Friday, May 28, 2010

MAY 26 OR 27?

Veteran Project HOPE volunteer Earl Rogers will be serving aboard the USNS Mercy during the Pacific Partnership 2010 as a pharmacist in Vietnam and Cambodia. Earl first served aboard the SS HOPE in 1972 in Brazil and has since volunteered in Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Liberia, Papua New Guinea and Ghana to name a few. Earl arrived in Vietnam late Thursday night and is preparing to meet the rest of the Project HOPE volunteers on Sunday evening. Here is an excerpt from his blog:

I am in the Seoul airport waiting on my flight to Hanoi. 17 hours in the air wears you out. Korean airlines was okay… pretty good food, but hard to sleep. I finally got about 4 hours of sleep … I will try again on way to Hanoi. The Seoul airport is very nice and everyone seems to be going about their normal business. I was worried since the current trouble with North Korea, but all seems normal. Time here is after 5pm and I think the day is May 27, Thursday, since we crossed the International Date Line.

I had no trouble checking my bag in Richmond. I was worried about it being overweight, but no problem… so far. I had to clear security again when I got off plane in Seoul and had to drink my full, unopened water bottle that I bought in D.C. airport. I can see the mountains of Korea looking north from the Seoul airport... Not sure how far North Korea is, but I don’t think it is far.

I plan to rest Friday, May 28 and look around the area, then Saturday, May 29 take the Halong Bay tour (everyone says it is terrific) and Sunday take the Hanoi city tour. Sunday evening I go to an airport hotel to meet up with the rest of the HOPIES, and we fly out of Hanoi to board the USNS Mercy on Monday morning, hopefully around noon. It will take a while to get us berthing assignments and find the mess hall and get our linen draw and bunks made and get unpacked, and be ready to hit the ground running Tuesday morning. …. Should be fun. More later.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Closing Ceremony Highlights HOPE

Project HOPE volunteers concluded their participation in Pacific Angel 2010 during a ceremony recognizing the joint and combined humanitarian assistance efforts provided to the Tan Thoi and Truong Thanh communities in Vietnam from May 10-17, 2010.

Operation Pacific Angel 2010 included more than 50 U.S. uniformed service members working alongside the Vietnamese military, non-governmental organizations Project HOPE and East Meets West Foundation and local health care professionals to provide medical care and training as well as engineering expertise.

During the closing ceremony, members of the mission planted a tree and held a ribbon cutting at the village medical clinic where U.S. Air Force engineers completed construction renovations. Project HOPE was prominently mentioned during the ceremony by top U.S. and Vietnamese officials. Plaques cemented to the ceremonial tree bases at the Tan Thoi village elementary school and the Truong Thanh health clinic also mention Project HOPE’s contributions to Pacific Angel 2010 and the “spirit of our growing relationship.”

U.S. Ambassador Michael W. Michalak spoke of Pacific Angel’s contribution to 15 years of normalization of relations between the U.S. and Vietnam. "The fact that our two countries are here in the Cuu Long Delta working together to learn from each other to make ourselves better medical professionals and engineers is an excellent example of how far we have come over the last 15 years," he said.

Project HOPE is now focused on its participation in Pacific Partnership 2010, scheduled to take place May through September 2010. Vietnamese (tiếng Việt), Cambodian (Khmer) or Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) speaking health care providers are encouraged to register as volunteers on the Project HOPE Web site. We are always looking for indigenous speaking volunteers. Interested volunteers please also contact Matt Peterson at or Fred Gerber for additional information.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

4,600 Patients Treated in Six Days

Project HOPE volunteers are always expected to get to work quickly and manage long, hard hours. Vietnam was no exception. Working alongside U.S. Air Force medical personnel, Vietnamese military and civilian health provider counterparts and fellow NGO humanitarians from East Meets West, HOPE volunteers concluded their health care and health education mission.

In just six short days, the small medical task group of about 50 accomplished a lot.

Patients treated – 4,601
Total patient encounters – 7,822
Women’s health – 419
Dental encounters – 2,621
Dental exams – 603
Family practice – 2,729
Pharmacy – 16,199
Pediatrics – 2,028
Optometry – 1,763

Project HOPE volunteers will return to Vietnam at the end of May onboard the USNS Mercy as part of the Pacific Partnership 2010. Check back for updates.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Meet the Pacific Angel 2010 Volunteers

In early May, five Project HOPE volunteer health care providers travelled to Can Tho, Vietnam to support Operation Pacific Angel 2010 at the Tan Thoi and Truong Thanh Villages in the Phong Dien District, Cuu Long Delta area.

Dr. James Honl is an experienced HOPE volunteer who served onboard the USNS Mercy in Indonesia in 2005 after the tsunami. While in Vietnam, he performed optometry training and mentoring while also seeing hundreds of patients each day.

Bich Nguyen, a nurse midwife who volunteered for HOPE during Pacific Angel 2009, participated again this year. Born in Vietnam, her language skills helped her lead HOPE’s midwife team. Bich earned a huge following among her Vietnamese counterparts during last year’s operation. She developed a reputation for calmness and patience under pressure for teaching and coaching younger and less experienced midwives.

HOPE’s other two nurse midwives were first time HOPE volunteers. Noreen Prokuski, from the University of Illinois and Anika Phillips from Vanderbilt University worked alongside Bich and the Vietnamese nurse midwives and woman’s health providers performing examinations, education and prescription writing functions.

Dr. Charles “Fritz” Craft, a dentist is a US Air Force reservist who lives and works in Cambodia performing health humanitarian assistance work joined the volunteers as Project HOPE’s Medical Director. Dr. Fritz plans to volunteer again during next year’s health operations in Vietnam.

Project HOPE volunteers will return to Vietnam at the end of May onboard the USNS Mercy as part of the Pacific Partnership 2010. Check back for updates.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dave Offers Powerful Example of 400,000 Patients Served

Last night Project HOPE held our annual fundraising Gala and celebrated our successful humanitarian assistance partnership with the U.S. Navy that has resulted in more than 400,000 people receiving care in more than 40 countries, more than 110,000 health care professionals receiving training and more than $35 million of medicines and medical supplies being distributed. But as impressive as all these numbers are, they paled in comparison to a real life example of how these missions actually touch people’s lives.

Dave, an 8-year-old boy who was severely injured during the earthquake in Haiti, made an appearance at the Gala, alongside his Dad, Loius-phanor. Celebrating Dave’s story was the highlight of the event. Dave was trapped underneath the rumble of his house for three days after the earthquake. He endured two amputations and had his nose completely rebuilt and he lost his younger brother in the disaster. Yet somehow, when Dave was brought aboard the USNS Comfort for care, he managed to inspire many of the Project HOPE volunteers, members of the U.S. Navy and other volunteers serving on the boat with his contagious smile.

Dave is currently receiving follow-up care in the U.S. and has another operation to go through before returning to Haiti. Yet seeing him on the stage, healthy, active and independent, all dressed up in his little tuxedo with his proud dad standing behind him and Admiral Roughhead and Dr. Howe beside him, Dave gave everyone in attendance a powerful example of one life changed and a little glimpse of what 400,000 people cared for really means.

Links to More Stories About Dave

8-Year-Old Dave Inspires Hope in Haiti

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dave in D.C.

Spent the day in Washington D.C., with 8-year-old Dave, his dad, Louis-phanor, and Project HOPE volunteers Dr. Marjorie Curran and nurses, Joy Williams and Marie-Ange Casimir. Love hearing all their stories about their work in Haiti, but mostly enjoying seeing Dave so energetic and independent. He is being fitted for prosthesis in Boston, but brought his wheel chair to D.C. Still, he likes to maneuver it himself. He and his dad play a game where he convinces his dad to let go of the wheelchair and off Dave goes by himself, smiling and not looking back. I can only imagine what a reward it must be for our volunteers to be able to follow and help in the long-term progress of this amazing little boy.

Check back tomorrow for news on Dave’s night at the Project HOPE fundraising Gala.

Thanks for reading--Melanie
Links to More Stories About Dave

8-Year-Old Dave Inspires Hope in Haiti

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Update on 8-year-old Dave from Haiti

Remember Dave, the inspiring 8-year-old patient from the Comfort? He'll be in town tomorrow with his dad Louis and Project HOPE volunteer Dr. Curran to attend HOPE's fundraising event. Check back for updates.

Links to Stories About Dave

8-Year-Old Dave Inspires Hope in Haiti

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

HOPE Volunteers in Vietnam

Five Project HOPE volunteers participated in Operation Pacific Angel 2010 with the U.S. Air Force, providing health care training and mentoring to local counterpart health care providers in Can Tho, Phong Dien District and Cuu Long Delta areas of Vietnam from May 10-17.

Project HOPE’s tailored medical team helped support the overall health operation of the mission by providing family practice, dental, optometry, pediatrics and women's health care services and training. This is the second year that Project HOPE volunteers have participated in the Pacific Angel mission.

Check back for more on the volunteers.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kids Raising Money for Haiti Relief Efforts

As Project HOPE volunteers continue to work with those needing care in Haiti, Project HOPE has some inspiring young donors to thank. Check out this story about 9-year-old Casey Wisel, who following in his brother's example, raised nearly $1000 for HOPE's relief efforts in Haiti.

Here, Casey presents Dr. Howe, Project HOPE President and CEO with a cigar box containing his donation. Dr. Howe is sporting one of Casey's bracelets on his wrist. Casey's mom is smiling in the background.

Read more about the Wisel brothers and why they choose to help!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Donations Meeting More than Immediate Needs in Haiti

As Project HOPE volunteers continue to work with amputees at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer and other facilities in Haiti, HOPE also continues to send vital medicines and medical supplies into the country. In addition to the $35 million of critically needed medical donations already delivered to Haiti, Colin Credle, HOPE’s Regional Humanitarian Assistance GIK Manager, recently reported on a donation that is doing even more than protecting families from common disease.
Last month Vestergaard-Frandsen gave HOPE a supply of LifeStraw®, which can purify up to 700 liters of water, and ZeroFly®, chemically treated mosquito tarps, to distribute in Haiti.

Working with another NGO, GrassRoots United, HOPE distributed the LifeStraw and ZeroFly tarps through organized Tent City committees. These Tent City committees are comprised of groups of people, who actually live in the camps, who are elected to present their needs to NGOs and distribute supplies to their fellow residents.

“The LifeStraw water purifier and ZeroFly tarps have not only help protect families against common water-borne disease and mosquitoes, they are helping to build healthier, better organized communities,” Colin said. “By providing these newly elected committees with the LifeStraw and ZeroFly tarps, we found that these committees were able to gain more authority in their communities and therefore they were better able to distribute the resources and train their fellow residents on how to use them properly,” Colin said.

As a follow-up to the donation, Colin and a representative from Vestergaard visited some of the Tent Cities.

“We spoke with Tent City residents who were very happy with their Lifestraws and we also saw the bright green and white ZeroFly tarps in proper use,” Colin added. “The donation itself was important to the health of those in the tent communities, but being able to leverage the donation to provide more stability in the communities and insure proper use of the donation through the newly elected Tent City committee members is very exciting,” Colin added.

Help support Project HOPE's long-term efforts to help the people of Haiti.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Volunteer Offers Thanks for Opportunity to Help

I am still amazed that my time here, has quickly come to an end and I will be home with my own family before long. How thankful I am, of having had such an amazingly wonderful opportunity. To help improve the lives of the hundreds of Haitians that became amputees due to the fatal earthquake that took place on January 12, 2010. This was a very fulfilling, rewarding, and most comforting, experience. I am so thankful for having had such a rare and treasured opportunity.


Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer Joy Williams

Help support Project HOPE's long-term efforts to help the people of Haiti. DONATE NOW

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Beyond Hôpital Albert Schweitzer

At 0600 I headed to the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer /Hanger clinic to meet up with the team heading out to the orphanage located in Port au Prince. As we packed all the supplies needed for the day on the van, I started to realize how very beautiful the morning was, as the temperature had not yet reach its usual scorching degrees. We then drove to L'Escale to gather the three candidates who were traveling to Port-au-Prince with us.

We drove along in silence and as the van sped along I began to notice the very serene, peaceful, scenic captivatingly beautiful countryside that was so green and lush. From the distance I could barely recognize all the different kinds of vegetation that grew affront the mountains and fell as a beautiful backdrop. How easy it is to differentiate the countryside that is fortunate enough to have ample supply of water flowing through it, from that of Deschapelles that always appears dry, barren and uninviting.

For the next two hours I continued to be captivated by the mesmerizingly beautiful landscape that seemed to call out to us as we drove by. As we approached Port-au-Prince however, everything changed from serene beautiful, green, picturesque landscape to congested, loud traffic and broken damaged buildings that seemed to have crumbled down as layered pancakes. Crowds of people were everywhere, busying themselves about. School children were dressed in their beautifully colored uniforms and women carried a days worth of merchandise to sell on their heads. The cars, van, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles all competed to be first in getting through the traffic. As we continued to drive we saw many areas where tents have been set up and have become homes for those displaced by the earthquake. The name that is now given to these areas is TENT CITY. There were rows and rows of blue top tents lining any and every vacant lot that was available in Port-au-Prince. What will ever become of the capital of Haiti?

We arrived at the orphanage just about 0930. The van pulled up to a very large iron gate. When opened, we drove into an area that had beautiful buildings and gardens and also a number of tents that lined the court yard. Not here too.

I soon realized that the tents were where the volunteers for the orphanage were residing. This particular orphanage was the home for mentally challenged and HIV positive children. Very few candidates with earthquake related injuries were living here. Nonetheless, this was a convenient site used to accommodate amputated candidates who needed to be measured and fitted for prosthesis. Today we will care for the 10 candidates that were previously scheduled.

After the completion of measuring and casting of the 10 candidates we headed to the Port-au-Prince airport to welcome another volunteer and pick up some much needed supplies. The supplies were desperately needed to continue the manufacturing of the prosthesis back at the HAS/Hanger clinic.

Our journey back to Deschapelles started at 1630, as we drove along I monitored the beautifully changing views of the sunset over the mountains, how peaceful and relaxing. It will be a very long ride home, but it certainly will be breathtaking, and soothing to the eyes. This is certainly a wonderful and beautiful memory, to have of the countryside of Haiti as I will be completing my mission and heading home in less than 36 hours.

Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer Joy Williams

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Little Time for Rest

It was the usual wake-up call this a.m., with the roosters encouraging not only the morning along but also me. First I checked my e-mail to see if there were any messages I need to respond to immediately. After completing, this very simple task I headed to the clinic, where a few candidates were already waiting for evaluation and physical therapy. Already the prosthetists were busy as little elves in the lab making prosthesis.

Today's clinic hours were expected to be quiet, as this was not our usual intake day. Thankfully for this, as I have been feeling very drained and exhausted recently and could easily welcome a late morning sleep in and or an afternoon nap. Maybe a late morning sleep is out of the question but I certainly took advantage of an afternoon power nap. This felt so good, but it only had me craving for more. No time to waste, I got up and went back to the clinic, where the physical therapist were already busy seeing the patients that were scheduled for the afternoon session.

The day ended at 1600, and I embraced the possibility of an early evening shower and dinner with the hopes of having an early evening to bed. Tomorrow the prosthetic team and I will head out to Port-au-Prince to one of the orphanages to measure and cast new candidates for prosthesis.

Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer Joy Williams

Photos by Allison Shelley

Help support Project HOPE's long-term efforts to help the people of Haiti. DONATE NOW

Friday, May 7, 2010

Keeping Work Flowing in Haiti

Although very busy with patient care, I spent what free moment I had this morning getting the office ready for hand off to the person that will take over my position. Over the past week or so, I have been making sure all important information that includes phone numbers for contact persons, office flow guidelines and file organization etc. are readily available for the appropriate people to have access to.

I also had the unfortunate task of informing one of the potential candidates I interviewed that he did not have the qualifications necessary to take over the case manager position. This therefore meant that I could not hire him. Easy it was, but also very difficult at the same time. As I looked at him and saw the sadness and disappointment on his face, I too became very sad. Not the way I wanted to start my day.

Just about everyone in Haiti needs a job, so whenever the opportunity arises no matter how small, one latches on and tries with all might to hold on and not let go. Every opportunity is a potential job. Every “come and shadow me for the day” is a potential “I have a job.” Every nod is a potential, “I have a job” and a sure means to make some money and provide for one's self and one's family. For me to take this opportunity away, no matter how small, is heartbreaking.

As saddened as I was about not being able to hire any of the individuals that sought after the case manager position, I was elated to find out that my roommate Gozde was able to hire about 250 Haitian in her work for pay program. This is such an exciting moment for her and her team as so many hours of hard work and determination had brought them to this point. This is also exciting times for the people of Deschapelles. Although all that are in need of a job will not receive one, still many will. This is definitely a move in the right direction.

Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer Joy Williams

Photo by Allison Shelley

Help support Project HOPE's long-term efforts to help the people of Haiti. DONATE NOW

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Prosthesis Work Continues in Haiti

It was a very quiet day today with no clinic patients scheduled to be seen. I left my dorm and arrived at the clinic at about 0800. After opening up the necessary doors and putting my things away I sat on the veranda for a few moments, observing the day as it went by. As I sat there I wondered if we would have any unscheduled visits or if I could take off and go for a scenic nature walk on this very beautiful sunny, hot day.

Spencer one of the prosthetist arrived at the clinic just about the same time I did. Before heading to the laboratory where he makes prosthesis, he stopped and chatted with me for a short while. After chatting for about one half hour or so he went to the lab and started putting prosthesis together. It was at this time that I decided I would stay at the clinic even if no patients showed.

Most of the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer /Hanger clinc volunteers went to Cange a 2.5 hours drive East of Deschapelles to cast and fit patients at another hospital. Other volunteers, including myself, stayed behind to organize the office, and to be available for possible new admits. One volunteer, Jean, a Haitian-born prosthetic technologist, went to visit his birth parents some distance outside of Deschapelles. Jean who presently lives in the United States was adopted at a very young age about 20-25 years ago. With much, much coordination that initiated in the United States, Jean was able to embark upon the 10-12 trip to visit his birth parents for the first time since his adoption. This is so exciting but also so scary. I can't wait to hear reunion stories. Jean returns tomorrow late evening, I hope I won't need to bring tissues. Stay tuned.......

Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer Joy Williams

Photos by Allison Shelley

Help support Project HOPE's long-term efforts to help the people of Haiti. DONATE NOW

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Midwifery in Haiti

Angela Ferrari, a nurse midwife from Massachusetts General Hospital, recently completed a volunteer mission for Project HOPE at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS), helping to strengthen the hospital's midwife program. Enjoy her story on International Day of the Midwife.

Each morning, the entire provider staff at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS)meets to go over the cases of the last 24 hours. This multidisciplinary meeting is usually followed by a presentation from one of the providers on a topic of their specialty. The director of the hospital had asked me to talk about midwifery and how it might benefit the hospital. I was excited as I knew the hospital had sought out myself and other midwives from the U.S. to visit because of their firm belief that the hospital needs to employ a midwife. Further, I had been at the hospital for over a week and even had made a visit to the community and I had been coming to a wonderful conclusion: as limited in resources for maternal and infant care as the hospital and the community seemed to be, they already have everything they need to provide great and safe care. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM’s) with their unique training in all birth environments, were ideally suited to provide the care in the hospital’s tertiary maternity unit which has less technology than, say, a tertiary care center in the U.S. Midwives in the US are trained to work not only in hospital environments where large amounts of technology are available but also in birth centers and the home where less interventions are available and the care is more basic but equally safe. HAS is currently seeking to employ a Haitian nurse-midwife to attend the many normal births that occur in their facility and I knew I was speaking to a crowd that already knew the benefits of midwifery care.

My talk consisted of reviewing the history of nurse-midwifery in the U.S. and drawing parallels between the development of the profession in the U.S. over the last 100 years and what I had learned about the recent development of the profession in Haiti. In both countries, midwives had been used as part of large public health initiatives as it is often recognized that an easier way to access a population is through its pregnant women who are sometimes seeking prenatal care or labor care.

Preventative health initiatives, like vaccines, can then be administered to pregnant women and their infants through midwives. HAS in Haiti had used midwives in Haiti to wipe out the endemic of tetanus in the area of Deschapelles. The first Nurse-Midwives in the U.S. had administered vaccines in the mountains of Kentucky in the 1930’s. When looking to improve maternal and infant health outcomes, it was recognized in both countries that midwives attended most of the births and have the greatest access to women especially in areas of highest need. And so, here in Haiti as in the U.S., midwives were being trained to maximize their skills both in the mountainsides and rural areas as well as in urban areas of the country. I am certain that my audience’s favorite part of my talk was when I showed a photo of the Frontier Nursing Service (CNM’s) all saddled up on their horses and lined up for a photo. On horseback, the CNM’s appeared a formidable force to be used against poor high rates of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.

While the Grand Rounds talk should be given in French (this is one of the languages that belongs to Haiti), I can only vaguely remember my high school French lessons and so the Canadian OB/gyn, Don, visiting for the week who speaks French and French Creole interpreted for my talk. But what I know for certain is that my American and Canadian colleagues walked away with a better understanding of midwifery. I had listed a series of skills that CNM’s are particularly good at and trained in and that would be particularly useful at HAS and in Haiti to improve outcomes: optimizing physiologic process of labor, intermittent auscultation, skin to skin care, breastfeeding, neonatal resuscitation in all environments.

The pediatricians who were visiting from Vermont were thrilled to learn about the breastfeeding skill as they were currently caring for a 2-week-old malnourished baby whose mother was telling them that her breast milk supply was diminishing (potentially the cause of the baby’s malnourished state.) My talk made them realize I might be a good resource for mom which would in turn help the baby and they asked me to consult with mom who was in the nursery.

With interpreter at my side, I visited mom in the nursery where she was with her small, slightly preterm baby (both set ups for low milk supply!) During our conversation, she mentioned that she had pain in her stomach and lack of appetite. She had had a c/section 2 weeks before for eclampsia as well as another indication and as we talked, it became clear that she had not once taken pain meds after the surgery. She had been prescribed a medication that the pharmacy did not carry by the covering doctor on the weekend she had her surgery. This M.D. was likely less familiar with the medications available at this particular hospital. Unable to get the prescription filled, the patient gave up trying to get medicine. I talked to mom about ways to help stimulate more milk production by her body but felt fairly certain that pain from her c/section might be a reason she was lacking in appetite which would in turn affect her milk supply. I prescribed her a pain medicine I knew the pharmacy had and hoped that with pain management she would eat more.

I visited her over the course of the day in order to observe her breastfeed and noted that despite her fears, her own milk supply was actually good. As a good multidisciplinary effort goes, the picture wasn’t complete until the next morning at breakfast when the pediatricians told me that they had talked to mom again and she had confessed that she did not have food to eat. I was embarrassed that I had not uncovered this fact but I also know that many times it takes many interviews with patients to uncover the entire story and that it often takes many providers to elicit the full story. At any rate, the pediatricians are able to “prescribe” food for the moms of malnourished babies under their care (there is no food available in the hospital available for inpatients—families must provide food for patients.) They prescribed mom food which I am certain would help mom make more milk for baby. I was confident that our care truly made a difference for the health of mom and her baby.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Video of Project HOPE Volunteers in Haiti

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Studying Under Streetlights

The day ended with our team meeting at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Hanger clinic, that started at 1800 and completed just about 1900. We discussed the impending transition of another person into the case manager’s position. Unfortunately, the process of finding a Haitian-born Creole speaking individual to take over the position has been initiated but has not been finalized. This position will therefore continue to be held by a volunteer from outside of Haiti until someone is hired. Although I am very happy about the accomplishments that we have made over the past few weeks, I am still saddened at the prospect of moving on. How great it would have been to follow the process through completion.

After the meeting I headed towards my dorm. As I slowly walked along the graveled path my mind started to wonder. In less than one week, I will be returning home, back to my normal everyday routine. This was such a great experience. I have learnt so much. My only hope is that I was able to leave something of worth behind for continued growth. As these thoughts raced through my mind, I became a little sad. I stood for a short while thinking about leaving, then suddenly I realized how quickly it had gotten very, very dark. For visual reasons, I headed back to the office and grab the only flashlight that was left on the shelf. Retracing my steps down the path I noticed a few young boys perched on top of rocks beneath street lights, reading. I thought this very odd, as there were a few of them deep in concentration. My curiosity got the better of me. I went over to where one of the young men was sitting to get a glimpse of what was so interesting that it so captivated his attention. I approached him quietly and noticed that he was reading from what appeared to be a hand-written school notebook. I asked if he was studying and his reply was yes and so were the other boys.

It had been told to me that many school-aged children here at Deschapelles would often study beneath street lights when it became dark. This was so as most houses did not have the luxury of electricity. How dedicated and determined they are. The little things that we so often take for granted. I felt pressed to give one of them the flashlight that I held, but soon thought that this would not make a huge difference as the battery would probably only last for a short while.

Jay the head prosthesist joined me as I walked slowly down the path. As we walked, we talked about what we had just observed. He stated that this is a very common practice here in Deschapelles, a few weeks ago when he first observed this, he too was pretty amazed by it. We continued talking as we walked. Later when I arrived at my dorm I mentioned to my roommate what I had seen, she also stated that this was a very common practice here. In line with this, Gozde mentioned that a former volunteer now a staff member here at HAS, has initiated a program that would make available, a secure building with electricity. This was all made possible by donations from a woman's organization in Connecticut called Sisterhood Group. According to Paul the initiator of the project the building presently under construction will be a library that will provide a safe and convenient place for the young people here at Deschapelles to study.

What an awesome proposal, this is something that definitely deserves supporting.

Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer Joy Williams

Help support Project HOPE's long-term efforts to help the people of Haiti. DONATE NOW