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

Popular Links
This area does not yet contain any content.
Sunday
Apr122015

I Held An Angel

I don't want to write this.  Not just because it shouldn't have to be written but I honestly don't want to be writing this now because the emotion is too raw.  My sadness, anger, frustration, grief are all on the very surface of my being.  I don't want to be writing but I am. I am forcing myself because this little angels death should not be for nothing.  His all too short life and the grief that his young mother is now suffering should not be in vain.

 

We were up at the guesthouse on Wednesday when our interpreter came to get us saying that Dr. Gabrielle had a patient that needed emergency help.  My first question?  Is it a baby?  As I rushed down to the clinic with our nurse Sue, I actually prayed that it would NOT be a baby.  Everyone in Desab knows Julie is the baby lady.  In the pharmacy we found a young mother holding this tiny, tiny bundle in her arms.  I immediately asked for the baby and my heart stopped.  I did not need any medical knowledge to know that this was bad.  Very bad. I had been here once before.  It is a horrible place to be.   His body was limp, his skin clammy, his eyes barely open and only a slight whimper came out of his mouth.  He was dying.  In my arms, this child was dying.

 

Dr. Gabrielle confirmed that the baby was near death.  As if that was not enough, she informed us that he was 7 and a half months old and weighed 6 pounds 5 ounces.  You read that correct.  7 months old, 6 and a half pounds.  As we formulated a plan for this little guy my honest instinct was to just walk out of the clinic with him, get on a moto and go.  I didn't do that, it seemed irrational, I wish I had.  Oh how I wish I had.  Not that the outcome would have changed but selfishly I wouldn't be beating myself up right now.  What we did do was give the mother money to take the child to the closest hospital for emergency care.  

 

As I held this angel, Sue and I prayed.  I silently prayed for his life to be spared, Sue prayed that God would cover, protect and comfort him.  As angry as I am, I know that her prayer was what this child needed.  I know that my God knew what was going to happen and He indeed comforted His child until the end.  They made it to the hospital but it was too late. 

 

It should not have happened.  This mother most likely delivered premature.  In her house.  No medical care.  This little angel most likely was a failure to thrive infant at birth.  This was likely this child's first visit to any clinic.  Her reason for not getting help sooner?  No money.  

 

Anger aside, I know we can make a difference.  This is not a "throw your hands up in defeat" moment.  I have already begun to research resources. If you are asking yourself, and I honestly do not know how you can not be, how can I help?  We want to establish a fund for Dr Gabrielle to use for patients who cannot pay.  If we weren't there it is entirely possible this baby would never even had the chance to make it to a hospital.  It will be a discretionary fund for her to use for emergencies. 

 

We are planning on holding a community education session to educate parents on WHEN to bring their children to the doctors and what are their options when they have financial concerns.  We could use funds to provide information to families for them to take home. 

 

The clinic currently has no infant medical equipment.  This would be a huge blessing to have. 

 

I will NEVER forget.  In time, I know my emotions will get in check.  But honestly, I don't want to forget.  I was blessed to hold an Angel.  I will never forget.

Thursday
Feb262015

Meet the Dentist

 

Say hello to Dr. Thimote Fortune, the newest edition to the staff of Fanmi Lasante. Dr. Fortune was born in Port Au Prince. He became interested in dentistry while in secondary school. His father was a doctor and three of his six siblings became medical professionals. His father had a vision of opening a multidisciplinary medical office that was staffed by his family. Dr. Fortune went to dental school in Port Au Prince, graduating in 2008. His father and one of his sisters died in the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January of 2010.

 

Dr. Fortune is 31 years old. He and his wife live in Port Au Prince. He has worked with Vermont Haiti Project in the past. He currently works in Port Au Prince by appointment only. We are excited to bring him on to help improve the health of the community that we serve. The community has been asking for dental care, so they will be even more excited than we are to see this addition to Fanmi Lasante!

 

Dr. Fortune has some equipment of his own. He is hoping we can help get some items donated to Fanmi Lasante so he doesn't have to bring his equipment with him every week that he is working at the clinic. In order to get to Desab, he will need to take a tap tap from Port Au Prince to Cabaret, and then a motorcycle up the mountain road.

 

In September 2014, we had a fundraising dinner, Hillcrest Helps Haiti, with the purpose of bringing dental care to the community. The dinner raised enough money for us to buy a simple dentist chair for the clinic and pay Dr. Fortune to come to the clinic every other Wednesday to start without having to dip into our regular operating budget. Along with his hourly salary, transportation costs $15/day for him. If you would like to help support dental care in Desab and the surrounding villages, you can make a donation via PayPal on our website or via check, with the designation of “dentist” in the memo. You could also help us find some donated dental tools for Dr. Fortune to use at the clinic. We have a list from him available upon request. We are so excited to see Fanmi Lasante grow and are thankful for every one of our supporters that has helped make this possible!

Tuesday
Feb172015

Let Your Faith Be Bigger Than Your Fears

I am so thankful for the opportunity to travel with Stone By Stone to a mountainous village in Haiti. It was such a life changing experience, as well as an over whelming look into life outside of America. From the food to the people, it was a nonstop journey into a new culture.

I started my trip off with the one thing I was fearing the most. Eating goat! So, as soon as we landed and got to lunch, that is what I had. The one thing that helped me through my first goat experience was my favorite Haitian beer, Prestige!

As the 6 of us (and our amazing captain, Fenel) started the drive up to Desab, I had absolutely no clue what to expect. For me, the situation is different than for the other 3 new team members. My parents have been going to Haiti for almost 5 years, from the time we adopted the kids until Stone By Stone was created. I had some knowledge of the terrain and culture from photos but nothing could prepare me for physically meeting all these people I’ve heard so much about.

It was the start of a week with no electricity or running water and a whole mess of Haitians that were excited to see us!

We were lucky enough to experience a truly Haitian and God filled Church service to start our week. We carried the praise and blessings through the week as we met so many families, the clinic staff and a man from another village who walked 35 minutes, just to pray with us.

We were able to accomplish things as a team but also as individuals. Lennea was able to educate 36 community members on preventing pregnancy. While Nicole took care of her stuff back at the house, the rest of us took a 2 hour trek to a waterfall for our first rinse of the week! We rode a “moto” down a mountain and into town. I spent my time catching baby goats, feeding the dogs and the kids laughed while I did it.

We had to say our goodbyes Friday morning, which was as tough as expected. Lenny and I were drowning in our own tears as we made our way to Wahoo Bay Resort to decompress with the ocean. As our day spent in the sun came to and end, we had a great meal with an ocean breeze as we all talked about the week behind us. Heading to the airport the following morning and boarding the plane with the loony matching shirt mission groups was bittersweet.

It was time to say See You Later to Haiti and all the amazing people we met. Once again, on the plane, Lenny and I drowned in our own tears!

It was a major relief to touch down in New York and be greeted by my dad and Adam.

I wasn’t ready for it to be over but I am ready to go back. God blessed us so much with this experience and I couldn’t be more grateful for what I saw and what I have here at home.

Emily Rumo

 

Monday
Feb022015

Sintimise Charles-The Sick lady

 It seems that on most trips we are presented with the opportunity to help someone from the community with a specific medical need that arises or that they approach us with while we are there.  This time it was Sintimise Charles, the cousin of our friend and translator Abene Pierre St. Louis.  Once we had settled in on Saturday, Abene told me that he wanted us to go and see her in her home.  He said that she had been sick for quite some time now, that her belly was very swollen, like a pregnant woman's.  He told us that when this first started she had seen a “midwife” (which could mean birth attendant), who told her that it was water and she needed to see a doctor.  The woman opted not to see a doctor and this has now been going on for close to a decade.  Being a medical person, I like to have the most medical information possible.  I asked Abene some questions about his cousin and her condition.  When I said “cyst”, his face lit up with recognition and he said that is what she was told that she had.  He told me that for years, her belly would get swollen and then flat again.  However, she had gotten significantly worse in the past few weeks.  She couldn't sit or stand on her own anymore.  She barely urinated.  She didn't eat much.  She just laid on the dirt floor of her family's home and they took care of her.  We promised that we would see her.  

Abene brought this up again Sunday after church with a sense of urgency.  He assured us that she lived close (American close, which is quite different from Haitian close), so we went to see her after lunch.  Sintimise was an old-looking, frail woman with a tremendously enlarged abdomen, lying on the dirt floor inside the home.  She looked like she could have been Abene's mother's age, but was really only 48.  Her arms and legs were like sticks.  She propped herself up every now and then to spit into a bucket.  She said it was ok if I examined her belly.  It was so protuberant.  I gently palpated along the sides.  Her face didn't register any pain.  I gently percussed (tapped) and it was clear that this was all fluid.  You could see a subtle fluid wave across her abdomen.  I told her family, through Abene, that there was no way of knowing what this was without her seeing a doctor and having special tests done.  My mind was full of things that I would do at home – blood tests, imaging studies, surgical consults.  I had Abene tell the family that I was going to talk to Fenel and Dr. Gabrielle about the best place for this woman to get help and that we would get an answer as quickly as possible.  They seemed pleased with that.  

 

On Monday, Abene told me that the family was ready to take her to the doctor.  The problem was, she was not going to be able to walk or take a motorcycle down the mountain.  They were going to have to carry her to near the guesthouse and rent a car to take her down.  The plan was to take her on Tuesday.  I gave him money to help with renting the vehicle and any other expenses that it would help cover.  Early Tuesday morning, Abene and other family members carried Sintimise on a mattress and a door from her home, down the mountain, to the waiting vehicle.  They took her to a hospital in St Marc and she was admitted for evaluation and treatment.  

At the end of the week, Abene told us that the doctors had put in a tube and drained 2 buckets of fluid from her abdomen.  However, the doctor said there was nothing else they could do for her.  She had waiting too long.  I told Abene that I was so sorry to hear this news.  

Two weeks after we came home from Desab, I heard from our in-country director that Sintimise had died at home.  

Sintimise's family's home was about a 15 minute walk from the clinic.  If she had chosen to go to the clinic, Dr. Gabrielle would have been able to refer her on to a higher level of care for evaluation.  The outcome still may have been the same for her.  Interacting with Sintimise and her family was a reminder for me both of the many health problems that people in this region face and of the great need for more accessible health care.  What we are doing is important.  I am honored to be a part of it.  If you are reading this, please consider joining us.  Help us change lives in the Cabaret region of Haiti.    

 

Nicole Pitzer (president)

Saturday
Nov082014

A Family Visit

 

I have just returned from my third trip to Haiti and once again, I’m humbled beyond all measure.  The most joyous event for me was being reunited with a young boy that stole my heart on the first trip 3 years ago.  His name is Masineau (spelling is creative) and he was walking his younger brother Woodlove to school.  He was not attending because as many large families in this remote village do, his parents had to decide which children could attend this year due to limited resources.  I asked him if he wanted to go and if he’d commit to being there consistently and he said yes.  I told him that I would see what could be done.  That was all he needed to hear, and the next day he arrived with his brother in uniform and him in his best clothes!  So….I walked him to school! 

Later that day he asked if we would come to his house, like we had before.  His family had moved to the other side of the mountain to the village of Cajun, which is quite a trek.  I love a challenge though, so in the company of Julie Rumo and Jenout our interpreter, we set off on somewhat of a difficult hike.

We arrived at their home and were greeted by several extended family members.  Masineau’s step Dad, Duvall was there along with two of his younger siblings.  His mother was not there at first because she was seeking medical care several hours away by foot.  Duvall was a striking gentleman who was happy to talk with us.  We spoke about both boys going to school and he was very happy and grateful.  We learned that he is a farmer by day, and a trained birth attendant when needed.   He was trained by Americans at Real Hope for Haiti years ago.  He sees some of the women during the pregnancy as well as at the time of delivery, and is paid whatever the family can afford.  I got the sense that payment could include bartering with some families.  I was curious if he had delivered his own children and indeed he had!  He said that one of his biggest challenges is replenishing supplies for his birth kit.  His hillside location looks down over a beautiful valley and out at the mountains.  He sees the village where we work, Desab, as being the city!  

His wife returned while we were talking and recognized us from long ago!  She was thrilled to see us and grateful for what we were doing for her son.   She was delighted to pose for photos with her children.  They love seeing themselves on the screen afterward, and the smile that lit her face made the whole trip worthwhile.   

 I am blessed beyond measure to spend time with these beautiful, people.  It is a resounding wake-up call that reminds me to be grateful for every blessing in my life.  There is so much joy in their hearts even though their daily life is a struggle.  The children in this family are sweet and gentle.  We left feeling more blessed than they were, and with an armload of huge avocados!  Now THAT was the cherry on top!

 

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 9 Next 5 Entries ยป