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Christmas Update


Cherlie and I and the rest of the staff of Centre de Sante de Gatineau and Friends for Health in Haiti would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We would also like to thank all of our donors, volunteers, prayer supporters and friends for your wonderful support and encouragement to us in our ministry here in Haiti. We are grateful for your partnership with us and for the sacrifices you have made to work with us, visit us and support us. You are the BEST!!!


When Cherlie and I see patients in our clinic in Gatineau, we often hear “life stories” from our patients – stories that tell us about their lives and the events that have led them to our doors. Some of the stories are requests for advice (excellently offered by Cherlie, who is a great counselor), some are explanations about hardship and very occasionally they are celebratory and happy.

In our last newsletter, I shared with you a story about a little 3 year old boy whose mother died and who was taken in by his grandparents, who had never met him and didn’t even know his name. Well, last week we saw the little boy again with his grandmother and he was active and talkative and obviously being well cared for by Grandma. It turns out that his name is Lucson, something that he finally was able to communicate to his grandparents, and his little brother’s name is Eric. Lucson was full of energy during his visit to me. It was obvious that he liked the children’s chewable vitamins that he had been given on his first visit because he repeatedly said to me “The vitamins are all finished. The vitamins are finished!” Needless to say, I refilled his prescription for vitamins and sent him off as a happy camper! During this holiday season, you can say a little prayer for Lucson and Eric and their wonderful grandparents who are providing a warm, secure home for them. What a happy story for the holidays!

A happy Lucson on his follow-up clinic visit.


One of Cherlie’s tasks in our life in Haiti stems from her sense of community and desire to be a good neighbor to those around us. She has the task of being “Public Relations Manager” for those living around us, whether it’s workmen who work at our house, farmers who help with gardening or neighbors with financial, medical and personal problems. She’s there for all of them – spending time with them, making visits to their homes, helping where she can to be a good neighbor and have a positive Christian witness. One of the neighbors across the road has a little granddaughter that Cherlie has befriended and when she came over a few weeks ago to show Cherlie her report card from school, she was rewarded with several beautiful pillowcase dresses, made by women back in NJ and Wisconsin. Beautiful girl and beautiful dress! Thanks women!

Cherseska, the granddaughter of our neighbor across the road.


We enjoy keeping our supporters and friends informed with regard to the progress being made on construction of our new clinic, pharmacy/lab/xray building and residence quarters. Here are some highlights from the past few weeks at the construction site:

The second floor residence quarters is going up quickly and the upper beams have now been framed and are in the process of being poured.

Carpenters are framing the beams at the front of the second floor residence.

Iron worker placing rebar under the hot sun.

Scaffold put up by the carpenters to frame and put rebar in the beams.

Front beams poured and framing removed.

Beams inside the second floor rooms poured.

In order to access the second floor residence, it was necessary to build a stairwell that goes from the ground level, which is the original level of the land before any grading was done, up a floor to the pharmacy/lab/xray building floor level and then up another flight to the second floor residence level. On the second floor, we decided to make an outside kitchen for the residence quarters, so we can have a Haitian cook prepare meals on charcoal fires, which is more economical and is the cooking fuel most Haitian cooks are used to.

Here are some photos from the stairwell-building process:

Block walls are going up on the middle level of the stairwell (same level as the clinic and pharmacy/lab/x-ray building floor.)

View from outside of the stairwell going from below ground level up to the second floor residence level.

Getting a peek at the heavens through a window on the stairwell.

Electricians placing electrical conduits and ceiling boxes before pouring the roof of the stairwell at the second level.

While all this work has been going on at the stairwell and second floor residence, part of the work crew has been making good progress building a pump house to enclose our newly-dug well.

The foundation walls of the pump house have been built, after which the columns will be poured as well as a concrete floor. The building is being constructed to keep the well and well pump secure.

The finishing stucco was put on the sidewalk and roof that goes from the clinic building to the pharmacy/lab/xray building. There is a small sidewalk going from a side door of the clinic over to the main sidewalk and the stucco work on that sidewalk led to some interesting comments from the Haitian workers. Every one of them who looked at the area beneath the sidewalk said the same thing to us: “What are you going to put in the space under the sidewalk? It’s big enough for a two-room house.” We didn’t have plans for anything there, but now that they mention it………!

Area under the stairwell that is big enough for a two room house!


We would never have been able to make the progress that we have this year without the assistance and expertise of many wonderful volunteer visitors. To all of you who have given of your time, money and energy to endure our hot weather and rocky roads to sweat and toil with us, we say a huge THANK YOU! And, for those who have given financially to assist these volunteers, we give another huge THANK YOU!

We were blessed with having several visitors this past month. Here are some highlights:

Master cabinetmaker Bob Chase made his third trip down here this year from Milwaukee to complete the installation of desks, counters and cabinets in the clinic for us.

Here is Bob putting concrete down on plywood countertops, after which ceramic tile was placed. It was quite a challenge to work with Haitian cement, rather than the thin-set variety that he’s used to at home!

Cabinets along one wall in the Emergency Room.

Sink, cabinet and writing desk in one of the examination rooms.

Desks in the registration/medical records room, handmade by Bob.

Each office has a desk and shelves on the wall.

We were all blessed to have 4 additional visitors from Milwaukee the second week Bob was here. Ray and Donna Moon and Yvonne Ducharme have made many trips to Haiti in the past, but this time they were accompanied by Yvonne’s brother Lawrence. They all had the wonderful experience of driving out to Jérémie from Port-au-Prince, part of it in the dark, leading them to ask repeatedly “Are you sure this is the road?” They got their fill of our roads as they rode up to the clinic site and back every day! And, they even had energy to accomplish some very significant tasks.

Donna and Ray Moon helped Bob by laying all the ceramic tile on the countertops in the clinic.

Lawrence and Yvonne cutting wood for clinic windows. Lawrence came prepared with his hard hat and tool belt!

Lawrence built these shelves in a storage room and Donna and Yvonne sorted through 12 drums of medical supplies, organizing them in plastic totes for use in the clinic.

The team even had time to put up a toilet paper holder in the clinic bathroom!

Here’s Cherlie and her new best friend Ray!

The whole group stops for a photo: Bob, Donna, Ray, Lawrence, Yvonne, Cherlie and Katie.

During the Milwaukee team’s visit, we also were able to have a couple of days with a mother-daughter nurse practitioner team from Houston. Susan Collins and her daughter Mary helped see patients in the clinic with the assistance of translator James:

Susan and Mary interview a patient with James’ help.



Katie and Cherlie

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