Saturday, December 29, 2007

Starthrower Food program, illness update from Cap-Haitien, Haiti

Season's Greetings, Everyone!

Sorry about the hiatus from connecting with all of you. I went back to Dr. B yesterday for more blood work. Typhoid did not respond to first round of antibiotics and I also have malaria. I don't need to worry about lack of appetite as I am filling up on meds.

Sorry to anyone waiting email replies -- working electricity does not [coincide with] my sporadic bursts of energy. Also, the same neighbour had AGAIN (3rd time ) branched into our hydro line, meaning nothing here worked effectively -- computers, iron, coffee maker, toaster.

Both Auguste and Carmen also saw Dr. B. again. Auguste has strep throat and UTI, and Carmene has malaria and gastric ulcer. Jack returned yesterday after nearly 3 weeks absence, still no diagnosis so the folks in Sen Rafayel treated him for everything, Did the same to Marlene. I think next time Auguste and Carmen will take advantage of the offer to see Dr. B here at the expense of the Fondasyon. Everyone is weak and wan.

Took Erzilia to see Dr. B also. Somehow, we must find the money to send the really ill to him, as the clinics are understaffed and overworked thereby making serious mistakes. Erzilia was diagnosed with typhoid and treated with chloroquine, which is used for malaria. I had no energy to go and talk to the clinic staff, and they were on short hours anyway due to holiday. I asked Erzilia not to start the meds and then Dr. B and his lab diagnosed her with tyohoid, intestinal parasites and a fungal infection. She is finally receiving proper treatment but has been unable to work for the last 3 weekends, leaving the load to Dieugrand and Rosenie. Proper diagnosis and treatment the first time could have shortened duration.

Currently, just in Cap-Haitien, we have 8 cases of malaria, 5 typhoid, 12 anemic, 4 fungal skin infections, 6 UTI. I haven't heard from Sen Rafayel yet. We've started distributing potable water from the 5 gallon jugs we buy. Using any gallon container we can find and sterilize.

We're still trying to clean up the storm damage to house as well as storm damage to kids. This rise in illnesses always follows a storm, no matter what it is called.

Gaby and Jean Ricot recovered from malaria. (Gaby needed 3 rounds of meds) They have been working part time helping fill the void created by Jack's absence.

Afraid energy gone again -- headache is back but neck not as sore and stiff. With illness here in Haiti, one does not take to one's bed but works on, with the exception of those who go 'en deyo' (to the countryside) as Jack and Marlene chose to do.

Housing continues to be a challenge. John Charlees is the latest to be put out of his 'ti kay' (home). As of yesterday, we had received 340 visitors asking for help in December alone. Staff were off Monday p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, but the students kept coming as the illnesses are significant.

[Visitor] arriving January 1 till January 15. If I am in good shape in a few weeks, I will head to Charlotte, NC for a fundraiser Jan. 17-22, stopping in Ft Lauderdale on return to purchase house supplies. This will coincide with the Haiti visa requirements as well.

Customs officials at the docks have ended their strike, however they will not begin work until Jan 7th. Supplies I sent Nov. 19 are still floating on a boat somewhere. No idea if or when they will arrive as the Haitian government has changed all regulations for passing customs plus have upped all the prices for all services in order to pay an international debt of several million Euros.

A warm 'thank you' to visitors from New Jersey, North Carolina and Colorado. The vitamins, protein bars and powder, Ensure drinks etc., have all been distributed, meaning everyone has enough for the month of January. Thanks to donations from the USA, the UK, and Canada, we have doubled the amount of food being distributed (meaning more staff also). Have also begun to distribute 'chabon' (charcoal) for cooking. One of our girls (Paulaine) literally danced for joy when she saw the increased food.

Have also begun distributing funds for shoes for second term, which is set to begin January 7 (or in some cases, Jan 14th) Hygiene products for 2nd trimeste were distributed last week with food sacks.

Plis pi ta


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