Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Even on Easter Weekend, Work Continues

Many of our staff have finished their 2-week rotations at the clinic and will be leaving for home in the wee hours of the morning.The replacement staff of physical therapists and prosthetic technicians will be arriving on the return trip from Port-au-Prince airport sometime in the late evening. After everyone left, I spent a few hours at the Hanger Clinic organizing and preparing the necessary materials needed to care for the patients I would be seeing at L'Escale.

While at the clinic a prosthetic candidate and his family arrived on a hired motorcycle. He stated that he lives in Port-au-Prince and heard that Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) and the Hanger Clinic were providing free prosthesis for those in need. He was hoping to receive one for himself.

The clinic was closed, not only because of the Easter holiday, but also due to the lack of staff related to departures and arrivals. As I explained this to the prosthetic candidate and his family, his saddened face and down casted eyes said it all. His mom and wife just looked at each other, no words needed to be exchanged.

These fearful and saddened expressions were then changed to bright smiling faces when it was communicated that accommodations would be provided at the L'Escale dorm. After explaining admission policies and procedures, I proceeded to escort he and his family to the dorm, where I, with the help of the ground supervisor, assisted them in getting settled.

Once the admission process had been completed, Jay, the prosthetist, met me at L'Escale. The purpose was for me to assist him in making a mold of the affected foot of our stroke patient. Back at the lab, the technicians will use this mold to make a special splint that will assist Patient S in keeping her foot in a functional position. This will encourage proper gait training and walking.

Patient S is expected to be discharged on Tuesday. Discharge planning has been in progress with ongoing discussions with her family. They are ready. It has been a very long stay away from home. Preparations are being made for her transport home. Her family and I discussed the mode by which they will be traveling. I unfortunately was only now told that Patient S and her family lives approximately 10- 15 hours travel from the clinic. I was told 8 hours by donkey or mule, then a few more hours of walking. If driven, the 8 hours would then become 3. Hearing this, my heart sank. The director of HAS, Ian Lawson, and I then spoke and he decided that he would provide a vehicle to drive Patient S and her family the distance, until the road ended. From there the family will carry Patient S on a hard surface on head, until they arrive home. I guess this is possible, as this was the means by which she arrived to us at HAS.

I will discuss the car ride to Patient S and her family on Monday.

On Easter Sunday, Gozde and I sat in our living area, on the computer and the phone. I was preparing for tomorrow’s admissions to the clinic and to L'Escale and Gozde was writing proposals for grants.

Gozde is my roommate, and now a friend. She is Turkish, but lives in Paris. She has been working here at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer’s (HAS) for approximately 6-weeks now and will remain for another 4-5 months. Gozde is not only the consultant for economic development, but she is also the director for cash flow work in Haiti

In short, cash flow work is a program where she and her staff find resources to donate money that is then used to hire people in assisting with programs such as environmental rehabilitation. Presently their plan is to hire as many people as possible, especially those displaced or injured in the earthquake. The hiring process is expected to start next week. They are expecting hundreds and hundreds of applicants and 70-80 are expected to be hired. This is an exciting time for the people in this are - paying jobs - even if only for a few months.

The Haitians continue to celebrate Easter, everywhere there is music, singing and dancing. Here on campus we will celebrate our Easter with a PIG roast.

Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer Joy Williams

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  1. Joy, thanks for keeping us informed of your continued work. I love reading your blogs and to see what you are doing. Miss you. Love and prayers, Donna

  2. Dear Joy,

    I have been reading the volunteer blogs since we began our Project HOPE for Haiti fundraiser at Hopewell Valley High School (HVCHS). Thank you very much for your blogs and photos; it is a great feeling to get a first-hand account of how the donations are being utilized.

    We had reached our initial goal of 1,000 dollars in February, but after reading your blog we have decided to revive the fundraiser and set a higher goal. You can visit our project HOPE webpage by googling HVCHS and Haiti. Our fundraiser page shows up as the first link. And if you have any comment about our fundraiser or your effort in Haiti that we can include in our newsletter, please email to us at We'd love to hear from you.

    Thank you for being so kind and wonderful!

    President, Freshman Class of 2013

  3. HVCHS - Thank you all for your wonderful and consistent support in following our mission in Haiti. I am very thankful that I am able to be here and volunteer in such a manner. I know many of you would love to be here, but you are all volunteering and doing your part at home. Thank you so much for this. By supporting our mission in such a manner you are allowing us to continue providing for those in need and therefore being successful in our mission.

    I volunteer with a great organization, Project HOPE, and you attend a fantastic school that supports you in such a mission. Continue to do what you are doing, it's wonderful. You are an awesome, and caring group.

    Thanks again Joy