On a beautiful, clear sunny day in southwestern Haiti, February 23, 2013, the Health Center of Gatineau (Centre de Sante de Gatineau) was dedicated in a ceremony attended by over 300 people. Those attending included leaders and officials from local communities as well as the town of Jérémie, representatives from business and other non-profit organizations, local priests and pastors and hundreds of clinic patients. It was a joyful, fun-filled celebration of God’s goodness in helping us to complete (nearly!) construction on a new, permanent clinic building.
The Master of Ceremonies was Concepcia Pamphile, the Assistant Medical Director of Hopital Saint Antoine, the government hospital in Jérémie. Pastor Felix Leconte Belace, pastor of a local non-denominational church near the clinic and a patient of ours, gave the invocation, after which a group of young people from his church sang a song of adoration to the Lord. There were speeches from two local community members as well as dancing and an offering of fruit from the Gatineau community.
Cherlie gave an impassioned speech describing some of the obstacles that we faced in the construction process and the victory that we all feel with completion of the clinic building. I then thanked everyone for coming, including several members of the Board of Directors of FHH who were present, and I pledged cooperation with the Haitian Public Health Department, local government hospital, other non-profit organizations and others who are working to improve health in Haiti. I also thanked everyone who has worked with us over the past few years, including local officials, construction workers, businessmen and women, and engineers, all of whom worked with us to make our vision a reality. Finally, I thanked our families who sacrifice in having us here on a fulltime basis and thanked the Lord, who gave us direction and enabled us to persevere to completion of our goals.
Those from the US who attended the ceremony and helped, both with preparation and with the festivities included Worldteam missionary Joyce Throness, FHH board members Timothy Bedient, Neal Meitler and George Jelich, and friends Lisa and Isabelle Jergens, Megan Caley, Ralph Minor and Maura Myles.
The ceremony began around 9:10am and concluded at 10:30am with a dance performed by young people from a local Catholic parish. Refreshments were served and the guests had a chance to tour the building and interact with one another. It was a very blessed time and we all felt that the Lord really was a part of it. The weather was wonderful, the grounds were beautiful and the clinic looked astounding with its bright white primer paint and green and white balloons and decorations.
Rejoice with us as you look at the following photos from the grand event:
Making final preparations
The decorated clinic
Speakers for the ceremony – Dr. Katie Wolf, RN Cherlie Severe, Concepcia Pamphile, & Manite Louis.
Dr. Katie Wolf thanks local community members
Ceremony attendees from Jérémie and surrounding communities…
…over 300 total attendees!
Cherlie makes closing remarks.
FHH board members George Jelich and Neal Meitler.
A long-time patient celebrates the clinic opening.