Mission Trip Report - June 19 – 27, 2018
Overall Missions Goal: Serve God’s beloved poor.
Executive Summary/Most Major Accomplishments (one line summary of each of the items below)
1. Met with two of the top in country leaders of the organization called “Food for the Poor” and discussed joint projects for the future.
2. Distributed 4,000 lbs of supplies/equipment, which we had sent on the sea container.
3. Provided medical care to 1800 total patients seen in medical/dental/eye clinics.
4. Interviewed 40 of the poorest families to find specific details of how we could help, selected and started five families on a $300 microloans program.
5. Tested and confirmed both the school water cistern and the Gandou general community spring water source are high contaminated.
6. Obtained, tested, and used five new water filtration systems from the organization called “Gift of Water,” put them to use in our clinic.
7. Visited two of the families in the home rebuilding project that had completed homes, reviewed updates on the others, and confirmed next steps on this project.
8. Inspected newly constructed school building and meet with University students to discuss plans for the coming school year.
9. Met with our goat microloan project leader, learned of the success and the love of this project, and discussed growing the project as funding becomes available.
10. Met with health workers in our community and closed out 41 referral patients, which had surgery or completed their care since the last trip.
11. Organized and transported more than 30 patients on our trucks to the surgery mission clinic happening in the town of Lavalle (2 hours away).
12. Replaced worn out valves on community water pipe and assessed future improvements needed for the community water supply.
13. Repaired electrical wiring at the rectory and the school and began assessment of all the needs done in the future.
14. Confirmed measurements of the new piece of land recently obtained by the Church in Haiti, which is a site for a permanent medical clinic in the future.
15. Built two bunk beds so two of our missionaries could move their beds from the porch to the sleeping room.
Meeting with Food for the Poor
□ There have been several changes in personnel since our last visit with Food for the Poor in Haiti.
During this meeting, we met with Bishop Oje, who is the lead person in Haiti, and Mario, who is the next person under Bishop Oje.
□ We have been working with Food for the Poor for a few years to ship items to Haiti. This has been working well.
□ Following our meeting at Food for the Poor this past January, they increased the amount of food they are giving our sister parish school. This still is not enough to feed the children, but helps keep our cost of feeding the children lower.
□ At the meeting in January, they said we could request medications from them. We did this, but did not receive any. At this meeting, we found out that the medications must be requested directly by a physician, who then is responsible for dispensing them. Over the counter medications can be requested by a nurse. Fr. Voltaire had previously requested the medications on behalf of Germain, the Haitian nurse who runs our year round clinic, but they had not been granted. Now, we will have Germain request them directly.
□ Mario and Bishop Oje must now be copied on all requests from us and we should reference our June in-person meeting. They suggested this would help.
□ Because Food for the Poor had previously done a community assessment in Gandou and said that logistically they could not do any building projects there, we asked if they could provide building materials for Fr. Voltaire to do building projects. They said they cannot do this.
□ School supplies should be requested from Mario. We need to include information on the school in the request. This includes the size of the school, who is in charge of the school, how the school is set up, how it is connected to a church, who are teachers and what their qualifications are. Things they may be able to help with includes desks, chalkboards or dry erase boards, notebooks, and bookshelves.
□ They may be able to provide computers for the school. It would be best if this request comes directly from Fr. Voltaire. Fr. Voltaire should mention the conversation during this meeting with his request.
□ They sometimes help with wells, we could request one and they would evaluate it. They do not help with water storage tanks.
□ They may be able to help provide food and education for our malnutrition program. They may be able to train the leaders of our malnutrition program.
□ They sometimes help with solar projects, but would need funding for this.
□ They seldom help with animals such as donkeys, but could help us find them if we provide the funding.
□ Our next step with Food for the Poor is to formalize all our requests in writing in email and send to them. They will consider and respond.
Water Filter Project
□ After many years a dream of providing clean drinking water to the families of Gandou is becoming a reality. Many water filter systems were evaluated and the two-bucket system distributed by the Gift of Water from Carmel, IN was chosen. The system uses a combination of chlorine, a string filter, and a charcoal filter that provides water that removes 99.99% of viruses and 100% of E. Coli bacteria.
□ After the selection of the Gift of Water program, two filter systems were tested at our clinic in January 2018 and an additional five systems were tested in June 2018. The filtered water was used to clean the dental equipment and to provide water for the clinic patients.
□ An assessment was conducted in early June in Gandou to understand the environment and to select a technician to implement and monitor the program. Desri Ambroise was selected and he attended training in Port au Prince.
□ We will begin to distribute 100 systems to families this fall with the focus on families with malnourished children and families with young children. Our goal is to distribute 1500 systems over the next several years. The initial cost per filter system is $50 USD plus the ongoing monitoring and supplies will equal an additional $60
□ The introduction and continuation of this essential program will require a lot of financial support. The overall cost of this project is estimated at $160,000 and it will take about 8 years to introduce to all families. We are in need of 90% of this funding yet.
□ By using the water test kits we took on the June trip, all of the current water supplies in Gandou were confirmed to be contaminated. The introduction of the filtered water systems will introduce clean water to the families. This will help with
the problems associated with consuming unclean water such as diarrhea, worms, and sometimes death.
□ Each time we visit Gandou, we learn of deaths that were associated with the consumption of unclean water. One grandmother is now caring for her granddaughter after her mother died of diarrhea within a month of the baby's birth. In addition to this baby, the grandmother is also caring for her two siblings. This is just one of many stories like this.
□ Three team members met with families in the poor families program individually to learn more about them personally and how we can better assist them. They saw about 40 families. Each family receives the small monetary help from Fr. Voltaire, which we provide twice a year.
□ We would like to gradually assist these families to become self-sufficient by enrolling them in the micro loan program, goat program, shoe program, or sewing machine program.
□ This trip we enrolled five families into the micro loan program. Each family received $300 in order to purchase items such as rice, beans, and oil at wholesale to then sell at retail. They will pay back 1% each month.
□ Two sewing machines were given to two families along with fabric and a kit of supplies. Hopefully they will be able to make clothes in order to sell.
□ Items such as peanut butter, soap, clothes, blankets, toothbrushes, toothpaste, solar lights, and shoes were distributed to the poor families as well.
Home repair project
□ At the beginning of this year, we launched a $100,000 home repair project. This will repair or rebuild homes for 33 families in our sister parish. Father Voltaire identified the families as those most in need of help in the community. Hurricane Matthew damaged some and others still had damage from the earthquake in 2010. Many of these homes had leaking roofs. Often part of a wall had collapsed and was just covered with a tarp or old plastic.
□ We have raised $75,000 of the needed $100,000 for this project. Father has received the first $30,000 of these funds. He expects this to be depleted by mid-July. He will send us a report on the first ten homes, and then we will send the next $30,000. We hope the project will be complete within a year. We still need to raise the remaining $25,000.
□ Father has completed two rebuilds and six repairs of homes so far. He anticipates completing two more repairs by mid-July with the initial $30,000. Members of the team visited one completed rebuild and one completed repair. Both families were very grateful and proud to show off their homes.
□ Frantczette, one of the students in our university program will graduate from nursing school this summer. She will take the boards in the fall.
□ She is our first nursing student to graduate. She will soon begin her two years of service in Gandou as repayment for funding her education.
□ Germain, the nurse who currently runs the clinic said she has lots of work for Frantczette to help with.
This includes the malnourished program, blood pressure program, and referral program.
□ Germain is willing to help train her.
□ Discussed this with Father as well. He thinks it would be good for Frantczette to work with Germain for a while until she has more experience.
□ We met with several of the students sponsored at university. Three students are in nursing school, four in education, and one in agriculture.
□ Frantzette (NA attend) will finish nursing by end of this July, what to take the National Nursing exam, and is anxious to begin to train in Gandou, working in the clinic, fulfilling her 2 years of service.
□ Sibile mentioned that for the fiscal year in nursing, she will need extra funds for a community health project in Feb/Mar, outside of the regular tuition. She thinks it will be about $400.
□ Christofé asked for a projector and screen of some sort, so that when teaching, they can project from the laptop onto a screen in front of the group.
□ Charlie Raab, a teacher from Batesville Indiana who joined us for this trip, spoke to the group the ripple effect that a teacher has on students and the community. He made the suggested that in time, there could be an exchange program, with the teachers, which was wildly popular, and Sibile added that she would like to include nursing students in this idea. Everyone saw this as a way to grow the relationship between the schools, the cultures, and communities. All of them agreed that they would like this idea to become a reality.
□ Construction on the new school is complete. The only thing left is to paint it. We have decided not to paint it now, due to funding.
□ Several of us are concerned about the lack of a railing on the steps to the second floor. We will need to see if we can find funding to add a railing.
□ The tutoring program is going well. Father Voltaire will give us a list of students soon.
□ Father Voltaire is working on the school budget for next year. It will be larger than last year with the addition of 12th grade. Schools in Haiti have 13 grades.
□ Gerald, one of the three university graduates teaching in our school, has completed his two years of service and will be full salary, along with Estive and Daniel in the fall.
□ Gerald and Missiana were given several totes of school supplies that we had shipped down to have available to all the teachers in the fall.
□ During the Jan 2018 trip, Estive (school principal) was given a Fire Tablet, so that he could order books from Amazon, or when able to get a very good Wi-Fi connection, download e-books to a file. Because of his motorcycle accident, it took a while to get this setup, but he now says that it is very useful. It is suggested that we send Amazon gift cards, so that they can purchase books that are not free, or other teaching aids.
□ Fran gave Daniel (high school teacher) some books that he had requested for the school and four e-tablets (erasable writing tablets) that might be used for students to practice writing or drawing, hand-eye coordination, etc. Father came by and after looking at these, said they would be useful in the primary grades – 150 of them. Maybe this could be an idea for a school drive. These cost $12-25, depending on the brand “boogie board” or generic.
□ We met with Daniel Noel to discuss the goat project.
□ Three families had one original goat die; two families had two original goats die. All families still have one male goat. The main cause of death is strangulation from being frightened when tethered or from rain causing rocks to fall on the goats’ heads. If a goat is strangled, they do not eat it. If it dies from a rock, they still eat it.
□ There are now 18 living offspring. One family has no living offspring. All offspring have been vaccinated. Daniel has one vial of vaccine left; this will be enough until January. We need to send more in January.
□ The goat offspring need to be ten months old before they can be given to another family as pay back for the microloan. Three goats are old enough now. He will have five ready by August. He will wait until the first five are ready to collect them and begin a new family (in August). The new family will be
chosen from our list of poor families. The new family will get four girls and a boy. If too many boys are repaid, he will sell them and buy girls.
□ Daniel Noel meets with the families every month and gets a report from them. This takes 1-2 days.
Daniel Laguerre helps as need with vaccines and formation, not a lot now that the program is running. Formation included how to care for the goats – food, water, etc.
□ The families wish to tell us thank you. This is a very good program. After they pay back their goats, they will pay for their children’s school or buy other things their families need.
□ Daniel thinks more families would be better; he would like to increase to 20 families. He is ready to increase now if funds are available. We would need $9000 to do this.
□ We asked Daniel Noel his concerns. Daniel said it would be good if we paid Daniel Laguerre something. He did not ask for anything for himself. I told him we sent funds for both of them this trip and Father would have them next week. He also asked what we planned for the duration of the project. I said we wanted it to continue and keep helping new families. He said this is good because it is a good program to help people stand on their own.
□ We also met with Fr. Voltaire about the goat project. Father said this is a very good project.
□ He said the pay for the two Daniel’s should be a set amount. For Daniel Noel, $125 every six months.
For Daniel Laguerre, $100 every six months. This is more than we had sent. We told Father we needed to discuss with the committee and will get back to him.
□ Father Voltaire agrees to use families from the poor family project for the next new families. Only families with land to keep the goats on will be eligible.
□ Right now goats cost $125-150. If we want to increase the project, it would be best in September or October when goats cost $90-100.
□ The new donated generator was put into service on this trip. Centrally located in the school compound it served the medical, dental and optical clinics daily. An impressive and inexpensive machine at less than $500, it gave us no trouble and loafed along on what seemed like about a quart an hour of gasoline.
□ Men’s living quarters/storage area - Being built of untreated wood and having nearly constant damp to wet ground contact, the entire lower perimeter, the door and most of the lower 4ft of the plywood siding is rotting. The structure requires immediate attention before its integrity is irreversibly compromised. It would take an estimated
$1000 for exterior plywood and waterproofing stain. Because this project is for the team and not the community of
Gandou, general donations cannot be used for this, only donations designated specifically for this.
□ Discussed with Father the possibility of sponsoring a young man from Gandou to go to a vocational school for mechanics. This person would then be able to help around the rectory, school, and church with maintenance issues including the generator and truck. Father gave us the name of a young man. He is checking on the cost.
□ Due to the mission team growing in number over time, the need to fit more people in the same sleeping space has greatly increased. For this trip, two bunk beds were built which allowed two people that were sleeping on the porch (fortunately no overnight storms occurred) to move inside the rectory
as well as to get two other people off the floor as well as additional spaces to place personal luggage. The bunk beds will also be used throughout the year when Father has guests at the rectory, especially for the parish feast day celebration.
□ We worked with our health worker Oscal on motorcycle training. He was able to run up and down the mountain a couple of times. He will work with some local motorcycle drivers to get additional practice.
□ Land for new medical clinic - We were able to walk the land with Father Voltaire to better understand the boundaries available for the new clinic. Some areas of the boundaries were in question from last trip, new measurements were made, and map marked up. This is a nice large site that has much potential.
□ It was noted at last trip that the previously buried electric wires had become exposed in a few different areas at the rocky path between rectory and school and rectory and old clinic as well as in school playground area. We were able to pay some locals to help bury the wires and we disconnected and rerouted the wire in school playground area and redug a trench there to greatly improve situation.
Next trip, some attention needs made where wire goes from ground up to the school. It needs buried and ideally a disconnect put in place with conduit coming up from ground and maybe an outdoor outlet put in place for school/clinic usage
Community Water Supply
□ The valves on the new water station are already completely worn out after 5 months in use. We replaced the two supply valves but were unable to replace the center shutoff valve because we did not have the proper tools. We did remove the handle from the shutoff valve and gave it to Father Voltaire to prevent further wear and confusion by residents trying to get water from the station when there simply is not any.
□ There is a lot of pressure on that water source; meaning from sun up to sun down there is always someone at the station. Currently there is no water in the concrete storage tank. It is being taken at the water station as fast as the concrete tank is receiving it from the capped spring.
□ Discussions were held with Father to remind him of the need to inform residents there is very limited water during the dry season and that conservation is imperative. We were able to install some hoses, which helped reduce the amount of spilled water during fills; however, some water is still being lost.
□ With guidance from a local, we were able to walk the water line from the concrete storage tank back to the capped spring. It was difficult to tell if any part of the line was leaking, as the ground was already wet from rains from the day prior. It is quite a walk thru fields and pasture and up and down some hills to get to the capped spring. Since the line is not very deep, they apparently hit the line from time to time with their farming tools and have to repair it. The line was only visible across the creek, which was a metal pipe there (believed to be about 1.5” diameter pipe), but unclear what is underground for the remainder of the run.
□ A discussion was had with Food for the Poor during the trip on drilling a new well. There is expected to be difficulty in getting their normal drilling equipment to the site, however they mentioned an option for more portable drilling methods that may be able to be used. More details need to be sent to Food for the Poor to see how or if they could support a well drilling project.
□ Our four providers were able to see 210 patients on Thursday, 308 on Friday, 333 on Saturday, and 435 on Monday, for a total of 1286.
□ Our EKG machine quit working on the first day. We need to find a new one before the next trip.
□ Dr. Affricot, the Haitian physician who works with us, has a full time clinic in LaValle. He now has and OB/Gyn physician in his clinic once a week. They can do ultrasounds there. This is a good place to send referral patients. Dr. Affricot also said that if we had a small portable ultrasound, he could use it in Gandou.
□ Germain, our Haitian nurse, said she would like to paint the small 2-room building she now uses as her clinic. She also said the latrine there is no longer good and needs repairs.
□ We again worked with Dr. Peterson and the five person Haitian dental team.
□ They saw 338 patients. They did 304 extractions, 129 cleanings, and 95 repairs.
□ The curing light that the dental team brought broke on the first day. Dr. Patrick was able to have someone bring one by motorcycle from the clinic he works at in LaValle. This decreased the number of restorations done during the first two days of clinic. We may need to find a new curing light before the next trip.
□ We are now using water from our two-bucket systems in the dental clinic instead of Culligan. This is working well, except it requires a lot of water at the start. We need to start purifying water early to have enough.
□ The air compressor pressure relief valve is not working. We need to bring a new one next time, or replace the compressor.
□ The whole dental team was a hardworking and efficient team. We praise God for sending all of them to help these people so much.
□ Dr. Eddy worked with us again. We are so happy with him, his skills, and all his hard work. He sees more patients that we ever imagined a single eye doctor could.
□ Dr. Eddy would like to work with to an optometrist from the United States on these missions. We are looking to improve the equipment and services we offer.
□ We bring eyeglasses donated by the Lion’s Club. Usually he can find something to match the patient’s needs. A few patients on the last trip need something more specialized. We brought their prescriptions home and the Lion’s Club provided the needed prescriptions. Many of these patients returned this trip to get their glasses.
□ The referral program is for patients identified during our twice a year clinics who have medical conditions that require more care than our team can provide in Gandou. Our health care workers arrange, with our funding, for them to receive care in LaValle, Jacmel, or Port-au-Prince.
□ Since our last trip, the health workers completed 41 referrals. These included hernia surgeries, mass removals, eye surgery, lab testing, and specialist consults. Xavier – 2 patients, Oscal 17 patients, Josue 16 patients, Rigaud 6 patients
□ A group from New Orleans was having a surgery clinic in LaValle (two hours away) that overlapped with the end of our trip. We were able to send more than 30 patients to LaValle using our rental trucks. Two of the health workers went with them and arranged for them to have a place to stay. They will help the patients get seen and many are expected to receive surgery.
□ Over the past couple years, as we see a malnourished child in our clinic we add them to a program we call the malnourished program where we do special tracking of the patients.
□ We currently have 41 children in this program.
□ The patients are asked to return once per month to the nurse for a new weight to be taken, a general health assessment to be done, and for food to be provided to them.
□ Our nurse, Bonnie, worked with all the children that came into our clinic which were in our malnourished program.
□ Bonnie reported that our nurse in Gandou (Germain) is doing a great job tracking these patients.
□ Germain is doing a good job with the monthly tracking of the weight of these patients.
□ Several of the patients had gained enough weight and were doing well enough medically that they were ready to come off the program.
□ The biggest challenge with the program is that some months the nurse reports that there is no money to buy food for the malnourished patients.
□ Bonnie met with Father Voltaire to talk about this. We had always left a little money for the clinic between our trips, but we had never directed that a certain amount of this money go to for food for the malnourished program. Father reported that often the amount of money we leave is not enough to supply food for all the families in the malnourished program and to supply the clinic with the supplies it needs.
□ We are asking Food for the Poor to begin helping to supply food for our malnourished program. We will see if this program can be better supported with their help. In the past, we asked them for this help and they have not been able to help us.
□ We decided we need to increase the amount of money we send for the clinic and direct a set amount of it to be used for the malnourished program every 6 months.
□ Father’s truck is about ten years old and has been up and down the mountain so many times that the whole truck is worn out. We have had to repair it more and more frequently.
□ We have been working with a German organization, Adveniate, which provides trucks to priests in Haiti. This is how we obtained the current truck ten years ago. If we provide 25% of the cost, Adveniate will provide the remainder. Several months ago, Fr. Voltaire, with his Bishop’s approval, submitted a request to them for a new truck. Because they have already prioritized their giving for this year, it will likely be next year before Fr. Voltaire can receive their help in obtaining a truck.
□ Two weeks prior to our trip Fr. Voltaire’s truck broke down again. He was unable to use it during our trip and borrowed a similar truck from another priest to help get our team to Gandou.
□ The transmission keeps breaking. We have repaired parts of it several times recently.
□ Replacing the transmission and doing a repair will cost about $7500. Doing a small repair of about
$2500 might get the truck running for a short time. If we get a new truck or get a truck through Adveniate, Father will still need to spend the $2500 to get it running so that he can sell it.
□ Father had an estimate for a new truck of $42,000. Due to this high cost, we would like to wait to purchase a truck until we can get help from Adveniate to minimize the amount we need to come up with.
□ Right now we need to come up with the money to get Father’s truck up and going again and to plan more repairs between now and about 1 year from now when we are hoping we might be able to get Adveniate’s help with a new truck. We are also expecting to need to fund more than 25% of the cost of the new truck. Some of this funding has been obtained but there is still about $13,000.
□ Completing the church construction continues to be toward the top of Fr. Voltaire’s list of priorities.
□ The basic structure of the church is completed and it is being used. The next steps is to finish the cement coating on the inside and outside of the church. It has been completed in the front part of the inside of the church. To finish the back part of the inside of the church will cost $8500. To do the outside would be $22,000.
□ We would like to help Father finish this, but since it is not related to directly helping the people of Gandou, we are not using general donations for this. If anyone would like to help with this project specifically, Father would be very grateful. These donations would need to be clearly marked as for the Church construction project.
If you would like to donate to any of the projects above, tax deductible donations can be made by check to St. Anthony Haiti Ministry and sent to St. Anthony Church, PO Box 3 Morris, IN 47033 or to St. Louis Haiti Ministry and sent to St. Louis Church, 13 St. Louis Place Batesville, IN 47006. Please mark all donations clearly for “Haiti”. If the donation is for a specific Haiti project, please include a note indicating this.