We were blessed recently to have a visit from a group of friends from Milwaukee that included Ray and Donna Moon, Bob Chase, Yvonne DuCharme, Lawrence DuCharme, Brittany DuCharme and Dr. Ron Schroeder. They served with us for two weeks and did they work hard! We had asked that they come down to build cabinets for our laboratory and pharmacy and they accomplished this in splendid fashion under the expert eye of Bob Chase and with the assistance of Lawrence DuCharme and the rest of the team. Even Dr. Ron was put to work helping out after seeing patients with Dr. Wolf in the clinic.
Master cabinetmaker Bob Chase (left) and Lawrence DuCharme directed the team.
Brittany (Lawrence and Yvonne’s niece) and Donna staining the cabinets on the pharmacy sidewalk
Beginning of the installation of cabinets in the laboratory
Lab cabinets installed
In addition to making and installing the cabinets in the laboratory and pharmacy, the team painted and organized the electrical and plumbing rooms.
The women did most of the painting of the electrical and plumbing rooms, cleaning and organizing them as well.
They also emptied out drums of clinic and laboratory supplies and organized them in the clinic and laboratory storerooms.
Boxes of laboratory and clinic supplies organized in the laboratory storeroom
This team was the first of our visiting groups to stay overnight in our new second floor residence quarters. Once the iron doors and windows were installed in the residence to secure the building, we felt that it was safe enough for our visitors to stay up there during the week. This enabled them to start work earlier, finish later and avoid the fatigue of the drive up and down the mountain each day. We had two full beds and several cots up there with extra mattresses, linens and towels, canned foods, juice, milk and other staples, dishes, silverware, pots and pans and kitchen utensils. The team fixed their own food each day and seemed to enjoy their independence and the cool mountain breezes! Cherlie and I went back to our house in Jérémie each day to re-stock our clinic meds and check on the house and our dogs!
Dining room and kitchen of the residence
Donna, Ray, Bob, Brittany and Lawrence enjoying lunch up at the residence
Engineers Lawrence and Brittany rigged up frames over their cots for mosquito nets.
In addition to all of their other work, Bob decided that they should construct bunk beds for the residence bedrooms. So, after working several days on the design, the group set to work cutting and varnishing the pieces, after which they installed 4 bunk bed sets. Of course, they made sure they slept in them before they left the site!
All the plywood bunk bed parts lined up and ready to be installed
It took a team to install the beds (Ray, Ron and Yvonne)
Bunkbeds after installation in the bedrooms of the residence
While the construction team was working hard, Dr. Ron Schroeder was helping us see patients in our clinic. As a gynecologist, he offered specialty services to our patients that were very much appreciated and he performed almost 90 Pap smears during the two weeks he was here. He was a huge help to us and to our patients.
Dr. Ron consulting with a patient in our clinic
During the time the team was here, there were two situations that clearly showed us that people were praying for them in their service with us here in Haiti.
The first situation occurred late one afternoon after Cherlie and I had left to go back to Jérémie. As Ray was finishing work in the work shop, he accidentally cut his arm on the miter saw. Fortunately, the whole team mobilized and found instruments, suture material, gauze and gloves for Dr. Ron to use to suture the laceration. Ray was a good patient and was quickly patched up and ready to work again the next day!
Dr. Ron putting sutures in Ray’s arm laceration outside the clinic. Natural light is a wonderful thing!
Ray and Donna Moon, team organizers, take a little break from their work
The second situation that showed us God’s wonderful grace happened on Friday, January 29th, when the group was returning to Port au Prince (PAP) to fly out the following day to the US. During that week, there had been a lot of violence in PAP and the rural areas as a result of the cancelled Presidential runoff elections on January 24th. We were apprehensive about the political instability and considered several options in trying to get our visitors to PAP safely and on to their families in the US. We decided that we would have them go to PAP in our large jeep with Miller, our driver and Cherlie to accompany them in case of any demonstrations or problems on the road. They left Jérémie at 3am and were making wonderful progress when, an hour outside of PAP, a vehicle pulled out suddenly in front of the jeep and the vehicles collided in a noisy crash. Due to the grace of God, no one was seriously injured in either vehicle, although our jeep sustained major damage to the front end. If it wasn’t for a large iron bumper that we had installed when we first purchased the jeep, the damage and injuries could have been more significant. We are dismayed by the damaged jeep but praise the Lord for his protection of the passengers and driver. They were picked up by the guesthouse driver and made it back to the US without further problems and Cherlie came back to Jérémie on a bus. The jeep will stay in PAP until it gets repaired.
We appreciate your prayers for the political situation here in Haiti which is very unstable at this time. President Martelly is due to step down from power on February 7th and there is no duly elected president to take over from him. There is talk about a transitional government being set up but this has not yet been done. Every day there have been demonstrations in PAP and sometimes they have spread into the rural towns outside the capital. We have had to cancel visitors for February due to the instability and hope that the situation calms down so we can continue on with our normal activities and trips back and forth to Port au Prince in the near future.