Our first introduction was to Baby Ralph – brought in a few days before this picture was taken, his mother died when he was five days old. At five months old he arrived at the We Advance Little Yellow Clinic in Cite Soleil – weak, flacid, and horribly malnourished (fed only flour and water for five months), Maeve was not sure he would make it. For three days she carried him with her every day, feeding him formula and sending home nightly feedings with the family caring for him.
We had originally arrived to distribute donated soccer balls and sporting equipment (thanks Dawson College, Montreal, Canada!) and teach dental hygiene classes with P.J. Pitts from MRE.
I really love working for MMRC and watching LP do what he can to make it happen.
It was a long hot day. I was the demonstrator for the dental hygiene classes – don’t think I have brushed my teeth so much in one day (I will save you the time and not publish the pictures), MMRC volunteers played soccer with the kids from Cite Soleil – it was all good.
The elephant in the room (for me), was that across the street was Cite Soleil.
Wikipedia describes it well:
Cité Soleil is an extremely impoverished and densely populated commune located in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area in Haiti. Cité Soleil originally developed as a shanty town and grew to an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 residents, the majority of whom live in extreme poverty. The area is generally regarded as one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere and it is one of the biggest slums in the Northern Hemisphere. The area has virtually no sewers, stores, electricity, health care facilities or schools. For several years until 2007, the area was ruled by a number of gangs, each controlling their own sectors.
I have never in my life seen such poverty or desperate living conditions.Equally curious and afraid, I wanted to visit but was concerned about respect for the residents. When Maeve asked us if we wanted to tour and meet the people, we jumped at the chance. I have many pictures, but am disappointed that none capture the extremity and intensity of the community.
She visited the sick, knew their names, played with the children, and managed an impromptu community meeting where she praised the residents for the courage and for their respect and care of each other. She stated that Cite Soleil was one of her favorite places on earth, where she had chosen to make her life, that she expected them to continue to take care of each other, of her, and in return she would help take care of them.
It was an amazing meeting and I felt honored to bear witness.
We returned to our compound tired but inspired. It was difficult for us to receive a request 72 hours later to provide emergency transfer for Baby Ralph to Project Medishare with severe lung infection and suspected HIV. MMRC nurses, Laura Brown, Micaela Thiessen, and Heather Richards are working shifts at Medishare this week and report that he is doing much better.
My time in Haiti is difficult to describe. Three steps forward, two steps back; one step forward.
And so we continue.
Thank you Maeve, for everything. Call us if you need us.
MMRC Haiti operates with only 100% private donations and never charges for service or goods.
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MMRC and our countless volunteers depend on ongoing private donations to continue their vital work in Haiti. MMRC Haiti provides medical supply and logistics to medical teams and field hospitals on the ground in Port au Prince. Paul and his team are also dedicated to several orphanages that could not survive without your generosity.
Updates on the work provided by Little Paul and MMRC Haiti are continuously updated on this website; please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have questions about the use of your donated funds.
Haiti Medical Aid Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, has generously offered their organization as a fiscal agent to MMRC Haiti. As such, 100% of your donations are tax deductible in the U.S.