Mission Statement

Stone By Stone- building a road following God's chosen path.  Together with our brothers and sisters of Haiti, we strive to serve the cooperative of HASWEP through Listening, Educating, Supporting, Praying, Working, Advancing.

LESPWA means HOPE in Creole. 
We are full of hope for Haiti.

 

.

 FANMI LASANTE

CLINIC

Desab, Haiti

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Saturday
Aug192017

If You Build It...

If you build it, they will come. Everyone knows that if you build a baseball diamond in an Iowa cornfield, then the great players of baseball past will come and play again. But it is also true that if you build a medical clinic in a remote village in the mountains of Haiti, people will get there. They will get there by walking, mostly, over steep, rocky footpaths. They will walk for an hour, or two hours, sometimes, to get there. They will walk while carrying small children. They will walk while feeling sick with fevers. They will walk while in pain, leaning on a stick. They will fill up the long wooden benches in the waiting room. The doctor will see patient after patient, and will peek out the door, and see that the waiting room is still just as full of patients as it was before.

 

Because people want medical care. They need medical care. And if you offer it, they will come. I was privileged to go on the June 2017 Haiti trip, and all of us on the trip witnessed this with our own eyes.

 

When the founders of Stone By Stone began looking around for a way to help Haiti, they decided to start with health care, because they believed health care was the foundation underpinning everything else. Haiti needs better education, but you can’t study and learn if you are sick. Haiti needs jobs, but you can’t work if you are sick. At that time, there was no medical care in Desab, except for when a team of Americans came over. So Stone By Stone made sponsoring the clinic their #1 goal.

 

They fixed up the building. They furnished examining rooms. They put up a new roof. They put up solar panels so they could have electricity. They got a doctor, and a dentist, and a nurse, and a pharmacy technician, and other health workers. (And all of those are local people, so they have provided Haitians with jobs, as well.) They filled the pharmacy with medicine (although never with as much medicine as they would like). And they have plans for more. They want to install a laboratory. Most importantly, they want to get national accreditation. If the clinic gets on the list of officially approved clinics, they can get free vaccinations. And in case of a disaster, they can get relief supplies delivered there. As Paul Rumo said, national accreditation would be “Huge. Huge.”

 

And we all helped make that happen. We donated drugs for the pharmacy. We donated new shirts for the babies. Some of our nurses in out group took vital signs on patients before they saw the doctor. I sat with the doctor, and gave gifts of clothes and candy and small toys to the children. (I didn’t think that was very much help, but the doctor said it was, because if I had not been there, she would have had to stop and do it herself, losing her valuable time.) All of us participated in fixing up the clinic. We painted, and painted, and painted, inside and out. We were hot, and sticky, and splattered all over with white and green paint, but when we left, that clinic shone like a beacon on the hillside. It looked clean and professional.

 

Our time in Haiti was a wonderful experience, and here are some of the reasons why. It is a known fact in development circles that often, people will come from wealthier nations with plans that are well-meaning, but don’t actually help. Because they haven’t taken the time to get to know the place or the people, and what they actually need. But it was clear that Stone By Stone is doing something that the local people value, and desire.

 

It was also a pleasure that we were not just doing something for the Haitian people. We were doing something with the Haitian people. While we Americans were painting, the Haitian children picked up brushes and painted beside us. And while we were painting, local craftsmen were doing fine work building a set of cement steps to the front door. Another local craftsman painted the sign for the clinic, which looked really sharp.

 

Sometimes people want to contribute to a charity, but they worry about waste and overhead, and lining the pockets of administrators. You don’t have to worry about that with Stone By Stone. They pour everything into the work. When the members of Stone By Stone are interviewed, they all say, “God led me here. God led me to Haiti. God put a love for Haiti in my heart. God led me to support the clinic.” And if God is leading you to do something for Haiti, either by contributing money to Stone By Stone, or by going on a future mission trip, you can be sure that you will be helping. And to all of you who have already contributed, by supporting our fundraising efforts, or by making donations of supplies, you have helped to be part of something that is helping people, right now, right this very minute. A profound thank you.

 

~Cheryl Gatling

 


Wednesday
Jun282017

Why I Go To Haiti

I can honestly say the reasons why I go to Haiti are purely “selfish”.  I started going to Haiti in 2009 when my wife and I were in the process of adopting 3 sibling brothers.  For all of you that know us, you know how that turned out!!!

Haiti is a beautiful country once you get past the poverty, the distinct smells and the stares.  Yes, in Haiti, I am a minority.  This effects how I relate to the people.  As a minority, I try to do something unordinary.  I want to stand out as different than the other “white” people.  I strive to be different and memorable.  The Haitian people lead a simple life of survival, so different than my normal life in America.  Not that I do not have struggles, but it is different on so many levels.  Whenever I am in Haiti, I appreciate the opportunity to bring a small ray of sunshine, hope and love (and lots of laughter) to the community we serve.

The selfishness comes from my desire to help, serve and love unconditionally.  This is a “Me” thing because it makes me feel like I have contributed to something.  No matter how small, it still makes me feel good.  Seeing the smiles on everyone’s face when I pull up to the guest house; when asked to visit their home; invited to share a meal; or just sitting with someone I cannot communicate with.  There is love and compassion present and that makes me feel great!

So, when asked, “Why do I go to Haiti?”, my answer is because it makes me feel good.  I think this is true for many people, but some may not want to admit it.  For me, I’m Blessed!

Paul Rumo

~board member

Sunday
Mar122017

Update On Ivnalie

Getting information in Haiti is like playing a game of telephone, only as information is slowly changing and losing meaning, it is also being translated.  This may be the case in our update on Ivnalie, but I will share with everyone what I know from my end of the telephone. 

Ivnalie's health is "sometimes good, sometimes not so good".  She is having seizures sometimes and is now on an "asthma pump" (which I have figured out from gestures during past conversations means an inhaler).  That helps her, but I can't figure out why she needs it.  Maybe she has developed asthma as she is growing.  Airway disease is fairly common in Haiti.  She is going to the doctor frequently, however there is no plan for surgery.  What is communicated to me is that she cannot have surgery because "her head is too hard" and "there is a problem in her belly and head".  I am assuming this has to do with her shunt. 

The fact that Ivnalie has not had surgery yet is frustrating, but that is a reflection of the frustrating healthcare system in Haiti.  For months and months, private hospital staff went on strike, leaving only public hospitals to function.  Hospitals became overwhelmed and overrun.  Ivnalie's surgical options were a year-long wait list or going to Cuba.  Thankfully her mom still takes her to her doctor and is still moving forward with her healthcare. 

I was not able to see Dr Gabrielle on the January trip.  I will try to get in touch with her via Facebook for some clarification. 

Meanwhile, on December 3rd, Ivnalie's mom Geudeline was in a motorcycle accident.  The moto she was riding was hit by a car.  Geudeline suffered a femur fracture that required surgery.  She was in the hospital for 9 days.  I was told she was then brought home because they could not afford to keep her there, but it had seemed from other stories that she had been in the hospital for much longer.  The Haitian telephone game strikes again.  Either way, she was sent home on crutches.  Crutches.  For anyone who has traveled with us, wrap your head around that.  Or if you have seen pictures of the road from Cabaret to Desab, or just the terrain in general...crutches.  She has family who lives nearby that has been helping practically.  But her husband is the only source of income for the family.  They have been disappointed that the moto driver never came to check on Geudeline, as she chose him from among the other drivers because she knew him. 

Geudeline lives a very difficult and complicated life.  This adds a whole new dimension to that.  Please pray for this family.  We will continue to keep everyone updated as we can. 

Nicole Pitzer

president

(Sorry for the lower quality photos.  They were sent to me from a Haitian cell phone via Facebook.)

Sunday
Feb262017

Uncertainty

There has been a lot of uncertainty in the United States over the past several months, and one of the biggest uncertainties for many people is, “Will I have access to affordable healthcare?”  It’s scary to think that in 2017, affordable healthcare is still an issue for so many people.

In Haiti, however, there has been uncertainty about healthcare…forever.  Before the 2010 earthquake, 46% of Haitians did not have access to healthcare because they could not afford it or because there were no hospitals or clinics near them (World Health Organization), and this was before the earthquake toppled their nearly nonexistent healthcare system.

This is why clinics like Fanmi Lasante are so important.  Without this clinic, thousands upon thousands of Haitians wouldn’t have access to the healthcare they desperately need.  Many would have to walk hours to the next closest clinic.  Some still do to come to Fanmi Lasante, not because there are no other clinics closer to them, but because they feel they receive better care from Dr. Gabrielle and the clinic staff than they would receive elsewhere.  You make this possible with your support.

There may never be a permanent solution to the healthcare crisis in Haiti, but there are small steps we can take together, to make sure those living in and around Desab never feel uncertain about receiving quality healthcare again.  

Amanda Dehart

(board member)

Dr. Gabrielle in her exam room

A waiting room full of patients

Healthcare agent Finelia with a sick patient

Wednesday
Feb012017

Reflections

Impressions of Desab.

Coming to Desab is a little bit like being an exchange student.  Except that the village is your host family.  A gaggle of kids surrounded our car as we entered the village.  Doors opened and all backpacks, luggage, instruments, and food were carried by the kids up to our dormitory.  Being surrounded by warmth, excitement, and love is the common experience here.  A week is an intensive experience of bonding with dozens of people eager to meet, to learn, to engage.  Communication can be difficult without fluent creole, but efforts at speaking a little: "mwen kontan we ou" (I am happy to meet you) goes a long way.  In a very short time I am part of the family.

 

Leadership with Roots:

A distinct highlight of our trip to Desab was the kind and knowledgable welcome from Nicole (Pitzer, Stone By Stone president).  Nicole has tracked the geneology of members of the Desab community and has an extensive grasp of who is related to who.  This is no small feat.  Many people are interconnected by birth and marriage.  Nicole's eyes light up when she hears that a new baby has arrived.  She inquires with so many how their families are and is excited to get updates.  She helps us understand who is family with one another.  It also helps to feel her love of the community; her devotion and her joy to share it with all of us.  Thank you Nicole.

 

Non-native son:

My son Asher was a volunteer english teacher in Desab during the Fall of 2015.  This January, he invited me to join him as he returned to the village on a trip sponsored by Stone by Stone.  What a joy it was to feel the heartfelt love that exists in the village for him.  A fantastic trip for both of us.

 

Eric Small