Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Catholic Bishops Visit Haiti

(Photo by John Carroll of orphan in Port-au-Prince. No paperwork is being done on her behalf. She just sits and waits as do thousands of other Haitian kids....)

USCCB Publishes Findings, Recommendations after Mission to Haiti and Haitians in Other Caribbean Nations

September 29, 2010

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic)—Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, head of the U.S. bishops Haiti Advisory Group, introduced September 27, the report “The Displaced of Haiti: Long-Term Challenges and Needed Solutions” on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Mission to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas.

“As we saw from the storms that hit Port-Au-Prince over the weekend, Haiti is still in a fragile state,” Archbishop Wenski said. “Nearly nine months after the earthquake, 1.3 million persons remain homeless, living in tent camps, and clean-up and reconstruction efforts proceed at a very slow pace. Despite the outpouring of support from the international community in the aftermath of the disaster, attention to the long-term recovery of Haiti has begun to lag. Full assistance to help the country rebuild has yet to be delivered, and displaced Haitians, particularly vulnerable children, remain in dangerous situations.”

The U.S. bishops’ delegation found the plea of Haitian children especially troublesome.

“While there are some innovative and promising child protective initiatives, there is no comprehensive approach to prevent family separation, smuggling and trafficking across the border, and support safe return and reintegration and durable solutions for children,” said Todd Scribner, USCCB Migration and Refugee Services education coordinator.

Thousands of Haitian children live in hundreds of “orphanages” or “child-care centers” in and around Port-au-Prince. Some lost their parents; in many other cases, parents who cannot care for their children will often leave them there.

Children in Haiti are also vulnerable to exploitation, particularly to the restavek system, a practice in which a child is sent to work for another family with the hope that the child will have access to an education, or at least food and shelter. Instead, the child often finds a life of domestic servitude and slave-like conditions.

There also is evidence that Haitian children are being trafficked into the Dominican Republic to work in agriculture, beg on the streets, or perform domestic work, yet little is being done to apprehend and prosecute traffickers.

Other USCCB findings include:

Recovery and reconstruction efforts are proceeding slowly, leaving Haiti’s displaced, both inside the country and outside, at grave risk;

After an initial generous response, nations in the region, including the United States, are beginning to pull back the welcome mat for Haitians displaced because of the earthquake;

Haitian children remain in danger, subject to difficult living conditions, domestic servitude, and human trafficking;

Haitian families are divided and policies pursued both by Haiti and surrounding nations, including the United States, have not been designed to reunite them; and
Interdiction and deportation policies toward Haitians in the region continue or have resumed, despite the fragile state of the recovery effort in Haiti.

The U.S. Bishops’ delegation also made the following recommendations:

The United States and other nations must provide reconstruction funds in a timely manner and assist the Haitian government in rebuilding the country, including a plan for re-location or return of the displaced to homes;

Family tracing efforts for orphans must be increased and best interest determinations for Haitian orphans in Haiti and the Dominican Republic should be introduced;

The United States should liberalize immigration policies toward Haitians, including the reunification of the families of medical evacuees, a re-designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians who arrived after January 12, 2010, and humanitarian parole for Haitian family members who have been approved for a U.S. visa but await a priority date;

Efforts should be increased to protect children and women along the Haiti-Dominican Republic border to minimize the incidence of human trafficking; and
U.S. interdiction policies toward Haitians should include proactive asylum screening; the United States should urge the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas to cease deportations of Haitians until the recovery and reconstruction of Haiti progresses and new homes are built or identified.

Archbishop Wenski and other members of the delegation, which included Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, Maria Odom, executive director of CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.), Mary DeLorey, strategic issues advisor for Catholic Relief Services, and staff from the USCCB offices of Migration and Refugees Services and International Justice and Peace, made a plea for the international community not to forget Haiti.

“The United States and the international community must re-focus their attention on Haiti to help ensure that the Haitian people maintain hope and that the situation in Haiti does not deteriorate,” the archbishop said. “This includes ensuring that needed recovery and reconstruction funds are delivered and used properly; that civil society is included in planning efforts, and, importantly, that Haitian families are reunited and vulnerable Haitians, such as children, receive protection.”

He added that “The United States must work with [Haiti’s] neighboring countries, such as the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas” and “must revisit U.S. migration policies, so that Haitians are not returned to Haiti prematurely and that families are kept together.”

Full report can be found at:

"It's Just a Matter of Money"

Photo by John Carroll

Haiti still waiting for pledged US aid

By JONATHAN M. KATZ and MARTHA MENDOZA (AP) – 17 hours ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Nearly nine months after the earthquake, more than a million Haitians still live on the streets between piles of rubble. One reason: Not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived.

The money was pledged by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March for use this year in rebuilding. The U.S. has already spent more than $1.1 billion on post-quake relief, but without long-term funds, the reconstruction of the wrecked capital cannot begin.

With just a week to go before fiscal 2010 ends, the money is still tied up in Washington. At fault: bureaucracy, disorganization and a lack of urgency, The Associated Press learned in interviews with officials in the State Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the White House and the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy. One senator has held up a key authorization bill because of a $5 million provision he says will be wasteful.

Meanwhile, deaths in Port-au-Prince are mounting, as quake survivors scramble to live without shelter or food.

"There are truly lives at stake, and the idea that folks are spending more time finger-pointing than getting this solved is almost unbelievable," said John Simon, a former U.S. ambassador to the African Union who is now with the Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank.

Nor is Haiti getting much from other donors. Some 50 other nations and organizations pledged a total of $8.75 billion for reconstruction, but just $686 million of that has reached Haiti so far — less than 15 percent of the total promised for 2010-11.

The lack of funds has all but halted reconstruction work by CHF International, the primary U.S.-funded group assigned to remove rubble and build temporary shelters. Just 2 percent of rubble has been cleared and 13,000 temporary shelters have been built — less than 10 percent of the number planned.

The Maryland-based agency is asking the U.S. government for $16.5 million to remove more than 21 million cubic feet of additional rubble and build 4,000 more temporary houses out of wood and metal.

"It's just a matter of one phone call and the trucks are out again. We have contractors ready to continue removing rubble. ... We have local suppliers and international suppliers ready to ship the amount of wood and construction materials we need," said CHF country director Alberto Wilde.

"It's just a matter of money."

Last week the inaction bore tragic results. On Friday an isolated storm destroyed an estimated 8,000 tarps, tents and shacks in the capital and killed at least six people, including two children. And the threat of violence looms as landowners threaten entire camps with forced eviction.

In Washington there is confusion about the money. At a July hearing, Ravij Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, thanked members of Congress for approving the funds, saying, "The resources are flowing and are being spent in country."

It wasn't true then, and still hasn't happened.

When the earthquake hit, U.S. agencies sent troops, rescuers, aid workers and supplies to the devastated capital, Port-au-Prince. On March 24, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $2.8 billion in emergency aid to Haiti — about half to pay back money already spent by USAID, the Defense Department and others. An additional $212 million was to write off debt.

The heart of the request was $1.15 billion in new reconstruction funds.

A week later, Clinton touted that figure in front of representatives of 50 nations at the U.N. secretariat, the president of Haiti at her side.

"If the effort to rebuild is slow or insufficient, if it is marked by conflict, lack of coordination or lack of transparency, then the challenges that have plagued Haiti for years could erupt with regional and global consequences," Clinton said.

That was nearly six months ago. It took until May for the Senate to pass a supplemental request for the Haiti funds and until July for the House to do the same. The votes made $917 million available but did not dictate how or when to spend it. Without that final step, the money remains in the U.S. Treasury.

Then came summer recess, emergencies in Pakistan and elsewhere, and the distractions of election politics.

Now the authorization bill that would direct how the aid is delivered remains sidelined by a senator who anonymously pulled it for further study. Through calls to dozens of senators' offices, the AP learned it was Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma.

"He is holding the bill because it includes an unnecessary senior Haiti coordinator when we already have one" in U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten, Coburn spokeswoman Becky Bernhardt said.

The bill proposes a new coordinator in Washington who would not oversee U.S. aid but would work with the USAID administrator in Washington to develop a rebuilding strategy. The position would cost $1 million a year for five years, including salaries and expenses for a staff of up to seven people.

With the bill on hold, the State Department is trying to move the money along by avoiding Congress as much as possible. It sent lawmakers a "spending plan" on Sept. 20 and gave legislators 15 days to review it. If they fail to act on the plan, the money could be released as soon as specific projects get the OK.

"We need to make sure that the needs of the Haitian people are not sacrificed to procedural and bureaucratic impediments," Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry told the AP by e-mail. "As we approach nine months since the earthquake, further delays on any side are unacceptable."

Asked when the money will actually come, State Department spokesman Charles Luoma-Overstreet said the department expects to start spending in the coming weeks and months. He added that $275 million in "bridge" funds were released in March and have gone toward agriculture, work, health and shelter programs — not long-term reconstruction.

Haitian advocates say that is not enough.

Jean-Claude Bajeuax of the Ecumenical Center for Human Rights in Port-au-Prince said this phase was supposed to be about building semi-permanent houses.

"Where are they? We haven't seen them," he said. "There is not much money that is being used. There is not much work that has actually been done."

Of course there is no guarantee that the money would lead to the successful rebuilding of Haiti. Many past U.S. aid efforts have fallen short.

"I don't think (the money) will make any difference," said Haitian human rights advocate Pierre Esperance. "Haitian people are not really involved in this process."
But officials agree the funds could pay for new approaches to make Haiti more sustainable, and rebuilding projects could improve millions of lives.

The AP found that $874 million of the funds pledged by other countries at the donors conference was money already promised to Haiti for work or aid before the quake. An additional $1.13 million wasn't ever going to be sent; it was debt relief. And $184 million was in loans to Haiti's government, not aid.

The Office of the Special Envoy has been tracking the money delivered so far but does not know who got it. The envoy himself, former President Bill Clinton, told the AP in July and again in August that he was putting pressure on donors to meet their pledges.

On the streets of Haiti, many simply feel abandoned. Mishna Gregoire, 22, said she was happy when she heard about the donors conference. But six months later she is still in a tarp city with 5,000 other people, on a foul-smelling plaza in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville.

"I thought it was something serious they were really going to do," Gregoire said, standing amid tarps torn apart by the sudden storm. "But nothing has been done. And I don't think anything will be done."

Katz reported from Port-au-Prince and Mendoza from Santa Cruz, Calif.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Haitians Never Give Up

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Round Pneumonia?


Elderly cachectic little old lady with a fever and a white count of 29 thousand.

Pleural effusion in left lung and possibly round pneumonia in right lung.

Lung cancer with secondary pneumonia would not be surprising.
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Southern Haiti

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Southern Haiti

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Scabies makes people itch. It is a miserable disease.

Kids sit right in front of you in their mother's lap and keep itching.

How would you like that?

Another disease of poverty.

And if scabies gets infected it can become infected with strep and glomerulonephritis can result.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Haiti is Suffering...

(Photo by John Carroll)

Posted on Sun, Sep. 26, 2010

Inquirer Editorial: Aid to Haiti slow in coming

Of all the things Haiti's earthquake victims are running out of, patience may be the most important.

This destitute country has endured the consequences of revolution and the abuse of dictators. Now it is struggling mightily to recover from the Jan. 12 temblor that left 300,000 dead and more than a million people homeless.

The frustrations of the survivors, many of them recovering from loss of limbs and other injuries, are chronicled in letters placed in suggestion boxes installed at homeless camps by the International Organization for Migration.

"Please, do something," pleaded a woman in one of the letters recently published in the New York Times. "We don't want to die of hunger and also we want to send our children to school."

"I gave birth six months ago, the baby died, I have six other children, they don't have a father, I don't have work, my tarp is torn, the rain panics me, my house was crushed, I don't have money to feed my family, I would really love it if you would help me," said another woman in her letter.

It's not that Haiti is being ignored by the international community, but the assistance it promised isn't coming in as quickly as it should. Donors made a two-year pledge of $5.3 billion for earthquake relief, but the United Nations says only about 18 percent of that has been received.

"I recognize that in many cases the approval of funds needs to go through the legislative process, which can slow things down," World Bank vice president Pamela Cox told the Miami Herald. "However, we echo former President Bill Clinton's call to donors to expedite delivery of funds."

There has been some good donor news for Haiti, but it won't bring immediate relief for the letter writers and others living in tents and other make-do abodes.

In announcements last week, Haitian officials revealed an agreement with the South Korean company Sae-A Trading to build a garment factory expected to employ 10,000 people; and a pact with France and the United States in which each will contribute $25 million to rebuild General University Hospital in Port au Prince. Even in its damaged state, the hospital has been serving thousands of patients since the earthquake. Restoring its electrical systems and replacing equipment are essential to providing basic public health services.

More controversial is the garment plant. Sae-A Trading, which makes clothing for Gap, Banana Republic, Target, Wal-Mart, Levi's, and others, has been criticized for its low wages. But Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has defended the planned factory, saying it will provide "good jobs with fair pay that adhere to international labor standards."

Time will tell whether that will be the case. The concern now is to provide more relief to Haitians. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti released a report Tuesday that said 75 percent of all families had at least one member who went a full day without eating in the past week.

Haiti has been wracked by poverty for so many years that many of those families probably had a hard time getting fed before the earthquake. But that doesn't excuse the tardiness of promised disaster aid by other nations. The need is evident. So, too, should be the assistance.

Thursday, September 23, 2010



This is Christine.

Haitian Hearts brought her to the States for heart surgery when she was about 4 months old.

She had a ventricular septal defect.

My brother and his family gave her a home for many months while she recovered from surgery.

Christine is now a thriving teenager in Les Cayes.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Letters from the Homeless

Photo by John Carroll

Haitians Cry in Letters: ŒPlease ‹ Do Something!¹
The New York Times, By DEBORAH SONTAG, September 19, 2010

CORAIL-CESSELESSE, Haiti ‹ It was after midnight in a remote annex of this
isolated tent camp on a windswept gravel plain. Marjorie Saint Hilaire¹s
three boys were fast asleep, but her mind was racing.

The camp leader had proposed writing letters to the nongovernment
authorities, and she had so much to say. She lighted a candle and summoned a
gracious sentiment with which to begin.

³To all the members of concerned organizations, I thank you first for
feeling our pain,² she wrote slowly in pencil on what became an
eraser-smudged page. ³I note that you have taken on almost all our problems
and some of our greatest needs.²

Ms. Saint Hilaire, 33, then succinctly explained that she had lost her
husband and her livelihood to the Jan. 12 earthquake and now found herself
hungry, stressed and stranded in a camp annex without a school, a health
clinic, a marketplace or any activity at all.

³Please ‹ do something!² she wrote from Tent J2, Block 7, Sector 3, her new
address. ³We don¹t want to die of hunger and also we want to send our
children to school. I give glory to God that I am still alive ‹ but I would
like to stay that way!²

In the last couple of weeks, thousands of displaced Haitians have similarly
vented their concerns, depositing impassioned pleas for help in new
suggestion boxes at a hundred camps throughout the disaster zone. Taken
together, the letters form a collective cri de coeur from a population that
has felt increasingly impotent and ignored.

With 1.3 million displaced people in 1,300 camps, homelessness is the new
normal here. Two recent protest marches have sought to make the homeless a
central issue in the coming presidential campaign. But the tent camp
residents, miserable, weary and in many cases fighting eviction, do not seem
to have the energy to become a vocal force.

When the International Organization for Migration added suggestion boxes to
its information kiosks in scores of camps, it did not expect to tap directly
into a well of pent-up emotions. ³I anticipated maybe a few cranky letters,²
said Leonard Doyle, who handles communications for the organization in Haiti
iti/index.html?inline=nyt-geo> . ³But to my absolute, blow-me-down surprise,
we got 700 letters in three days from our first boxes ‹ real individualized
expressions of suffering that give a human face to this ongoing tragedy.²

In some cases, the letters contain a breathless litany of miseries, a chain
of woes strung together by commas: ³I feel discouraged, I don¹t sleep
comfortably, I gave birth six months ago, the baby died, I have six other
children, they don¹t have a father, I don¹t have work, my tarp is torn, the
rain panics me, my house was crushed, I don¹t have money to feed my family,
I would really love it if you would help me,² wrote Marie Jean Jean.

In others, despair is expressed formally, with remarkable restraint: ³Living
under a tent is not favorable neither to me nor to my children² or ³We would
appreciate your assistance in obtaining a future as one does not appear to
be on our horizon.²

Several writers sent terse wish lists on self-designed forms: ³Name: Paul
Wilbert. Camp: Boulos. Need: House. Demand: $1,250. Project: Build house.
Thank you.²

And some tweaked the truth. Ketteline Lebon, who lives in a camp in the slum
area called Cité Soleil, cannot read or write. She dictated a letter to her
cousin, who decided to alter Ms. Lebon¹s story to say that her husband had
died in the earthquake whereas he had really died in a car accident. ³What
does it matter?² Ms. Lebon said, shrugging. ³I¹m still a widow in a tent
with four kids I cannot afford to send to school.²

At this camp¹s annex, Corail 3, Sandra Felicien, a regal woman whose
black-and-white sundress looks as crisp as if it hangs in a closet, has
become the epistolary queen. An earthquake widow whose husband was crushed
to death in the school where he taught adult education courses, Ms. Felicien
said she wrote letters almost daily because doing so made her feel as if she
were taking action. ³We are so powerless,² she said. ³It is like we are
bobbing along on the waves of the ocean, waiting to be saved.²

Like the hundreds of families around her in Corail 3, Ms. Felicien and her
small son lived first in Camp Fleuriot, a mosquito-infested, flood-prone
marsh where many were feverish with malaria or racked by diarrhea. In July,
they were bused here to the outskirts of this planned settlement, which is
supposed to become a new town someday.

Transitional shelters are being built in this remote spot, and a hundred or
so are completed and stand empty. For the moment, though, the one-room
houses, like the tents beside them, exist in a sun-scorched vacuum beneath
deforested hills. They are surrounded only by latrines, showers and the
information kiosk, with its blackboard, bulletin board and suggestion box.

One afternoon last week, Ms. Felicien settled onto the tarp-covered rocks in
front of her tent ‹ ³my porch² ‹ and used a covered bucket for a writing
desk. She was feeling robust, she said, because a neighbor had just treated
her to what amounted to brunch ‹ a pack of cookies that she had shared with
her son.

She started to recopy the rough draft of a letter that she had written that
morning. She was writing in Creole, although her French is impeccable,
because ³only a Haitian could really understand,² she said.

While she wrote, with a reporter by her side and a photographer taking her
picture, a boisterous crowd from the camp gathered, concerned that she was
getting special attention from foreigners. Their complaints grew so
deafening that she rose to address them, explaining that, in fact, the
particular letter she was writing was not personal but on behalf of all her

Raising her voice to be heard, she read aloud the letter: ³Sept. 14. Today
we feel fed up with the bad treatment in Block 7. Have you forgotten about
us out here in the desert?² The crowd quieted. She continued reading: ³You
don¹t understand us. You don¹t know that an empty bag can¹t stand. A hungry
dog can¹t play.² Other tent camps have health clinics or schools or at least
something to do, she read. ³Why don¹t we have such things? Aren¹t we people,

Heads nodded. The tension dissipated. The crowd dispersed. Ms. Felicien
walked her letter to the kiosk to post it. ³I don¹t know why I keep
writing,² she said. ³To this point they have not responded. It¹s like
screaming into the wind.²

Mr. Doyle said that all the letters are read, some aloud on Radio Guinen,
which broadcasts daily from tent camps as part of an International
Organization for Migration communication program. But the $400,000 program
was intended to give voice to the voiceless and not food to the hungry or
money to the destitute. So unless the writers express a need for protection,
as from rape or abuse by camp leaders, their individual requests are not
likely to be answered.

Told this, Ms. Felicien said, ³Ay yi yi² and shook her head. And then she
posted her letter all the same.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mark Twain


"A discriminating irreverance is the creator and protector of human liberty."

Mark Twain
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Southern Haiti

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Haircut in Haiti

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Cancer in the Developing World

The toll of death and suffering from cancer in developing countries has increased sharply in recent decades. So has the disparity in the allocation of resources for cancer care and control between rich and poor countries.

More than 4 million of the 7.6 million cancer deaths in the world each year now occur in developing countries. The result is a drastic "5/80 disequllibrium" in which only 5 percent of the global resources allocated for cancer go to the developing countries that bear more than 80 percent of the burden of disease.

(Partners in Health Website)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You Have to be Kidding Me...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

In quake-torn Haiti, few answers at presidential debate

Haiti held its second presidential debate ever Saturday, a sparsely attended event that was short on detailed responses from the candidates and disrupted by multiple power blackouts.

During the two-hour televised debate held at a restaurant, only four of 19 candidates seeking to become president in the Nov. 28 election faced off in front of about 40 audience members.

The four gave few specifics about how they would help the nation recover from the January earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people and left more than 1.5 million homeless.

The Western Hemisphere's most impoverished and least developed country has received only a trickle of the $5.3 billion pledged in international aid.

Candidate Gerard Blot asked for a minute of silence for quake victims before his opening remarks, and he encouraged Haitians overseas to become more involved in helping rebuild.

Sen. Jean Hector Anacacis said he would try to revive the National Guard and create a secret service agency that would bolster security and create a safer environment for foreign investors.

Pastor Jean Chavannes Jeune said he wanted a government that would create unity and help solve problems.

Wilson Jeudy, mayor of the city of Delmas east of Port-au-Prince, agreed. "Everyone is tired," he said.

Jeudy continued to speak even as the lights went out for the second time, prompting someone in the audience to yell that he could not be heard.

Audience member Patrick Gorelien, 28, said he was frustrated by the vague responses and disappointed that those who attended had to submit questions in writing instead of addressing the candidates directly.

He said the moderator did not pose his question - How would you lift people out of poverty? - and he was still undecided about who to vote for.

Not present was hip hop artist Wyclef Jean, who was barred from running for president presumably because he failed to meet residency requirements.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gas Gangrene

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Diabetic foot ulcer.

White count is 38 thousand with cellulits extending up leg.

Patient had a below knee amputation two days ago.

Hot Water Burn


Unfortunately a very common problem in Haiti.
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Septic Baby Gets Better and Goes Home!!


Good news in southern Haiti.
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Charles Needs His Heart Fixed


Charles has tight pulmonary stenosis with a right ventricular-pulmonary artery pressure gradient of 124 mm Hg.

This is a very fixable lesion, maybe even in the cath lab.

Haitian Hearts will bring him to the States and return him to Haiti. I know just where he lives.

Any takers?

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Southern Haiti

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Southern Haiti

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Southern Haiti


This hardy lady was born 100 years before Papa Doc became "president for life" of Haiti.

What would Elenioe think of her Haiti today?
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Sunday, September 12, 2010



This is 13 year old Thems.

Haitian Hearts brought him to the States in 2002 and he had heart surgery for a ventricular septal defect and a subaortic membrane.

Thems stayed with Wendy and her family and says hi to her.

He is doing great.
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Haitians Have Bad Teeth

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More basic health care neglect leads to this and more serious dental problems.

New Haitian Hearts Patient


This is Naika.

Naika is 7 years old and has a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).

This congenital heart defect routes blood from her aorta back to her lungs where it just came from. So this is not good because it is hard on her lungs and her left heart stretches due to volume overload.

Her heart functions well besides this.

Naika needs her PDA closed with a device to occlude it or an open procedure to tie it off.

Any one interested in helping her?
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