We helped in Haiti. Read notes from our mission
More than one month at Caribbean, at collapsed country Haiti, where school system, medical care is not working, where you could easily get into blockade on road, many protests and where beginning with autumn started a season of hurricanes and Haiti was hit by earthquake. In that conditions our humanitarian worker Klára Lőffelmannová and a doctor Josef Marada were helping. They did preventive examinations and treating people from back countries, monitoring projects of Charity and more other responsibilities. Watch out online how they were doing, at Notes from Haiti…
Friday 2nd – 3rd of November
Port au Prince – Packed and ready to departure. Our last meetings and saying goodbyes is behind us. It was a hard month, but we will miss it… Many thanks for support and prayers during our mission. We are looking forward to Czech Republic… Au revoir Haiti!
Wednesday 31st of October
Port au Prince – We have meeting with our main head of office in The Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which is part of OSN. We are introducing our job in Haiti and current projects. We are getting situation reports and message of mapped situation after earthquake, by which Haiti was hit on 6th of October.
There is a sense of tension in society. On our way back to the accommodation we saw a huge black smog at the end of the street near president palace. We are asking the driver, if it’s a fire? And he said: „No, it is manifestation, people are burning tyres…” And quickly turning our vehicle to other way. We watched the news at sisters why are people making manifestation. Today was a funeral of 6 people, who died 14 days ago (17th of October) at protests against the government in Port au Prince. People who are making manifestation want to know where are billions USD from company Petrocaribe. Originally the money was to help development of the whole country. At daily news on TV survivor people and participants on funeral of 6 people tell the story and blame the president. They are complaining on corrupted government. Funeral made a big stir, angry and upset Haitian people are burning tyres and trash. Haitian police had to strike. 5 people died at this intervention…
We hope that our last days in Haiti will be calm…
Tuesday 30th of October
Port au Prince – Sound in body, sound in mind – Every Tuesday at school saint Terezie is at spirit of sport, every class compulsory a class of psychical education (PE).
And next day at traffic jam – we are dealing with an agent, who solves administrative matters of a new car for sisters of St. Joseph at Gonaïves. Czech donators donated for the new vehicle during this year at spring collection. The car is in port. Process of duty delayed. Agent explained to us why it has delay. The last signature of Ministry has left, soon after that sisters should cruise Haitian roads in a new car.
Monday 29th of October
Port au Prince – Trash everywhere, mess, dust, many people, motorcycles and cars – after 3 weeks we are back in a busy main city. Oasis of calm we have at sisters of st. Joseph at Cazeau, with who our Slovakian colleagues from Charity are cooperating with. Sister have a school here with 510 pupils. The main administrator sister Polonne is showing us the school, introducing to pupils and showing us what is new there.
Travel by car in Port au Prince is infinitely – nobody nowhere follows the rules… There is only one rule – right of the stronger. Stronger could make overtaking on right side or left side, there are little of traffic signs, no one knows about preference from the right side – so it takes us about one and half hour to get to the permanent office of colleagues from Swiss Charity. We are informing each other about currently projects, because we get in here once in a year.
Sunday 28th of October
Gonaïves – Sunday holy mass at local church P. Marie Karmel lasts 2 hour. It is not something unusual in Haiti. After holy mass we are saying goodbye to sisters of St. Joseph and for the last time we have a chance to look down on the city Gonaïves from terrace. Thank you for your warm welcome and for all of the work, which they are making for local people. We had such a great time at their place and we would stay longer, but we have to do another job at Port au Prince. Just a last photo together. We are looking forward for the next year again…
Friday 26th of October
Gonaïves – In the morning I am going to a bishop Yves Marie Péan, who are keeping a protecting hand on sisters of St. Joseph. Our meeting had pleasant spirit, bishop was happy for a wooden cross, which we brought from Czech Republic as a gift for him. He said that he will bring it to his chapel and he will think about Czech donors during every mass. He is very glad for their generosity and selfless help for those who needs it and send blessings for them all.
Jožka continues at medical preventive examinations with mothers and children – another 30 patients are successfully treated. It is not about complicated cases, many health problems were treated simple just by regular drinking regime and balanced diet – but this is the problem in Haiti. We are giving a pack of vitamins to every patient and another needed medications by diagnosis.
And because it is a Friday, mothers and children are getting at nutritional centre a little bit of rice and beans for weekend. The queue is long, but everybody gets something. Some of mothers are impatient when they get their food. After getting food they are in rush to get home, sometimes they forget their children at the centre… After a while they come back of course. In one hand a child, on head a bag with a food, in second hand second child and then they can go home.
Another local poor and handicapped people are coming for rice and beans – one woman, who doesn’t have a right leg is coming with crutches. Also those we were sending by a container to Haiti.
Thursday 25th of October
Gonaïves – We are getting into a second home of sisters St. Joseph at the centre of Gonaïves, this year sisters opened up second orthopaedic centre. Sister Pyari is working here every Thursday. And that day is today, patients are mostly children about 2 years old. They have movement problems, unpaved muscles, they are weak by nutrition… Sister is making with every single one of them 20 minutes of work out. She thinks that children are doing better after few weeks, but they have to keep working.
Also part of the house it is not only an orthopaedic centre but also a sewing workshop and preparatory formation for girls, who want join order of sisters. At this time there are two girls preparing for that.
Wednesday 24th of October
Gonaïves – this week pupils in Haiti have their first exam (during next school year they will have another 3 exam periods. In the morning teachers are getting exam papers from headmaster of the school and here we go. Good luck!
We have lot of work in the morning. Women are coming to the nutritional centre, today is a consulting day with a doctor. Jožka with assistance of sister Pyari checked more than 30 mothers with their children… That is just a half of the people, who came, the rest of them we schedule an appointment to a Friday. Most common problems of children are skin rash, digestive problems (diarrhoea, vomiting, parasites), fever, cold, malnutrition. Mothers most often complain about headache, insomnia, itching skin, vaginal infections, abdominal pain, back pain.
At the afternoon we are visiting sewing workshop. Last year we sent there Czech pedalling machines also sewing supplies and materials. 15 learning seamstresses are welcoming us. 6 machines, which they are using are from brands Minerva and Lada from ČR. Women and sisters like Czech machines very much and they are showing us their work – really nice children dress, place setting, table-cloth, cooking aprons and lot more… Those of them who are more skilled sew uniforms for pupils. Sewing workshop is working for already 2 years. This year next to sisters house St. Joseph is going to be build a small sewing factory, where they will make T-shirts for United States market. In factory will work that 6 seamstresses from apprenticeship, which Charity and Czech donors are donating. Women have certainty that after learning the will be employed. The profit from selling T-shirts will be used for factory and for help those who needed in Haiti. All in cooperation with American organization.
Another long day is behind us. Next is a dinner by a light from flashlight – power outage is normal here… We are going to sleep. Bonne nuit!
Tuesday 23rd of October
Gonaïves – Last flashing of camera – we just took a picture of the rest of children form the project Child Sponsorship. Every children is sending words and greetings to their sponsors and like every year they are sending pictures and letters. Adoptive parents in Czech Republic will soon read what is new…
Dumplings with avocado – Although local sisters cook very good, we decided to make one evening easy for them and we cook our Czech dumplings. We serve them with an avocado because there is no cabbage in Haiti. Sisters like it, there is no one left.
Monday 22nd of October
Gonaïves – Czech Tatra arrives in Haiti J, we find out by visiting nutritional centre at sisters St. Joseph. Right at the door a little boy is welcoming us in orange Tatra car, which we sent with other things last year at container. Little boy is very happy when we are playing with him and the car at the hall.
About 60 mothers and their children are coming to centre today. Except getting food for them they are getting education as well. They learn basic information about social life, economy and also how to take care of children and how to identify disease and also they could find there a spirit support. This morning an external educator came to tell something about earthquake. They find out how to act in that situation and where to hide. There was also a practical training.
Sister Pyair is inviting us to her orthopaedic surgery, where she shows on her little patients their most common movement problems. That problems are often caused by complications at childbirth, lack of food, vitamins and care. Sister with children and their mothers by their side regularly do exercises and shows them basic movement exercises so they could do that at home. If mothers follow sister’s advices, children make faster improvements.
We are going to school at the afternoon, pupils from 6th grade have computer science. We can see something from Czech Republic there… Pupils are learning on computers, which arrived in January at the container. We are glad – Bon travail!
Saturday 20th of October
Port de Paix – We are over a night in local rectory by the cathedral Notre Dame, where we were warmly welcomed and regaled P. Rudolph Baltazar. Priest cooperates with Caritas Czech Republic for a long time also with Caritas Slovakia and he visited Olomouc in the past. He is sending there greetings…
All the way on north-west we have P. Bertrand from Baie de Henne with us, now he is leading us to short audience to bishop at Port de Paix. Bishop Pierre Antoine Paulo is very nice and thank us for all job we do at his diocese and gives us blessings for our next journey.
Mission at north-west is done, we are going back to Gonaïves
Friday 19th of October
Mole St. Nicolas, Port de Paix – We are bringing medications and medical tools to Centre de Santé, which they really need here. Currently there are two local doctors and two nurses, they have many patients every day.
Jožka is seeing Petit Joseph for the first time – a boy, who he helped with giving his birth 9 years ago. Childbirth was complicated, but everything end well. Petit Joseph is alive and healthy and now he is going to 5th grade at school.
After lunch we are saying goodbye to Mole and go to Port de Paix – diocesan city of this area, where Baie de Henne is part of. 14 days ago there was a strong earthquake during which 15 people died and more than 330 people were hurt. Now is it is not recognizable in the city, life moves on.
At some parts of the city we see destroyed houses or broken walls…
Thursday 18th of October
Petit Anse, Mole St. Nicolas – We have a few packs left to give from adoptive parents. Next are 20 pupils, who are going to small school at Petit Anse. Except letter we are giving them vitamins as well. Children and teachers are very happy. And we are too.
At the afternoon we are going to Mole St. Nicolas, where we were warmly welcomed – especially Jožka. It is been ten years from time, where he spent almost a year as a doctor at local Centre de Santé. Local staff is still remembering him. „Docteur Joseph” is well known.
We spend a night at local rectory.
Wednesday 17th of October
Baie de Henne – Streets at big cities are full of people, throwing stones, burning tires…
Today is a public holiday, memorial day of death Jean Jacques Dessalin – leader of Haitian revolution, who deserved an independence of the country. Residents in all big cities protest against government and president instead of celebrating. Reason is a dissatisfaction with leading country and lack of transparency. Again there is a problem about money, which Haiti received from the company Petrocaribe (Venezuela Company) in 2005. People are wondering where are these 4 billion USD, which their main purpose was to use it for development. Nothing new have built or made. People are questioning president with the same question: „Where is the money“? Because of this protests we are not moving to terrain and we are staying at Baie de Henne.
Monday 15th – Tuesday 16th of October
Baie de Henne – The first healthy camp started. Lot of people are going to school at Baie de Henne, mostly children. During two days we succeed to treat 248 patients, 237 children, 10 teachers and 1 cook. Most common problems at children are parasites, digestive problems, diarrhoea, lack of vitamins, cold or fever, and also skin disease, rash, eczema, malnutrition and bad dental condition.
With adults we are facing problems like high blood pressure, problems with eyes (patients are often tired and have headache), insomnia, parasite and digestive problems.
To everybody who come we give multivitamins and toothpaste and also other medications by current diagnosis.
Till next time we have to take more medications against parasite, cold and fever (paracetamol), it is a need vitamins C and D and multivitamins.
Preventive examinations we can do thanks to businesses and their customers at Olomouc, Svitavy, Zábřeh and Hranice, who donated money to campaign For Health Haiti.
Sunday 14th of October
Baie de Henne – I think I got infected, I had fever at night… To be on the safe side I am taking pills against malaria, because there is a big chance that is it. Mosquitos bite us a lost with Jožka and we have to be healthy for the next week. We have a heathy camp at school.
Only Jožka is going to the mass, I am resting and healing myself. Mass takes about 2 hour, people there are singing and playing drums.
During the day I got better and at 4pm in the afternoon I am meeting parents whose children are adopted to tell them about the rules of Child Sponsorship. Then I try local pills against fever – swimming at the sea. Local people do that to get rid of cold and gain new strong; it seems like it helps, I got really better at the evening.
Saturday 13th of October
La Salina – Salt more than gold. We head to near village La Salina, where the salt is made and kept – very rare product. P. Bertrand is taking us to the beach in the afternoon, we are looking forward to get little rest at beautiful place, unfortunately beach looks like the rest places in Haiti – garbage everywhere.
Friday 12th of October
Baie de Henne – Christmas in October. We are giving packages from adoptive parents to children, who are really excited to see us… And we are writing letters with them for donators at Czech Republic.
We are healing at village
In the afternoon we are going to visit residents of village. There is also Christela, whose family being helped by ACHO for years. Christela is handicapped, her husband died because of cholera epidemic and she is raising her two small child by her own. There is raining a lot and Mosquitos flies everywhere. People are getting sick. Christela is sick, Jožka is making preventive examination for few people and giving to them pills against cold.
Wednesday 10th – Thursday 11th of October
Baie de Henne – After 4 and half hour we arrived to Baie de Henne. P. Bertrand a new local priest is welcoming us and he is in charge of school. And we are getting acquainted. Next day we are meeting with 250 pupils. Children sending greetings to their donors. Besides ordinary responsibilities we are playing dobble with teachers, we are explaining the rules and making ideas how to use this game during teaching.
In the afternoon we are going to health centre, which local people repair and expand it. There are two doctors and two nurses at the centre. One of the nurses will soon help us with treating children. At school Baie de Henne we are going to do health camp.
Tuesday 9th of October
Gonaïves – We are again at school Emmaus St. Joseph. „Bienvenue, bienvenue…“ by which we are welcomed by over than 600 pupils. And we are ready. We start to take pictures of children by Child Sponsorship, so their „parents” can see how they grow.
School expanded to 7th grade, also 8th and 9th grade are being built.
And now Food for the poor – we are picking up required medication for Healthy camp at Baide de Henne. FFTP is giving us vitamins and does not provide most needed medication for usual illness, fever, cold… So we go to local pharmacy to buy more, but the number of medication is limited. We can buy only one box of each kind of pills, so we almost buy one third of the pharmacy. Local pharmacist is used to selling each individual pill than boxes. Hope that pills will be enough for Baie de Henne. It is not easy to get pills in Haiti. Most of them have short durability of medication, get antibiotics is impossible and all medicaments are expensive.
In the afternoon we are going to visit house of one cook from school canteen Emmaus St. Joseph. Saturday’s earthquake destroyed her house a little. She lives there with her three children.
Monday 8th of October
Gonaïves – We are not sleeping at night. At about half past one in the night we feel earthquake a little…
In the morning we are going to watch how sisters give milk to a children. Most of them don’t have breakfast at home, so milk is necessary for them to have strength a so they can focus at school.
There is a message coming in the morning that minister announces time off for all schools because earthquake could happen again. For pupils is lunch already prepared, about eleven everybody get their lunch and then during common onset they get lesson how to act if earthquake comes. Not panic too much, leave the house or stay by a strong wall. Then they pray together and go home… The whole day is calm, no shocks.
In the afternoon we are going with Joseph to meet local high school students from Child Sponsorship.
We check at Gonaïves how things from container for Haiti sent from Czech Republic, work. Sisters are very happy for padded chairs at canteen. They are using lockers at their chapel for prayer books and song-books. One locker they have at the canteen (other lockers will be at sewing workshops where we will go in 14 days).