The time has finally come… Colten’s Haitian Vacation: 2013 Clinic Recon Edition is happening. As you probably remember from the Radio Silence post, the Peacework Medical Clinic is going to be built in Gard Hiram. The clinic will be serving the Ranquitte region, approximately 20,000 people who have minimal access to care. So, you probably get the point that this is pretty important work. Colten’s going to be focusing on a few key objectives while roaming the beautiful Haitian countryside.
1) Establish reliable transportation from Port au Prince to Gard Hiram: Past Peacework trips to Ranquitte (approximately 30-40 minutes north of Gard Hiram by truck), have been pretty rugged. Riding in the open bed of a 4WD cargo truck for several hours is an experience that I believe everyone should have, but it’s also extremely time consuming. The plan for future clinic volunteers is a flight from Port au Prince to the central town of Pignon. A glance at the map below gives you an idea of how much travel is shortened by that flight (A-B). Colten’s going to be establishing a reliable form of travel for that last leg of the trip (B-C).
2) Find local families to provide meals and help with laundry to volunteers staffing the clinic: Volunteers cannot survive on goodwill alone, so food is a must. The lack of supermarkets, restaurants, or any store front makes it difficult to plan and prepare your own meals. A local family will be paid to prepare meals and provide other necessities for volunteers, further stimulating the local economy… just another example of the multitude of benefits the clinic will bring to the region.
3) Establish partnerships with nearby hospitals and identify their capabilities: While there are other clinics in the region, the hospitals are hours away and have varying levels of care available to patients. Colten will be visiting nearby hospitals, laying the groundwork for future partnerships, and talking with patients about their experiences. The Peacework clinic is an important piece of the Haitian healthcare puzzle.
4) Start building relationships in the community: This isn’t to say that Peacework has not already established itself as a positive presence in the region. People come from near and far to visit the 10 day clinic that’s been in Ranquitte, but this is a new setting. The Gard Hiram clinic is going to be free standing and long-term. Providers will be staffing the clinic more frequently and the community will be instrumental in supporting the work being done. So you probably get the idea that building and maintaining the clinic will quite literally “take a village”.
Colten has a lot on his plate during this trip, but anybody familiar with him knows that he’s the perfect person for the task at hand. He’s the best we’ve got and that’s why we’re putting him on the ground.
We’re committed to this clinic. We’re committed to the community. We’re not willing to fail. But as always, we need support from like-minded people. Donate and buy items from the shop whenever you can, and as always, spread the word about the work being done.
Colten assessing Haitian chair strength in 2012