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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

November 2019
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Service Programs

Women Offer Trauma Care and Education to Haitians

Cap-Haitien, Haiti - The Spring Break Service Project March 7-14 gave another opportunity for Women's Federation for World Peace and the International Relief Friendship Foundation and Service for Peace to work together to help people on the north coast of Haiti. On the foundation of previous trips to Haiti, Mrs. Betsy Jones, a former Vice-President of the Women's Federation for World Peace and a psychiatric nurse who teaches trauma seminars in Albany, New York, joined the project. She is also a family counselor and added a great amount of professionalism to the efforts to serve the Haitian people.

In February, Mayor Fritz Joseph had asked me if I could locate trained personnel to care for the persons traumatized by the disaster. Surprisingly, a few days later, Mrs. Jones called me to offer assistance in trauma care. In addition, the team left the U.S. with Mrs. Fannie Smith, Women's Federation for World Peace coordinator for the Chicago area, along with Mr. Mark Felix, Service for Peace President at the University of South Florida, and two more students from the university.

We met the Mayor Joseph and he briefed us on the current situation. After the meeting we traveled for 45 minutes to the city of Limbe, a township next to Cap-Haitien. We ate dinner and met to prepare for the rest of the week. We met the youth leaders of AJLEC (Action des Jeunes Limbeens pour L’Epanouissement de la Culture) in Limbe.  Ten of these young people helped prepare for the mobile clinic in Limbe.

Tuesday morning, we visited St. Jean Hospital and met with Sister Magerie Jean-Louis, the executive director of the hospital. We also met Dr. Arsenal Mompremier, a medical doctor, who gave us a tour of the hospital. He shared regarding the needs of the hospital.  Although they built an operating room recently, they are without the equipment necessary to carry out surgery. They are hoping someone can donate the instruments and materials so the room can be fully utilized.

In the afternoon, we departed for Cap-Haitien and our first seminar. Mrs. Jones led us in a seminar on first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, going over many techniques to help people understand their present dilemmas and what they need to do in an emergency situation. Forty-two group and youth leaders participated. They were totally involved and had lively discussions.

The next morning, we began our mobile clinic in Limbe under the direction of Dr. Jean-Marie Colin, a pediatrician, and Dr. Monique Jean, a general practitioner, both founding members of ALMEDA, a group of Haitian doctors I worked with on previous trips. These young doctors volunteer to go into remote areas of the country to provide medical care to the people there. We were assisted by the AJLEC group, who did a marvelous job of registering people according to which type of doctor they needed to see. Many patients had skin infections from the earthquake; others were anemic or suffered from trauma. Many were in need of psychological care.   

Mrs. Jones gave people the tools necessary to overcome their fears and negative feelings and thoughts. By sharing positive thoughts and through a technique called “tapping,” which harnesses the same energy systems used in acupuncture and yoga, Mrs. Jones and our team were able to lift people's spirits. Between the ALHMEDA doctors and our group centering on Mrs. Jones, 100 people received medical and psychological care.

Thursday, the doctors saw 50 more people, and we took care of 20 persons. After this we held a seminar and 85 people participated. Mrs. Jones and our team did a great job of educating the people with regards to trauma and the “tapping” exercise. The ALHMEDA doctors watched and learned our techniques as well.

Friday, we held a mobile clinic during the morning and in the afternoon we held our final seminar on trauma care.  In the evening, we had a meeting with the various group leaders who had participated during the week at the seminars. Mayor Joseph was there and we organized for the work to continue after we were gone.

In conclusion, it was a great blessing to serve the people of Cap-Haitien and Limbe. We gave medical and psychological care to more than 200 people. Giving the touch of love, inspiring the people to keep hope and faith, and giving them the skills necessary to sustain themselves and their families for the future was very uplifting for all of us. I thank God for this precious opportunity to travel to Haiti once again and bring spiritual support as well as medical help to the Haitian people that they need so much.  Finally I thank Mrs. Betsy Jones, Mrs. Fannie Smith, Mark Felix and the students from the University of South Florida.

It is our hope that many will join us this summer for our third annual Haiti Summer Service Project to be held in Cap-Haitien June 15 to 30.

For updates on Haiti relief efforts, see irff.org and upf.org/haiti.

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