Sunday, January 31, 2010
The Coordinators are working to launch Team 3. Our focus is medical resupply and making much more food available. Both are in short supply right now. This is harder than it looks but we're making it happen almost weekly.
I hope many people have seen the NBC 30 (channel 4) broadcasts that Debra Alfarone had at OSA this morning. She did a wonderful interview with Dave Desmarais. The point was made that we've been involved with École le Bon Samaritain and Haiti for 13 years. We're there now because we've already been there a long time. AND, with our new partners (like St. John's, Stamford, St. John's, Bristol, Stamford Hospital and others), we'll be there 13 years from now, too.
I posted this story a week or so ago but Dave Desmarais is now telling it in his own words. It's so touching and compelling. Don't ever wonder about why we're doing this relief work and why we care about educating children in the Waney neighborhood of Carrefour. This is the reason!
I'd love to share the experiences of this trip to Haiti with all of you, my friends and family. There are so stories many to tell you I could not get them all down here. A little boy, 6 or 7, very quiet with an expression on his face that looked like he'd left already. He had cuts on his head, a swollen knee and a broken arm, but he didn't make a sound. He had been buried in a collapsed building for 3 days. We set his arm and put a cast on it, and cleaned and bandaged his wounds. For just 2 seconds I caught his eyes and smiled, and he grinned.
Please check NBC 30 (Channel 4) in Connecticut for TV coverage of Old St. Andrew's relief work with École le Bon Samaritain at 6, 11, & even tomorrow morning. Reporter Debra Alfarone spent much of the morning broadcasting live from OSA to draw attention to the connection between the Church and the School. She did an in-depth interview with Dave Desmarais, On Ground Coordinator for Team 1, and spoke with me briefly. We very grateful to Debra for realizing the importance of this story.
Jim Doucette is in need of more food and medical supplies. We're working feverishly to get them to him. He's looking into the idea of driving back into the DR to buy food at the market that has been so helpful.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I spoke with Dr. Reed this afternoon. He is back in Connecticut after catching a propjet flight off a road in Leogane to Santa Domingo and then a JetBlue hop home. We are so grateful to him for his service on behalf of the people in Carrefour and especially those connected with École le Bon Samaritain. Over the years David Reed has participated in over 20 disaster responses. Although trained as a surgeon, he draws upon 9 years as an ER doctor for the skills needed to care for those most in need after devastating disasters like this 7.0 earthquake.
While with us, David also fanned out and touched base with AmeriCares, Hope for Haiti, Build On, and InterVol, all international relief agencies. He has promised to stay in touch and help us as we develop plans for a permanent Clinic in the Waney neighborhood of Carrefour.
I also spoke with Lauren Stanley who represents Bishop Duracin, the Episcopal Bishop of Haiti. I first asked about his wife, Edith, Mona Millien's sister. She is still in the Navy Hospital Ship Comfort off Port-au-Prince. Please keep her in your prayers as her leg requires both medical and spiritual care.
I finally found the School on Google Earth, thanks to help from Mona Millien & Stephanie Louisgene. It can be located at: 18 31 51.85 N 72 24 15.11 W. The Clinic is around the corner at: 18 31 51 00N 72 24 18.14 W. It is difficult to see the condition of the School, but you get a good idea of where it is located.
I just got off the phone with Jim Doucette, On Ground Coordinator for Team 2. He said the Clinic served 100 people yesterday in 4.5 hours. Wow.
We need to redouble our efforts to get more food to the Clinic. That's now a top priority. Jim says the prepackaged meals (just add water) are fantastic. We'll see if we can get more of them.
Pedialyte is a critical need but it is heavy and bulky. So, doctor Patty Jorquera called back to Stamford and got the recipe for making it. We now make our own Pedialyte at the Clinic with purified water, salt and sugar. That is one example of the resourcefulness of Patty and the others on our Team.
Another quick story. Jim gave an LED flashlight (he brought 7 with him) to a boy named Caday who cleans at the guest house. Later in the day, Caday showed up with a TV that works. Jim watched a basketball game last night while the generator was running.
And finally, the generosity of another company--Enterprise Rental in Stamford. When Team 2 was staging at St. John's on Wednesday night, they had so much gear they were short a vehicle. Enterprise simply "made it happen" and sent them on their way. Thanks Enterprise!
This from Janet McKernan, one of our donors this week: "I have enclosed $30. The balance in my account was $32.22. I kept $2 so I could buy a soda."
I got a terrific message from Jim Doucette via his wife Donna. "I'm will be trying to get email up and running tomorrow, we had a very busy day. Got a big hug from a little Haitian girl that I had earlier given a toy. Tomorrow we intend to bring a big tent that has to be set up on the ground (not the courtyard floor) for a family of 5 who's children attened the school and lost their home. Also plan on wiring electricity to the bathroom so we can see to use it. Loving every minute of being here. Eating well. Most wonderful team--Dr. Patty Jorguera is wonderful, so calm and talented. So is Anna, our nurse. Lauren is a 'take charge/do what you gotta do' kind of person. Dawn is take charge, too, translating, helping everyone, DiDi (Danelie) is so smart and kind and Luc and Father Millien are great. You talk about a positive experience in a very sad situation."
Dave Desmarais, On Ground Coordinator for Team 1, and I had a 3 hour debrief yesterday. I'm distilling it and will shoot the summary out to the Coordinators later today. Included is an excellent "what to take" list with the suggestion that volunteers leave their clothing for the Haitians when they return to the U.S.
The living conditions at the guest house are spartan but comfortable. Small tents are set up on the raised "dance floor" in the guest house. The tents provide a small amount of privacy. Everybody has an air mattress which is a big help. Dave said he slept just fine under a single sheet. There is a cold shower (the guest house has a well to supply water). The food, prepared by the School cook, is very good.
Dave is working on a schematic for moving the inverter, charger & 8 deep cycle batteries (Old St. Andrew's gave this system to the School a while ago) to the guest house compound where the Clinic is. Our relief teams would then have access to electricity even when the generator is not running. The battery system could sustain the needs of the clinic for a few days at a time and then be charged periodically.
Next we plan to send down a smaller inverter & charger to put back at the School. We'll buy two more deep cycle batteries for that site, which is where the School's generator is (also a gift of OSA). The reason for all of this is because cooking for our Teams takes place at the School and then the food is carried to the Clinic. We want those kind Haitians to have power, too. That system, obviously, will be charged by the EBS generator.
I got a phone call from Americares yesterday. We have been trying for days to make direct contact with them with the hope that they can help restock our medical supplies from in-country stores, leaving us the challenge to ship health and wellbeing things--diapers, infant formula, paper towels, food, etc.
Because Supply & Logistics Coordinator, Gus Schelgel, has found two huge caches of supplies (more than we can handle), our expectation is to divert that material to Americares in exchange for their help in Haiti. We'll keep working on developing this relationship.
Here's sweet story that characterizes what we're all doing in Haiti and why. Dave Desmarais was examining a collapsed corner of the School when a Haitian woman walked by with a basket on her head (pretty common). She got abreast of Dave and said something in Kreyol. Luc later translated, "Be careful there, we don't want to lose you."
Friday, January 29, 2010
Tracy Simmons of creedible.com just gave me this awesome heads-up: St. Andrew's ELCA Church in Bristol found out through Creedible about the Good Samaritan Re-building Fund and are putting you guys on the list of organizations they want to make a monetary donation to. The Outreach and Missions group will be voting on it soon.
I finally got through the pictures that Gaelle Louisgene and Dr. Reed sent back on a thumb drive with Danelie on Monday. I've put them on my MobileMe Gallery. We're trying to put together a proper gallery on the website but won't have it ready fro you until early next week.
This is the rue Jonathas address in the Waney neighborhood of Carrefour where École le Bon Samaritain is located. Ouch.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Lot's of news. Team 2 arrived safely and unloaded all of their medical and other supplies, including $800 worth of food, water, gasoline, etc. from the DR stop. Our clinic and health and wellbeing center has been in desperate need of food for the past few days.
Jim Doucette, On Ground Coordinator, called tonight and said, "This team is so gung-ho. We all feel good and are ready to go." I might mention he called on his AT&T cell phone, the cost of which is being covered by his boss, Mike McKnight at the Yankee Courier in East Windsor, CT. No small thing! Thank you Mike. Jim also said, "Thanks Gia, Gus, & Coulette for making the arrangements. Everything went like clockwork." Jim also said he was incredibly impressed at how well organized the clinic is. Everything is set out on tables.
When they arrived the clinic was closed. That said, 10-12 people showed up, including a boy who needed stitches. Dr. Patty Jorquera went to work and cared for the child. And, that's just the way it is at our clinic in Carrefour.
I had asked Jim before he left to see what he could learn about the 180 children who had been enrolled at the School. This evening he said we know 23 of the 180 are alive. Tomorrow, our team and our Haitian friends will try to find our 10 teachers with the goal being for them to fan out into the community to learn about the rest our children. We want them and their families to return to the School for medical care and health and wellbeing care. As an on-going service to the community, we continue to serve whoever comes in need of medical care or food the best we can.
Jim and his team are putting together a "ticket" system whereby each week the families of our children get a ticket for a week's worth of food. As a parallel, they will also get a clothing ticket so they can come for other things once a month.
Gus and I worked long and hard to hatch a plan to ship supplies through the bus company independent of being accompanied by a team. The idea is to get our bags to Santa Domingo on JetBlue, have them picked up at the airport by a reliable contact person, put on the bus to PaP, delivered to the US Embassy staging area, and then transported to Carrefour by Luc Louisgene. The bus shipping costs are actually pretty reasonable. Plus, we would pre-arrange for the bus to stop at the DR market to pick up an additional load of food, water, and other supplies. We'll see how it works.
Volunteer Coordinator, Coulette Lioce, has redesigned our volunteer contact form. This is important because we need to know who has what skills, when each volunteer is available, citizenship and more. If you would like to volunteer, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also working to have a much better list of what to take and a brief on what to expect as a volunteer.
I hope you heard about Minouche Gilles from Stamford who traveled with Team 1 to Haiti. Congressman Jim Hines arranged for her to accompany us because she needed to pick up the 3 year old girl she was in the process of adopting. Minouche had hired a nanny to care for the child outside the orphanage but when the earthquake struck, she disappeared. Minouche found little Angela with others from her family sleeping on the streets. Now, Minouche and her new daughter are safely back in Connecticut.
OK, I'm tired. More tomorrow. Blessing & Peace to all who are making this effort such a success and especially to our dear Haitian families who are in such need right now.
Team 2 has arrived at the guest compound/clinic and unloaded all of the medical supplies, food, gasoline, and other materials. They are now on an orientation walk through the neighborhood and taking a look at the School.
I have just learned that Episcopal Bishop Jean-Zache Duracin's wife, Edith, needs our prayers. Edith is Mona's sister and the mother of nine. Her leg was badly hurt in the earthquake and despite two operations, it is not healing as it should. Pascale Millien-Faustin, Edith's Goddaughter, emailed, "I've been having flash backs on the good old times when she used to care for me, teaching me about the bible, and the book of common prayer. Good memories!"
"Additionally, one of the Jet Blue clerks who helped Team 2 shared that she had lost 12 members of her own family ... and has been on therapy ... so many lost ... Yesterday was her first day back to work since Jan 12," according to Pascale. "I tell you, my heart melted down hearing her story."
This afternoon I'll be going through some pictures that came back with Danelie on Monday. I'm not sure how to post them but will get some help from Randy Lee, our web maven.
Luc just called to say Team 2 was at the US Embassy and transferring medical supplies, food, water, and fuel to the truck. He'll call back once they reach Carrefour.
Got this text from Ann Guili: "young father who brought his three week infant to clinic. We then learn that the mother was killed in quake. Baby is beautiful and father appears overwhelmed. This situation is no doubt taking place all over Haiti since I have seen twice in our small population. Everyone very grateful for our help"
Just talked with Dave Desmasais, who is at JFK after a JetBlue flight from Orlando. When Dave stepped out of the Air Force C17 military transport, he was greeted by a line of TSA employees. "It was as if we were returning from Iraq," he said. One of the TSA guys grabbed his bag and walked him to the terminal. Once again, JetBlue pulls though. They were extremely gracious in switching his flight from Santa Domingo to an Orlando flight to JFK.
Dave and I have scheduled a long debrief tomorrow at his home in Bristol. I'm sure we'll become more efficient and capable once we learn what Dave has to tell us about what works, what doesn't, and what is most needed.
Gus got a call from Jim Doucette at 6.10 a.m. No cell contact now so they're between the border & PaP. Ann Giuli texted to say she's excited to meet Team 2.
Team 2 is headed to the Embassy. They stopped at the grocery store to pick up the food Gus Schegel had pre-ordered. Hoping to hear directly from them soon.
JetBlue story 1. At the JetBlue check-in a counter clerk was not going to let some bags through. The supervisor came over and said to her employee, "Let them all go through."
By the way, we took large rolling duffels stuffed with medical supplies, diapers, blankets, etc. and personal carry-on luggage.
JetBlue story 2. After landing in Santa Domingo, the crew of the JetBlue flight emptied out the galleys of food, packed them into two wheel chairs, and gave it all to Team Andrew 2.
All of our travel is a gift of JetBlue. JETBLUE ROCKS!!!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Just spoke with Luc Louisgene, Jean-Elie & Mona's son-in-law who traveled to Carrefour with Team 1. He sounded tired but continues to be so committed to helping his people and our children.
Luc has arranged for a large truck to meet our bus full of supplies & Team 2 at the U.S. Embassy tomorrow.
Team Andrew 2 went through security at JFK with a lot of duffels, medical supplies, and other gear hoping that JetBlue will accomodate all of it. My God, JetBlue has been fantastic! Danelie Millien, who just returned with Mona on Monday, has gone back to Haiti with Team 2 to serve as Keryol interpreter. Her sweet 7 year old daughter, Christina, is so brave. Stephanie & Mona are caring for her while Didi is gone. The commitment of this Millien family is inspiring and one of the reasons I am so dedicated to these children and this cause. They continually teach me what compassion and love mean.
I understand that Dave Desmarais left today on a flight out of PaP. Not sure to where or when he might arrive back home. Dr. Reed has gone to Leogane with a priest cousin of Luc's because there has been so little medical attention there.
Coulette Lioce has handed over management of Team Andrew 2 to Jim Doucette. The Team gathers at St. John's, Stamford this afternoon. Unfortunately, Pam Kiwanuka woke up this morning with strep so she is unable to make this trip. She's in the queque for Team 3. Please hold our people in your hearts as they travel. (Jim and his wife, Donna)
Contributions continue to arrive at Old St. Andrew's. To date, we have received about $52,000, excluding another foundation gift of $5,000 we expect in the next few days. Some of that will arrive in Carrefour tomorrow afternoon in the form of medical supplies, diapers, PJs, food, and gasoline.
We are being asked about how to adopt Haitian babies. We cannot and should not be involved in adoptions, although we certainly support those people who are willing to proceed with an adoption. Here is what I've told several people: "The best we can do is suggest that they Google “adopt Haitian baby” and the agencies that are already in that game will pop up. They should call those agencies and work with professionals in the field."
Your Team of Coordinators was joined today by Dennis Desrochers. He will serve as Finance Coordinator. He has already set up an accounting program though Old St. Andrew's on PowerChurch. This will give us and you a clear picture of who has made contributions and what the disbursements to École le Bon Samaritain have been. In addition, we initiated with Team 1 a Journal to be kept in Haiti for expenses there. Jim Doucette will pick up that responsibility as On Ground Coordinator when he arrives.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Here is the Team 2: Dr. Patty Jorquera, a pediatric resident at Stamford Hospital; nurses Anna Socci & Pam Kiwanuka; physical therapist & EMT Lauren Lyons who has basic French and rudimentary Kreyol skills; N., a jill-of-all-trades (carpentry & technical skills), fluent in French & basic 1st aid; and On-Ground Coordinator, Jim Doucette.
My day began with a call from Stamford to Old St. Andrew's (where I have my day job) only to learn that the Foundation for the Carolinas has made a grant to Old St. Andrew's for École le Bon Samaritain in the amount of $20,000. We are deeply grateful to Mr. & Mrs. William Neal for arranging this contribution. Their commitment to our children and confidence in our ability to rebuild is what is making this entire effort so successful.
I also learned from Lauren Lyons, a Team 2 member, that we should expect another foundation gift in the amount of $5,000 sometime soon. And, to add to that, my son and his high school girl friend (they're not married; now in their late 30s) each sent $1,000 to the Good Samaritain Rebuilding Fund. Ellen Harbison is from Houston, TX and Burr Purnell is from San Anselmo, CA. Our support is truly national.
Jenn Tedschi is working on opening a PayPal account for the Good Samaritan Rebuilding Fund. It should be on line in a day or so. This is because some people have wanted to give on-line. Please be patient, or even better, feel free to write a check to Old St. Andrew's with Haiti on the memo line. Send it to:
Old St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
59 Tariffville Rd.
Bloomfield, CT 06002
I just got back from the Bristol Choral Society rehearsal and I was personally given $55.00 from members and had to leave so I could try to get some rest before the 4:30 a.m. alarm goes off. My wife, Donna, stayed and after the rehearsal was over, she was flocked by others who continued to give. I do know that one person gave $100 and many more gave smaller denominations but as you know, every cent counts. One person came up to me and said, "All I have is $8.00 but here please put it to good use for your cause."
I just listened to a voice message from Ann Giuli. Here is her story from yesterday:
"We had closed our clinic and went to visit another clinic. There, a mother came in with a 2 week old baby who was barely alive. The clinic said they do not deal with infants. Our Team took the mother and baby to another clinic, this one run by Fire Fighters for Christ from California. They took the two to the port and got the child to the hospital ship COMFORT. Ann believes the baby will live. Meanwhile, at the Fire Fighters clinic there was a girl being treated for a badly infected finger. Dr. Reed looked at the situation and said, "No, suturing is not going to help. We need to amputate the finger." At which point, he performed the amputation and bandaged the hand, free of deadly infection."
Monday, January 25, 2010
We continue to work putting together our Team 2. We now have three members but are still hoping for more nurses and a doctor.
This afternoon there is a meeting with St. Luke's, Darien about their on-going involvement with École le Bon Samaritain. This meeting was planned long before the earthquake and we appreciate their interest in partnering to ensure the viability and health of the School for years to come.
Danelie & Mona are en route to JFK from Boston thanks to our friends at JetBlue. After I meet with our Travel Coordinator, Gia Card mid-afternoon, I;ll come back to Greenwich to give Mona a big hug.
I'll have more later today.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Sorry abut the lack of communication during the day but we were all pretty busy.
We also worked on communication, logistical, and organizational structures. The next team, for example, will have a dedicated On the Ground Coordinator responsible for keeping track of expenses, supply needs, and in-country logistics. Jim Doucette from Bristol, CT will fill this role.
Thanks to Jackie & Sue O'Clair whose hospitality and lunch made our meeting easy.
When I arrived at Church this morning and opened the mail, I found a total of $7,800 from a wide variety of people and places, including St. Andrew's, Kent, and St. John's, Stamford. The outpouring of concern and desire to help is simply extraordinary. I spoke again in Church about being the Body of Christ in the world. There are many members of the body and each is related and intimately dependent upon the others. This is our connection to the Haitian people, our brothers and sisters.
I talked with Dave Desmarais tonight. He said the clinic was seeing well over 100 patients a day and one day they saw 165 Haitians. Their biggest need is for cold medicines, pain relief meds, diapers, diarrhea medicines, pedialyte, bacitracin, all items the logistics and supply folks are trying to acquire. They are also looking for some five gallon buckets with lids for purifying water. Jim Doucette will take these down. Mostly they are drinking bottled water.
Keep holding the center for the Haitian people and all of the relief workers. More tomorrow.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Danelie & Luc just called. Long day. Everybody is exhausted. Very low on medical supplies. A Scientology group has promised some supplies tomorrow. There was something I didn't understand about the airport, maybe get there to pick up the supplies or them getting the supplies from the airport. Not sure.
Danelie & Mona will try to catch the 10 o'clock bus to Santa Domingo tomorrow morning and a flight that night back to JFK. They will bring as many duffels with them as possible.
Bishop Duracin's wife (Mona's sister) is in the hospital. She has had two operations. The Bishop is OK but very sad for his people and frustrated that he cannot do more. Please hold the Bishop and his wife in your hearts and prayers.
We really need to find an Xray machine and an Xray technician to read the Xrays. I'll pass that along to Pam after I finish this update.
An engineer has been hired to come to the School on Monday morning to assess the damage and advise us about the next step. Dave Desmarais suspects we'll tear it down, redesign a new school building, and then build anew. That's sounding more and more like the best plan. A building that is fit for hurricanes and earthquakes ... and that serves our children even better than before--a real kitchen, more rest rooms, electricity, water, etc. Let's keep that goal in mind and make it happen.
OK, that's all for now. I'll try to post an update tomorrow between services. But, I don't expect to be at a computer until later Sunday evening. We have our Coordinators meeting at 12.15 to plan next steps and there is a memorial service at l'Eglise de l'Epiphanie in Stamford tomorrow at 4.30 p.m. which I want to attend. Good night.
Things are moving very fast again. Luc & Danelie report that the clinic is almost out of supplies. After trying to contact the UN and Red Cross, we found there are mountains of red tape and paper work to get supplies from them. We are trying to get a letter from Bishop Duracin stating the need for supplies is on an urgent basis.
So, if we can't get help in country, we'll do it ourselves. Accordingly, we're now working to staff Team Andrew 2 and collect supplies with a target to have them in country on Tuesday or Wednesday. This will be a massive undertaking and the Good Samaritan Rebuilding Coordinators will need lots of help. Immediately after we get Team Andrew 2 in country we'll undertake a resupply mission aimed toward the end of the week. If we set up a clinic, we owe it to the people in the community to serve them.
We hear that a Doctor Evelyn Archer is also now in Carrefour and there is the possibility that Doctors Without Borders may arrive soon. That would be great because maybe then we could piggy-back with them in the supply chain.
Alison Chaltas, from Stamford, CT sent me an email today. Here is some of it: "Let me start by complimenting you on the amazing job you and your parish are doing in coordinating support for relief efforts in Carrefour. I'm a friend of the Schlegels and senior warden at St. John's Stamford and have been trying hard to rally my neighbors and friends in and beyond St. John's to contribute.
I'm absolutely stunned by the positive response and people's desire to give locally. This morning I received a call from the president of our neighborhood association who was inspired by our e-fundraising effort and wants to make a push to our 2000 home area of town to rally behind a Haitian cause or two. He'd like that to be the medical relief efforts in Carrefour."
Please share this with others. We continue to urgently need money to support our efforts. The cost of medical supplies, transport, and water, food, etc. in Carrefour is huge. Thanks to all who have sent checks. If you want to contribute to the Good Samaritan Rebuilding Fund, send a check with Haiti on the memo line to Old St. Andrew's Church, 59 Tariffville Rd., Bloomfield, CT 06002.
Good conversation with Luc on the SatPhone. The Team is going to contact Giovanni at the UN to find medical supplies from the UN and/or the Red Cross in country. We appear to be the only clinic in Carrefour. Dr. Reed recruited three Haitian nurses to work at our clinic. They are running very low on supplies which is why the UN & Red Cross help is needed immediately.
Danelie plans to return to Santa Domingo with Mona tomorrow and hopefully catch her return flight to the U.S. Gia is trying to get a seat for Mona as a well. Otherwise Danelie & Mona will stay in Santa Domingo until they can travel together. Mona needs some medical attention and getting her back to Connecticut is a high priority.
I also spoke with Jean-Elie who sends his belssings and deepest thanks to all of you for your compassion and generosity towards the School and the people in the Carrefour community.
(update, Saturday, 1.23.10 - 7.40 a.m.)
Working today to find Red Cross & UN supplies in country to replenish and augment what little we have. Hope to have Team 2 plans developed by Sunday afternoon.
(update, Friday, 1.22.10 - 9.40 p.m.)
The list of medical items needed is huge. I've passed it along to our medical coordinator (Pam Kropowski) & supplies & logistics guy (Gus Schlegel). We will be working over the weekend to acquire and get these supplies to our staging area.
Still the best way to contribute is to send money to Old St. Andrew's Church, 59 Tariffville Rd., Bloomfield, CT 06002 with Haiti written on the memo line. We will use your donations to buy the supplies our clinic needs and we'll get them to Carrefour.
Thank you all so much for keeping track of what's happening and for your incredible compassion and support. You are the light of the world to the the Haitian people who count on École le Bon Samaritain in Carrefour.
(update, Friday, 1.22.10 - 9.00 p.m.)
What we are doing is so viral. Consider this from Wanda Pease who lives in DC. She was my daughter, Robin's great friend growing up in Maine: "My thoughts and prayers are with you and your team. I am sending your website and information to my parents & their church in little po'dunk Maine - they are thrilled to hear your updates! God bless." Yes, please share with your friends what's happening here.
(update, Friday, 1.22.10 - 8.20 p.m.)
Ann Giuli: "Just closed clinic door. VERY BUSY afternoon. Wide variety of patient probems. We are composing list of needed medicine & supplies. Will call Puck with list. Keep messages coming."
After receiving this text, I got a SatPhone call. Best reception yet. The list of needs is huge. Most important is the impact we're having is significant, although scant. One story: A six year old boy who was trapped for three days was brought to our clinic with a broken arm. No Xray, but the arm is now set and in a cast. There are so many other stories.
I need to get to work with our Coordinators--Supplies & Logistics, Travel, Medical--and see how we can respond to what Team Andrew needs. More details later.
(update, Friday, 1.22.10 - 2.20 p.m.)
Another Ann Giuli text: "Taking a break for lunch. Morning clinic very successful. Many patients. Wonderful being a nurse. More later."
(update, Friday, 1.22.10 - 1.25 p.m.)
Luc Louisgene & Dave Desmarais just called. The clinic is up and operating at the guest house (about 100 yards from the School) where everybody is staying. The line went dead before I could talk with David Reed or Ann Giuli.
The guest house is built with steel construction and concrete and shows no signs of earthquake damage. This certainly tells us something about how to rebuild the School. Dave does not think the School building is salvageable, although the desks and most of the other equipment can be saved.
I passed along Pascale's message about Mona's cousin, Therese Duplisse-Vernette, who has been injured in Haiti with the hopes that Mona can find her.
Luc promised to get to the cypercafé this afternoon and send an email with a summary of what's going on and pictures.
(update, Friday, 1.22.10 - 11.15 a.m.)
Ann Giuli is keeping in touch via text. This at 9.36 last night:
"Getting sleeping bags set up, sorting bags of supplies. Spaghetti for dinner. Amazing hospitality. I am really happy to be here even amongst all the tragedy we've seen today." And this morning at 8.23: "Small tremors this morning. We are all fine. Currently setting up clinic. More later. Ann"
I am working to outline our next steps. Getting info from the Coordinators about what worked. Trying to get good assessment info from the School (Dr. Reed & Ann Giuli re medical and Dave Desmarais re physical things). About to propose to the Coordinators that we gather at 12.15 at Old St. Andrew's on Sunday to plan our next steps and begin creating Team 2.
Stephanie, her daughter Titania, and I went to the Metropolitan Learning Center this morning and were give a check for over $1,000 from the student there for our relief efforts. These young people are interested and committed. Thank you MLC!
Met with Susan Campbell who writes for the Hartford Courant. She is very interested in the plight of the School and our Good Samaritan Rebuilding program. Please track her blog.
(update, Thursday. 1.21.10 - 6.05 p.m.)
(update, Thursday. 1.21.10 - 5.20 p.m.)
THE TEAM IS AT THE SCHOOL.
I just got off the SatPhone with Luc, Jean-Elie, and Dave. Damage to the School building is extensive. Dave doesn't know how much is salvageable. I asked him to get the generator, inverter and batteries off the second floor and try to get the water purification systems back in operation.
The Team will probably stay at the guest house around the corner. That building is standing and in good shape. Dr. Reed expects the clinic to be up and operating tomorrow morning. It may or may not be in the school courtyard.
Our arrival is a huge relief to Mona and the others. Our Team brought water, fuel, food, medical supplies, friends, family, and most of all the compassion and love of hundreds of people who made this mission possible. YOU ALL MADE THIS HAPPEN!
(update, Thursday. 1.21.10 - 1.56 p.m.)
Evidently the Team needs to transfer into transport that can get all of the people and equipment to Carrefour. The big bus is too BIG.
Ann Giuli (nurse) texted her husband, Tom Ginter, with the following.
not at school school yet
waiting across from embassy
transportation should be here soon
i am so very very happy to be here
This is Santard Stanley.
(update, Thursday. 1.21.10 - 1.10 p.m.)
The Team is in Haiti at the U.S,. Embassy in a bus loaded with medical supplies, equipment, food, water, gasoline, Dr. David Reed, nurse Ann Giuli, builder Dave Desmarais and our Haitian friends. The stop at the embassy is to line up refugees to take back to Santa Domingo after Tomas, our driver, drops off the Good Samaritan Team. The School is about 10 miles from Port-au-Prince. This is fantastic. More when we learn it.
Diane Desmarais, Dave's wife, adds from the Hymnal: "Now thank we all our God, with heart, and hands, and voices."
(update, Thursday, 1.21.10 - 9.45 a.m.)
Helping Haiti: Eight Points is worth reading.
(update, Thursday,1.21.10 - 8.45 a.m.)
This from Gus Schlegel: Hello folks! Just talked to the team. They are now in line at the Border. Danalie can see the Haitian Flag!!
They were greated at the airport by the driver, Tomas, who was holding a sign that read "ANDREWS TEAM". They left as soon as they had loaded the bus. All baggage was accounted for. They filled up the six 5 gallon containers of gas. Gasoline is $3.88, so it cost them 4200 Pesos or $116. The road to the border is paved. The bus is air conditioned with a toilet. The team stopped at a supermarket on the way and stockpiled water, rice, dried fish, oil, sugar, milk, and eggs. More as soon as we learn it.
(update, Thursday,1.21.10 - 7.30 a.m.)
Danelie called at 2 a.m. to say the Team had arrived in Santa Domino. I'm waiting for an update on where they are now. Check back soon.
Check out creedible.com who have been following our story and will travel with us on a future trip.
BTW, "Valerie's" name actually is Beronica Gonsalves. She is the early intervention intake coordinator for Easter Seals Child Development Center in the Bronx where Gus Schlegel also works. Beronica is from Santa Domingo and so the best possible person we could know at this time. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
(update, Wednesday, 1.20.10 - 8.20 p.m.)
Our Team of 7 are at JFK for a 9 p.m. direct JetBlue flight to Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic. They arrive in the DR at 2 a.m. Arrangements have been made for a bus to meet them at the airport and transport them to Haiti. They are traveling with 31 bags of medical supplies, equipment, and other relief supplies.
And check this out. The crew arrived at the JFK terminal and parked in front (as we all do). The police never bothered our Team for most of an hour. Is the spirit of Christ with them and us, or what?!
Please keep in your hearts and deepest prayers Dr. David Reed, nurse Ann Giuli, builder/handyman Dave Desmarais, Père Jean-Elie Millien, his daughter, Danelie Millien, Luc Lousigene and his daughter, Gaelle. May the angels of the Universe be with them.
JetBlue has provided the tickets and unlimited baggage (31 Bags!!!!) at no cost. Their compassion and cooperation has been extraordinary and we thank them.
We have pre-arranged the pickup of water and gasoline in Santa Domingo in large containers. Bringing these critical supplies to École le Bon Samaritain in Carrefour is a first step in securing the School. Our Supplies & Logistics folks, Gus Schlegel and Valerie (whose last name I don’t know) have moved mountains to make this journey possible.
Our immediate objective is to get this Team of 7 to Carrefour, give Mona Millien & her cousins a bottle of water, bivouac the Team, establish a basic-needs clinic, and recover as much of the School’s infrastructure as possible—move the generator, inverter, and batteries off the second floor and into the courtyard, repair our two water purification units, figure out a way to refill our 450 gallon cistern, and assess, with the Haitian engineer who designed and built the School, what its condition is and what to do next. Les bénédictions et vitesse de Dieu (Blessings & Godspeed).
Coulette Lioce is now on-board as our Volunteers & Scheduling Coordinator (email@example.com). If you would like to volunteer, please contact me or her. Her first task is to set up a database of volunteers and their individual contact info and skills.
Joanne Kimball (firstname.lastname@example.org) has agreed to serve as Public Relations Coordinator. If you have a PR angle that can help our cause, please contact her.
Other Coordinators are:
Gus Schlegel, Supplies & Logistics (email@example.com)
Gia Card, Travel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dave Desmarais, Builder/Handyman (email@example.com)
Pam Koprowski, Medical & Medical Supplies (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Caryn Stedman, Frequent Flier Exchange (email@example.com)
Danelie Millien, Ambassador at Large (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here's a heart-felt letter from Diane Desmarais to her friends about Dave's participation in the first team's trip to Carrefour. It is definitely worth the read.
(update, Wednesday, 1.20.10 - 8.30 a.m.)
Another 6.1 earthquake this morning at 6.03. UGH! When will all of this shaking stop? Please keep our team in your hearts & prayers.
(update, Tuesday, 1.19.10 - 7.45 p.m.)
Today has been a whirlwind. Our most recent info says that Jean-Elie Millien, Luc Louisgene, his daughter Gaelle, handyman Dave Desmarais, Dr. David Reed from the Stamford Medical Center, Ann Giuli, a nurse from Stamford Medical Center, and Danelie Millien will travel to the Dominica Republic tomorrow night on Jet Blue. Go Jet Blue! Thanks to Travel Coordinator Gia Card.
They will then take a six hour bus ride to Haiti. We are especially grateful that Dr. David Reed, a surgeon from Stamford Medical Center, and nurse Ann Giuli will accompany the team. Medical supplies, water purification tablets, hand-powered generators, cameras, and a satellite phone are being taken in large rolling duffle bags. The relief effort in our neighborhood of Waney, Carrefour is about to start.
This afternoon, OSA Treasurer Dennis Desrochers worked out our in-house accounting procedures. We have also set up a structure with EBS whereby they will document how funds are spent in Haiti. In time, we will publish where donated monies have been spent.
Debra Carson (OSA) writes, “As a children's hospital the effort to provide care to Haiti moves on. The medical and nursing staff from Pediatric Trauma Program, Trauma Institute, CT Children's Medical Center are on board with St. Andrew's. They are waiting for the results of our initial assessment. Everyone is looking for a safe and viable mechanism to travel and provide care. We are able to respond quickly once the logistics and needs are know.
From Danelie Millien, Ambassador at Large for the Good Samaritan Rebuilding Fund:
“Thanks so much for the medical supplies given by Trinity Newtown, Christ Church Greenwich, St John's Stamford, Old St Andrew's Bloomfieled, St Paul's Norwalk, St John's Bristol and other Churches, as well as Cos Cob School, and Hamilton Ave School in Greenwich.
“Thank to Pam Koprowski who is our liaison for Stamford Hospital & The City of Stamford, and Congressman Jim Himes. Special thanks to Dr. David Reed, our liaison with AmeriCares who has authorization from Stamford Hospital to go to Haiti to provide surgical care at Good Samaritan School.
Coulette Lioce - Old St Andrew's Bloomfield – Volunteers & Scheduling
Gus & Sheelagh Schlegel - Haiti Committee St John's Stamford – Logsitics & Supplies
St John's Stamford’s Staff - Haiti Committee
Dave Desmarais - St John's Bristol (Contractor - Firefighter)
The Rev. Marge Roccoberton & Jack Spaeth - Episcopal Diocese of CT - (Spreading the news)
Gia Card - Trinity Newtown (Travel Coordinator)
Caryn Steadman - Old St Andrew's Bloomfield/MLC - Frequent Flyer Miles Coordinator
Ginny Fox - Congressman Jim Heim's Assistant (US Citizens in Haiti transportation)
Luc Louisgene - Good Samaritan Website Update
Stephanie Millien - Satellite Phone & Communication in Haiti
The Rev Puck Purnell - Good Samaritan/Haiti Relief Coordinator
Sue Vogelman - Trinity Newtown (medical Supplies)
Jackie & Sue O'Clair - Old St Andrew's Bloomfield (Duffle bags & Medical Supplies)
Jean Tredinnick - Christ Church Greenwich - Medical Supplies
Elena L. Barnum - St Paul's Norwalk - Medical Supplies
Lauriana Fortner - Liaison to Hamilton Ave School - Medical Supplies
Barbara Riccio - Hamilton Ave School, Greenwich - Medical Supplies
Kimberly Beck - Cos Cob School, Medical Supplies
Cathy Horn - Cos Cob School, Medical Supplies
Sue Striker - Cos Cob School - Relief Supplies & Donations
Gaelle Millien-Louisgene - Facebook Haiti Relief page
“Thank you to all the people who contributed to this effort. We are counting on you to continue to support our efforts to collect other items as needed.
“We have collected enough medical supplies for now. We are now collecting sanitary, electrical, household & camping/bedding items:
“Soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, hand & body lotion, baby power, baby wipes, diapers all sizes, diaper rash ointment, feminine napkins, small Kleenex boxes, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, crank flashlights, batteries AA/AAA/C/D, paper plates, napkins, paper towels, garbage bags, Ziplock bags, plastic cups, plastic utensils.
“Cash donations are always needed: Checks to Old St. Andrew’s with Haiti in the memo line. We plan to employ local Haitians to help clean and repair the School and do other relief work. This get our tasks done and money into the community.
“If you are available to help us, please contact email@example.com. We need doctors, nurses, construction workers, builders, even people who could bring supplies to Haiti for drop off at the airport and return on the same plane the same day.
“Blood donations are also in great need. Anyone is able to call 1(800)GIVE LIFE to make a blood donation at their local American Red Cross to relief those suffering in Haiti.”