Wednesday, July 7, 2010

HAITI ORPHANAGE UPDATE

Several years ago a group of us who attend St. Mary Convent services here on the bluff raised money to aid the Sisters of the Community of St. Mary in their mission to the Faith-Hope-Love Rescue orphanage in Port au Prince, Haiti. With the funds raised, the Sisters bought and took a water purifier to the orphanage and supplied medical items, refurbished some of the orphanage rooms, and made repairs where needed. A year later, we began to raise funds for a second mission; however, when the earthquake struck, the Sisters immediately sent their funds to the Episcopal Relief Fund to help victims of the earthquake.

Since that time, we have had several updates about the orphanage, the most hopeful one being that the children in this orphanage survived the disaster. The latest news came a few days ago from the director of the orphanage, along with a plea for supplies and help. The children at the orphanage have chicken pox! Almost half of the children there, a nanny’s daughter, and their cook have had chicken pox. One of the young girls, Rosa, has HIV, and the case of pox was more severe for her. She still has not fully recovered. On July 4, other children broke out with the disease, and the director asked for our prayers.

On the more positive side, the orphanage received a new generator from Somebody Cares America and Union County Baptist Association in South Carolina. The orphanage also acquired a new double cab, 4WD, diesel truck and new beds for the children.

Alas, both refrigerators in the orphanage stopped working, and the director was forced to use food money to buy acyclovir. Care for thirty children always brings new demands, and Dorothy Pearce, the director, reports that current needs include:

  • Pediasure (the formula designed to be the sole food for a tube-fed child)
  • Infant formula, milk based with iron
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Whole house water filtration system to filter water as it leaves the cistern and before it reaches the faucets to supply fifteen to twenty gallons of water per day
  • Erythromycin suspension to treat an outbreak of staph infections
  • Acyclovir for children with chickenpox
  • A propane refrigerator
For those of you who attended the poetry reading in New Iberia, LA that featured children from the orphanage, Gertie and Lovensky images, while Darrell Bourque and I read poems dedicated to them, the news is that Gertie (Darrell’s poem featured her) is now back with her family, and Lovensky (about whom I read a poem) died.

Children in Haiti still need help, and if you'd like to make a donation for the orphanage’s needs, Sister Miriam says that the Sisters of St. Mary and a group of volunteers will be returning there in November or March of the following year when they have raised enough funds.

Thank you for your support of this project during the past two years. The pictures in the blog were supplied by Director Dorothy Pearce. The first one is of Rosa who is suffering from chicken pox, and the other is of a worker holding one of the infants in the orphanage. Most of the children at the orphanage are sick or dying.
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