sufficient staff and medical supplies, I crossed the open field that separated Good Samaritan for an orphanage.

That open field, by the way, also served as a bedroom to hundreds of local residents. On Friday and Saturday, aftershocks ranging from 4.0 to 6.0 on the Richter scale shook the small town. Fearing their homes would crumble, several residents moved their beds outside to this field.

Back at the orphanage, it was a completely different situation than what I witnessed at the larger Good Samaritan Hospital. Although still functioning as an orphanage, it had also become a hospital to help the overflow from the neighboring hospital. Here I saw a need for HOPE volunteers and medical supplies which we will provide in the coming days.

However, one of the images I will remember from Jimani was a Dominican nurse with two Haitian toddlers giggling, laughing and having the time of their lives. Despite some of the differences the two countries have had over the years, it was heartwarming to see the good of the people, putting aside their differences and helping one another.

Ruth Madison

1 comment:

  1. I was a volunteer at the Jacksonville, FL USO today and had the privilege of meeting some wonderful folks going to The Comfort to assist in the Haiti needs.
    What a wonderful group of people! I was so impressed with the variety of disciplines I met--administrative, nursing, and physicians. God bless all of you for what you do. As a retired RN, I wish I had done some oth volunteer work you willingly perform. Tell the travelers that left our USO I said "HI" thanks Sue Reynolds, Jacksonville, FL. Any that want to email me please do so and let us know your needs for the next deployment and I will do all I can to have something ready for them to take! HUgs