Our clinic in Cherident, Haiti saves lives, and has been doing so since 2006. Thanks to your help we are able to support an operation that is all about Haitians helping their fellow countrymen.
The clinic’s physician, Dr. Nesly Catolin, is a dedicated doctor who will not leave until the last patient has been seen. People walk four hours or more to obtain Dr. Catolin’s care. The six other Haitian nurses and community healthcare workers are also tireless. HHP’s funding pays their salaries, stocks the pharmacy, buys vaccinations, and purchases food supplements for malnourished infants.
On June 23, Pastor Dick Thompson of Westminster Presbyterian Church and Don Miller, an HHP Board member, returned from four days in Cherident, Haiti.
“This was one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had in my nine trips to Cherident,” Don said. Things hadn’t always gone smoothly after Pere Albert’s death. Subsequent priests had views that didn’t align with their American benefactors’. But HHP persevered, partnering with the other Christian nonprofits in Cherident to share ideas, pray, and gain energy for the ministry.
Pastor Dick and Don met the newly installed local Episcopal priest, Pere Fred Menelas. Pere Fred mirrors many of Pere Albert’s traits. He is bright, energetic, positive, a true believer in cooperation and teamwork, and appreciative of the support WPC gives. “I felt like I was dealing with Pere Albert again,” Don said.
From its inception, HHP’s clinic has been a cornerstone of empowerment – Haitians helping Haitians. Dick and Don’s meetings with Pere Fred, Dr. Catolin, Ancy Fils-Aime and other community leaders focused on sharpening the management of the clinic.
The tangible result of the visit is a signed agreement that will enable the community of Cherident to take control of clinic operations over the long term, with HHP continuing to provide financial and advisory support.
Don said, “We built on the original foundation of trust and compassion between Pere Albert and the founders of HHP, adding the new energy and commitment of Pere Fred. We were able to construct a plan that will allow us to fulfill our commitment to those in and around Cherident.”
The trip included further, gratifying relationship building in the community with several community leaders. Pere Fred, for one, has an open door approach to the community where everyone is welcome to come by and visit. Don and Dick spent a couple of evenings on the guesthouse porch, watching World Cup matches with vocal Haitian fans, passionately cheering both sides. Pere Fred and his wife Wislande plan to visit Westlake Village and HHP this fall in California. They are excited to meet our Board and to further our mutual desire to build an enduring and growing community-led health care facility in Cherident, Haiti!
Pastor Thompson, Don and Ancy.
Haitians visiting the clinic.
Pere Fred visiting with Erime Pongnon, 90, who is the mother of the late Pere Wilfred Albert, beloved priest of St. Matthias Episcopal Church until his death in July 2005. This visit was on October 19, 2013.
PHOTO CREDIT FOR ALL PHOTOS: Cindy Corell
Hello friends! The February trip to Cherident went really well. First of all, we had the pleasure of meeting the new priest of St. Matthias parish: Father Fred! The parish has been blessed with Father Fred and his family. He has great energy and tremendous faith. He loves the clinic, and he is whole-heartedly invested in the parish. We were also able to meet and communicate with local notables to get a feel for the clinic's impact on the community. We received great feedback, as well as constructive criticism. One thing that was truly interesting: we are the only functioning clinic now. Two neighboring clinics have closed due to a lack of funding or the government. (And by neighboring, I mean it is 1-3 miles away via unpaved, pothole-ridden, mountainous terrain, and most people have to walk). So, it is up to us to deliver healthcare to the entire population. The majority of the patients battle gastrointestinal problems, which are managed with medications. The neediest patients are our mothers and children. Medika Mamba ("peanut butter medicine") is helping combat malnutrition, and many babies are thriving from these supplements. Children are often seen for dermatologic concerns or the common cold, and both are managed with medication as well. Pregnant women have the highest mortality risk for numerous reasons. Nutrition is a concern, of course. Hemorrhaging during childbirth is a potential danger. But what we heard over our visit was that syphilis is common, and it can cause stillborns. We were told one woman came to the clinic and the doctor did not hear a fetal heartbeat. He told her to go to the clinic in Leogane (approx. 9 miles away) because the stillborn needed to be removed. Because she did not go to the clinic, she died. It is tragic and we could feel Dr. Catolin's remorse when sharing this story. According to Dr. Catolin, most of the pregnant women do not come in for a visit until they are over halfway through their pregnancies. HHP would like to improve maternal and child care because it is clearly needed. Most of the conditions presented to the clinic are controlled with medication. Pregnancy is not so simple. With continued support, we hope to provide comprehensive maternity care. Dr. Catolin is qualified and interested in maternal care. We have great faith in him and the staff! We are very excited about the potential for our clinic and the good work that has already been done. Thank you all for loving and caring about the clinic in Cherident.