Sionfonds for Haiti Blog

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Mesi Anpil (Thank you very much)

Mesi Anpil (Thank you very much)

As the famous, at least to those of us who participate in Sionfonds for Haiti medical trips, Scott Bullock said last November “We work hard when we come to Haiti, but I always get more than I give.” I agree a thousand times over–as I leave Haiti today I feel incredibly blessed to have this place and the people here as a part of my life. I am going home to my family but leaving family here too and I will miss them.

Our medical trips are like family reunions every six months.  We come together to work for Haiti providing medical and dental care and to laugh and travel and eat together. It is a sort of miracle that we transport 45 people all over the southern coast and into the mountains on foot, and set up 5 clinics and treat thousands of people in just 7 days. I am so grateful to everyone on our medical team, those who support us, those who come to Haiti and those who live here in Haiti.

Mesi Anpil.

Returning home I know people will ask how things are in Haiti. It is not easy to live here.  The challenges are greater than I can ever know so I do not think I can judge if things are ‘ getting better’ despite having been coming here for many years now.  Since the earthquake, most of the news that comes out of Haiti is not good. I do know that recovery is slow and seems insurmountable. When I am asked, I will say that yes there are still people living in tent cities and broken fallen down houses and piles of rubble throughout Port au Prince and the surrounding towns, and I will also say that I saw people and machines clearing rubble and construction going on everywhere we went. I saw more construction materials being transported as we drove the southern coast than ever before.  I saw a garbage truck in downtown PaP with men shoveling garbage into it. The shacks that had been built on the meridian on the main Hwy out of PaP toward Leogane are gone, and that big garbage/rubble pile called Alpha One is half the size it used to be. They are repaving the road to Kenscoff.  Before the earthquake I do not remember any road paving or garbage trucks. We visited a brand new hospital just built by the Haitian government in Port de Piment. It has only one doctor and three nurses and no electricity but it has the potential to be something vital to the surrounding communities.

There seems to be more resources and possibilities in the air throughout Haiti.

Now that a new president has been elected my hope is that more of the aid pledged to Haiti will begin flow into the country. Sionfonds for Haiti’s work remains the same–to provide educational opportunities and the foundations (healthcare, jobs and job training, nutrition) for Haitians to change their lives and country.

The challenge for Sionfonds in the US is to continue to inspire those who can to support our work and the Haitian people we serve. All of our work can only be done with the support of people like you. And you can help more than you think you can, just by talking about our work and the experiences shared here and sending in donations of any size it all helps. As the earthquake recedes in the memory of popular culture, Haiti continues on, as always, doing the most with what they have, the future is uncertain and today is immediate and real. Sionfonds shares the uncertain future of Haiti, we will do the most with what we have, and what we have depends on you.

Thanks for supporting us and your interest in Sionfonds work in Haiti.

Making a Difference in Haiti; April 2011 Medical Trip By the Numbers

Making a Difference in Haiti; April 2011 Medical Trip By the Numbers


Clinic  at Sionfonds’ school in Cavaillon on March 31, 2011

Medical and dental Well Checks on all 256 students

*For Medical attention:

111 adults

29 children from the surrounding community

35 students

5 teachers

*For Dental Care/extractions:

111 adults and children for extractions and sealants and flouride treatments

290 people total

At our clinic in Chardonier on April 1st, 2011

*For Medical attention:

467 adults

72 children

*For Dental Care/extractions:

64 adults and children for extractions

We do not have the number of sealants applied for this day.

603 people total

At Day 2 of Chardonier Clinic April 2, 2011

*For Medical attention:

442 adults and children

*For Dental Care/extractions:

98 adults and children for extractions

( a whooping 282 teeth pulled by one dentist)

we do not have the number of sealants applied for this day.

540 people total

Clinic at Sionfonds’ School in Kenscoff April 4, 2011

Medical and dental Well Checks on all 62 students

*For Medical attention:

185 adults and children

*For Dental Care:

83 Sealants

18 adults  extractions

19 children extractions

305 people total

Clinic at Sionfonds’ school in Masson on April 5, 2011

Medical and dental Well Checks on all 362  students

*For medical attention we saw:

168 students

100 community members adults and children

*Dental Care:

97 Sealants

28 adult extractions

20 child extractions

407 people total

Well over 2,109 people were treated during Sionfonds for Haiti’s April 2011 medical expedition!

In addition we employed over 45 Haitian staff members.

April 2011 Medical Team

On Their Way

On Their Way

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As the medical team departs this morning.

We at Sionfonds in Haiti and the US and I know every Haitian person whose lives you touched would like to thank you  for your generous hearts and caring spirits that brought you here to change the lives of thousands of people.

Bon Voyage




Doctors Greg Shay and Dirk Smith and interpreters Kervins and Demitri seeing patients

April First and  Second in Chardonier

It is takes two hours to get to Chardonier from Les Cayes not one. It is a beautiful ride along the southern coast of Haiti. The villages have a sweet old world look to them little houses on narrow streets. Some have churches near the town square with steeples, all set on Caribbean beaches. The dirty garbage and rubble filed streets of Port au Prince are a memory here. Being farther away from those street means being farther away from paying jobs and access to the big markets of Port au Prince–we see a lot more malnutrition here than closer to the cities.

We arrived to about a about 200 or so people in the street all pushing to get in side the yard of the building where the clinic was held and another 100 already inside. This being the first day we had all our bags, we had a chance to see all of what we had and organize our medications and supplies. The day went very well. Our 4 visiting and 5 Haitian docs did approximately 180 consultations. Our dentist saw about 47 people most having more than a couple teeth pulled. Dr Matt worked well past dark to finish everyone he had promised to see.

Karen, our social worker turned “Dental Hygiene Queen” worked with Junior Mardy, an old pro at this work, to apply sealants and fluoride treatments to 75 students at a near by school.

Pharmacia Blair Hankin, Nicole Spooner, Athena Henri and Sue Johnston

Everyone worked hard from the time we arrived until the sun went down. Then our host  a family here in Chardonier generously shared their home on the beach with us. We had a lovely meal of goat, rice, green beans, beets and mac and cheese. Most of us elected to sleep under the stars on the roof of a church next door to the house. When we arrived the church was singing full force, which continued on until after most of us were ready to go to bed. Serena, who speaks kreyol, went next door to listen in. The woman speaking to the congregation was saying “Thank you Jesus, for protecting our mothers, for protecting our fathers and our children.  We should be thankful because so many people do not have what we have.”  She wondered just who those people might be but marveled at how even the poorest people find something to be grateful for. Amen

The second day of clinic, getting through the crush of people trying to get in outside  the clinic gate made us feel like rock stars. And made us know again how desperately people need health care in this region.

The day went well.  We started about 9 am and the docs finished about 4 because we ran out of medications. We saw a total of 542 people.  Super Dentist Matt Valentine continue on until after dark seeing 82 people and pulling 282 teeth. Wow.

We served over 1000 people in two days.

We had another delicious meal cooked for us by Sionfonds staff ( there are about 45 of us all together, cooks, security, Haitian doctors nurses and interpreters), then set off for Le Cayes for the night.

We are back in Port au Prince now. We have a fresh supply of medications and are heading up to Kenscoff  this morning for a clinic at our school there.

Back in Haiti April 2011 medical Expedition is well under way.

Back in Haiti April 2011 medical Expedition is well under way.

The Dental Clinic at Cavaillon

This Medical trip consists of 3 doctors from the SF bay area, a PA from Canada, a dentist  and dental assistant from St George Utah, 3 nurses from Canada and SF, 2 interpretters form the UK and SF bay area, a socail worker from Sf Bay area, and two children 11 and 15. We have Haitian team members doctors, nurses, interpreters numbering 28.

About half the team have been on multiple trips with Sionfonds medical expeditions and most of the Haitian staff have been on all of them so I believe we are as fine tuned a Mobile Clinic Machine as we can be . Meaning; we prepare, we collect things, we arrive and then we roll with what ever comes our way. I do not know how we attract such outstanding agreeable,  easygoing, Magivering people, to these trips but they make our medical trips fun and effective to our ultimate goals of helping Haitians in remote areas where there is no other medical or dental care available and maintaining the health of the children at our schools.

This trip is no exception, on arrival despite 13 of our bags – the ones with most our meds – not arriving with us, we  hit the road for La Cayes. Thursday we held clinic at our school in Cavaillon. We had a lot to accomplish at Cavaillon; the medical clinic, seeing all the 250 children for assessments and community members in need of medical attention, this trip we have ‘ only’ one dentists who checked the sealants on every child, and then pulled approx. 140 teeth out of 80 mouths, we had a team applying sealants to children who were knew to the school or who need re-application. In addition to clinc, Sionfonds  students were weighed and measured for assesment purposes for a grant we are applying for. Sponsored students wrote letters to their sponsors , had their photos taken. It was a busy chaotic and enjoyable day.

In addition it was exciting for me to be in Cavaillon, and look at the site of the school that we are going to build this year. Sionfonds receieved a grant to replace the current school which is a pole and tarp structure.

Today we head farther out the southern leg of Haiti to Chardonier a spectacularly beautiful little village on the sea shore.

We will be out there until Sunday sleeping under the stars ( and our mosquito netting ) listening to the Caribbean sea by night and working our selves to exhaastion everyday! What could be better??