A Travellerspoint blog

Quick Update

So I guess the time has come to write quick update… This updated comes to you from the comfort of the Boston suburbs, where I have spent the past week working for SBHF. I still have not been able to depart for Haiti, but have been thrown into the mix up here supporting the stateside staff in their efforts to respond to the relief needs playing out on the ground. So far this has been a wonderful opportunity to meet the SBHF staff and truly learn their mission and means of operation. Believe it or not, one of the things I have been working on is beefing up our social networking. Yes, this from someone who just joined facebook in response to bribe from lovely and supportive former co-worker. In the meantime, feel free to become a fan of SBHF on facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Saint-Boniface-Haiti-Foundation/252004361434

I have a tentative departure date of Feb. 28th or so. In the interim, I plan to indulge in some American Idol, watch the Super Bowl, and relish in a few days of Olympic coverage. All things I could not have done in my last apartment (sans TV) or done in Fond des Blancs. This weekend I will make the trip up to Maine to spend quality time with Grandmother and some of my other favorite family members.

Thank you again for the kind emails, texts, and calls. I promise to let everyone know when I am officially ‘wheels up’. In the meantime, read below for some recent updates from the work SBHF is doing on the ground.

Take care,
Betsy

St. Boniface Explores Partnership with Handicap International

As patients come in from the USNS Comfort, it is becoming apparent that our hospital in Fond des Blancs is the only institution willing to accept quadriplegic or paraplegic patients from the ship. While we do not specialize in these types of cases, we are banking on partnerships and our donors to help us with their continuing care. Many of these patients were crushed under rubble in Port-Au-Prince and were lucky to have survived, only to find out that they were left paralyzed from various spinal cord injuries.

We are currently holding talks with Handicap International, so that we can get training in specialized care for our medical staff here in Fond des Blancs. We never thought we would be a center for these types of cases, but the earthquake has caused us to rethink the direction of our hospital. There were no dissenting opinions from our staff when we discussed the possibility of accepting spinal cord injuries, as we know that without St. Boniface these patients would have nowhere to turn. Our staff continues to do whatever they can to address the suffering that has been so prevalent following the events of Jan. 12th.

Mother Teresa’s Home for Children

Due to extreme structural damage at Mother Teresa’s home for children in Port-Au-Prince, the sisters have asked us to accept any severely malnourished children who are brought to them for help. We will making a weekly stop at the home to pick up any children needing treatment and will bring them back to the sisters for follow-up care. St. Boniface had always brought visiting groups to visit with the home and now we are happy to do our part in helping the sisters and the poorest of the poor. The suffering in Port-Au-Prince has been tremendous and our team here in Haiti is ready to do whatever is necessary to be part of the relief effort.

Posted by Betsy1023 11:03 Archived in Haiti Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Depature still TBD

Thank you everyone for the kind words and firm encouragement. My departure is still TBD depending on a number of factors. I will do my best to let you know news as I hear. At this point I don't have much more to add, as I feel the coverage we are all witnessing speaks for itself. Below I have pasted an email from the founder of SBHF and her update on how things are progressing at their site. Please read it and consider if making a donation would be possible. For those of you who have offered in-kind donations, your generosity has been overwhelming. However, the plan as of now is that I will pack as lightly as possible to start and come back for donations more personal items in a few months time, when we have a better idea of what will be most needed.

As of now I am still planning to move my 'life' home to Binghamton on the 18th and return on the 21st to NYC and possibly depart on the 23rd. If that doesn't pan out, I will most likely be looking for a few people friends to 'couch surf' with until I get the go-ahead.

Take care,
Betsy

My name is Nannette Canniff, President and CEO of St. Boniface Haiti Foundation. I am in Fond des Blancs Haiti for the past week and am experiencing the impact of the earthquake. Although our hospital did not sustain much damage and is functioning, our outlying clinic in Villa was destroyed.

It has been a waiting game so far, but today people are beginning to arrive from PaP. We understand there are many with broken limbs and gashes and severe emotional trauma. Haitian people here are staying out doors as much possible. They are very afraid.

Our staff at the hospital is doing a superb job, continuing to give care to our patients in spite of the fact that some of their loved ones have died or are missing. Everyone one who has come from Port au Prince is in shock. This morning one of our med interns from Les Cayes said that city sustained some damage as well. He was also in shock and searching for his family members.

For the moment, we are safe, as is the group visiting from the US. We cannot leave FdB, there is no place to go.. We will be needing supplies (regular disaster-type as well as medical), water, diesel fuel and food. We are checking every available avenue for evacuation of the visiting group, but only relief flights are allowed into Haiti right now.

The stories are amazing and horrendous at the same time. So many escaped certain death by seconds. Some stepped outside the building they were in, only to have it collapse immediately after killing all their friends and fellow students.

We ask everyone who reads this to send monetary donations to St. Boniface, as we do not know how supplies are coming through. In the days ahead we will need these supplies. We are praying that no one forgets Haiti in week or two because it will need international help for a long time

Please send donations to www.haitihealth.org or SBHF, 400 No. Main St., Randolph, MA 02368
We thank you for whatever you can do for us and ask you for your prayers. Keep checking our website for regular updates.

Nannette Canniff
Fond des Blancs, Haiti
ncanniff@sbhfhaiti.org

Posted by Betsy1023 12:03 Archived in Haiti Comments (0)

Jump Start

Still in NYC.

I had a plan to start posting this weekend, but with the events in Haiti over the past day, I have been forced to get a jump start. I appreciate all of those who have called, emailed, and text to check on my whereabouts and safety. It is by the grace of God that I write this first entry from New York City. My departure date for Haiti is not until January 23rd.

I will not even try to speak to the damage or distress that those in Haiti are facing right now, as I really have little first hand information. I do know that for the most part, my future co-workers and site felt the quake, but did not incur any sever damages. This is much more than can be said for those living and working in Port-au-Prince.

I have been asked by several people, what I 'going to do?" To be honest, I have no concrete answers as of now. I will be collecting information over the next few days and waiting to see what the people on the ground have to say. My initial instinct was that I wanted to be there right away and I think I will let that gut reaction be my guide. I have always made the bold statement that I 'thrive in crisis' and perhaps this is my time to ascertain if in fact this is true.

I wish that I could speak more articulately at this point about how I feel. Mainly, I cannot help but focus on the inequitabilities of life. So as I probably will do many times as this blog progresses, I default to someone who can say it better. Below is a passage written by Joshua Cohen from a book titled Making Aid Work.

Blake says...."Some of us are born to sweet delight" and "some of us are born to endless night" And let's remember that people who are born to endless night did nothing to deserve their blighted condition. They are not imprisoned in destitution because of their crimes: they are imprisoned in destitution despite their innocence.
Joshua Cohen - Making Aid Work

For my dear friends with family members in Haiti, please know that my deepest thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. I will update you as I learn more about what the next week has in store for me. In the meantime, I have found the MSF and NYT blogs to be fairly helpful in getting a feel for what is happening on the ground. Links below:

MSF/Doctors Without Borders Blog:
http://doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=4148&cat=field-news&ref=news-index

New York Times Blog:
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/gleaning-information-from-haiti-online/?hp

Posted by Betsy1023 07:42 Archived in Haiti Comments (0)

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