In the aftermath of the earthquake GRACE Cares supported two projects in Haiti. The first was a February 2010 medical mission that treated nearly 1000 patients over the course of a week. The second was an economic development project to help jump start a community swollen with refugees from Port au Prince.
On February 10,2010 GRACE Cares Director and co-founder T. Namaya, a FNP and homeopath, traveled to the stricken nation with a team of eight homeopathic/holistic medical providers who were able to provide emergency care and supplies to hundreds in the critical weeks after the earthquake. Due to logistics issues, the team ended up driving across the island from the Dominican Republic with the help of our contacts there including Project Director Rubben Ottenwalder.
The team worked out of a warehouse provided by a local businessman and tended to nearly 1,000 people over the course of their weeklong stay.Most of the Haitians had parasites and illnesses from contaminated water, or were malnourished and suffered untreated diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes and infant diarrhea. The team saw around a hundred extremely grateful patients per day, who were not able to afford medical assistance otherwise. In addition to medical care, the trip was about providing hope. The team carried musical instruments and medical supplies donated by Brattleboro area businesses.
Maple Leaf Music Company and Contemporary Music donated instruments such as kazoos, penny whistles and shakers,which brought joy to the children whose homes were destroyed after the earthquake. Other business and individuals donated art and medical supplies. GRACE Cares supports especially Board Member Ellen Eiseman made the trip possible.
To read more about the trip and conditions the team experienced read Namaya’s Blog Entry on the experience at Vermont Poet.
GRACE Cares works on developing and supporting communities in a variety of ways. One of which is helping to foster sustainable, small-scale, economic development projects. Realizing that Haiti would need long term help, we provided start-up assistance to a group intending to do just that. We provided expertise and a small amount of seed funding to Joe Bernadel, a Haitian and retired US Army Major and director of ReThinkHaiti, and Reverend Anita Thorstaed to start an incoming generating program in Bondeau. Bondeau is a community of about 700 inhabitants that was growing rapidly as people left Port-au-Prince.
Learn more about the ongoing work of ReThinkHaiti at www.rethinkhaiti.org.