Friday, March 12, 2010

Physical Rehab Volunteers Arrive in Haiti

On March 11, 2010 Project HOPE volunteers Lisa Jane Evans from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Occupational Therapist and Kristin Parlman, MGH Physical Therapist, arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for a two-week assignment that will allow further assessing of the rehabilitation need of Haitian crush victims and amputees affected by the earthquake of January 12, 2010. They will be working at Diquini Hospital, a site selected by the HOPE Assessment team that traveled to Haiti earlier this month.

Lisa and Kristin spent their first day getting oriented with HOPE’s Haiti Representative, Charles Prospere. Prospere, a Haitian American, holds a doctorate of public policy and administration and has extensive experience in non-profit work within Haiti. He was hired by Project HOPE to help HOPE establish programs that will not only provide long-term care to those with earthquake-related injuries, but also educate physical rehabilitation health care providers so that they may better serve their communities.

Here is his report from Lisa's and Kristin's first day in Haiti:

Soon after their arrival, the volunteers were given a tour of the devastated capital and were briefed about the historical and cultural context of Haiti to enrich their service.

We then made a quick visit to Diquini Hospital, where the volunteers were received by Dr. Lesly Ed Archer, the General Director of the institution. Their mission will officially start tomorrow (March 12) when they will meet with our operational counterparts Andrew Haglund, Dr. Scott Nelson and Caryn from Handicapped International.

Jane and Kristin also had another mission for the Diquini tour; they wanted to meet with Sebastian, an 8-year-old boy they learned about through the Project HOPE Assessment team. Sebastian, who lost both his mother and father during the earthquake and suffered an amputation as a result of his own injuries has become an international figure, representing the face of Haiti.

Sebastian is very lovable and he invited the team to see where he has been living since the earthquake. Sebastian has been adopted by his 23 year old aunt – a mother of four and unemployed.

Sebastian is smiling now, asking for a big truck and a Spiderman. But the future is uncertain – for him and for Haiti. It will take many years and continuing international support – in the form of funds, supplies and specialized health worker volunteers – to ensure that all victims of the earthquake, like Sebastian, have a full recovery and a productive future.

While the emergency response is now coming to an end, the work for a full recovery has just begun.

Thanks for Reading - Charles

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  1. Charles, nice post. Thanks for keeping us informed. Looking forward to reading about your program development, needs, success. Take care of those beautiful Haitian children.

  2. Thank God for your work throught project hope, keep up the good work. April, AL

  3. I returned from working this same hospital on March 1st. It was the best experience of my life. Sebastian was the highlight of each day as he attended our morning briefings; his smile was infectious to all who met him. Even tho the work was hard, I definitely got more than i gave being there, and hope to go back soon. Thanks for all you do in Haiti. mike

  4. Reading about a project like this is really inspirational. We are reminded that there are those who are less fortunate and who need our compassion and help.

    Great job!