I am a very recent visitor to Haiti & the Brothers & Sisters Orphanage, 5,000 ft above Port a Prince! It was a privilege to accompany Jean Paradis to Haiti.
Jean & I were classmates @ Holy Cross School of Nursing and graduated 50 years ago on South Bend, In. We reconnected about 4 years ago in Florida and are now neighbors in Bonita Springs, Florida!!
Jean & Tom exposed me to their connection with Fr. Rick and his compassionate endeavors in Haiti. I joined the Paradis at a dinner in Chicago honoring Fr. Rick and then was included in the sharing of his beautiful letters via e-mail. It has all been a great experience.
I made my first trip to Haiti with Jean the last week of January, 2016; so I really am a novice! The last 15 yrs. of my career as a Nurse were spent in a school setting. As a result, I became a CPR certified instructor; teaching teachers, students and community members in Martinsville, Indiana.
Jean & I requested permission from the Orphanage to provide an introduction and instruction to their students and staff in the techniques of CPR & Heimlick Procedures. I would do the demonstrations and Jean would provide the translation to Creole.
We were warmly greeted at the Port a Prince Airport by Jenna & Rembrant( also named by me as Shakespeare). From the very first meeting , I felt comfortable and needed. I met wonderful people on my journey. The dedication of the workers and staff is amazing!!
The next morning Jenna had set us up for our first classes. The students were Junior High age; inquisitive and very respectful of our goals. They listened intently and asked relevant questions. Many of the students spoke some English which they looked forward to practicing with Jean & me. We saw & instructed about 50 students our first day and we're ready for our beds by 8:30PM.
During the next 2 days we were able to offer demonstrations and instructions to 15 more high school students and 35 adults. The adults were the Madams & Meds, who were the overseers of the children in their dorms. Another we worked with were the Nurses from the Orphanage Clinic
The Doctor, who covers the Clinic, showed much support for our project.
We also met other volunteers at the Orphanage and felt much comrade tee and support. We spent evening around the dining table discussing many subjects and sharing our impressions and feelings. It was an amazing physical, emotional and spiritual experience.
On our last day we left the mountain to head to Tabaar; so I could see St. Damian's Hospital, connect with Fr. Rick and visit the Rehab facility headed up by Norma, another dedicated worker. We were treated to a delicious lunch before heading off to the airport to fly back to Florida!
What an amazing trip! I hope to be able to make a future trip to Haiti and be able to help in some way with the needs in Fond de Blanc. I'm not sure anyone knows what the future holds for Haiti, but I do know that all the devoted people, who have helped in the past and are working so hard in the present, have made a very positive mark on this land and it's wonderful people. Thank you so much for letting me a very small part of your endeavors and goals!