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As some of you may know, we began a wonderful partnership a year ago with Avera Health, a hospital corporation that is based in Sioux Falls, SD and serves rural communities throughout SD and neighboring states. For many years they have had an Avera Health Haiti Mission that has sent volunteers, supplies, equipment and medication to organizations in the Jérémie area of Haiti. For the past year, we have had the privilege of being partners with Avera Health and have benefitted from their dedicated volunteer groups coming to help out in our clinic in Gatineau. A group of 6 visited us in late May and we were delighted to have them. We love their commitment to the Lord and their desire to have an impact in Haiti by working through a long-term, stable, on-site organization such as ours. It is so much more effective than bringing down a team of volunteers to work for a week and then leave without anyone on the ground to continue the work. In our opinion, this is an ideal partnership because they help us do our job of service better and we give them a place to use their skills and expertise in a global health setting where the medical needs are tremendous.

The timing of the group’s visit was perfect, since our pharmacy technician, Guy-Johns Chevalier was scheduled to be in PAP at a seminar that week. So, nurses Pat Erpenbach and Rosemary Murphy filled in for Guy-Johns, assisted at times by Adrien, Cherlie and myself. They did a great job filling prescriptions, taking money and giving receipts and packing medications.

Nurse Pat fills out patient receipt for purchase of medications.

Nurse Rosemary helps in the pharmacy by counting pills and putting them in small plastic bags to sell to patients.

Geri and Jerome Malsom came as a dynamic team – Geri as a nurse and Jerome as mechanic and overall fix-it man. Geri helped with patient vital signs and patient education and Jerome fixed broken generators and batteries, helped build and stock shelving units in the residence, put up shower curtain rods in the residence bathrooms and inspected all the tools in our workshop.

Geri and Jerome Malsom made a terrific team!

Nurse Geri helps Dr. Wolf perform a Pap smear on a patient. The group takes the Pap smear slides back to SD where they are read and reports are sent back to the clinic for follow up.

Jerome stands next to shelving unit he and Christian built. He then organized all the linens and supplies in the residence store room.

Kathy English was the group’s team leader and did another magnificent job in keeping everyone fed and organized. She assisted with Pap smears and helped Cherlie distribute gifts of clothing and sacks to our patients that week. She also helped organize our storeroom full of gifts to be given in the future. Wherever she goes, there are smiles of gratitude!

Nurse Kathy sits with a patient who has just received gifts.

Cherlie and Kathy engage in an intense conversation in the clinic.

Christian Swenson, the youngest member of the Avera team proved to be a very adept carpenter, finishing construction of a large table and several shelving units in the laboratory room and a large cart to hold gastroscopes for future use doing GI endoscopy.

Christian working in the clinic workshop to create some beautiful shelving units.

Not only was Christian a good carpenter, he was a good cook. He got up early and fixed coffee and oatmeal for the rest of the team. Here he’s cutting up a fresh watermelon – a treat in Jeremie.

In addition to all of their hard work, the Avera team also transported medications and medical supplies for use in our clinic. We are grateful for their generous support of FHH and our ministry in Haiti and look forward to the next Avera team in a few months. Thanks for all of your efforts on our behalf!

Pat walking in the clinic hallway with her hands full of medications to pack for the pharmacy.

Rosemary takes some time out to love on a little baby.

This little boy’s tears soon turned to joy when he received a toy car, thanks to our Avera friends.

Here is the whole team together on their last day at the clinic:

Avera team (Top row left to right: Pat, Jerome, Christian, bottom row left to right: Geri, Rosemary, Kathy.)

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