Today would have normally been the ‘month’s mind” memorial mass for myself, thirty days after my death.
It is sobering to think about it.
I was in a bad accident that could easily have caused my death.
The care that I then received was phenomenal, and it was packaged in such concern, hospitality, prayer and care that it was almost impossible not to get better!
One of the first things I thought about during my recovery was, how sad it is that so many people around the world have no access such gracious and professional care, because of their poverty. And of how desperate I would have felt, if I had been left alone in my tragedy.
This made me determined to work even 5 times harder on returning to Haiti, to make this kind of care happen for the poor.
On returning to Haiti, there were three enormous challenges to this dream that I faced right away:
- The heavy rainy reason (and hurricane season) both started, with the spread of cholera and other dangerously dehydrating diseases ;
- The two governments hospitals in Port au Prince have been on strike, and many more patients are coming to us, in very bad shape, than we can possible help.
- Our very last support for our cholera and rehydration centers was suddenly reduced because of fundraising deficits.
My recent accident, which was a threat to my life, only highlighted for me a lifelong tendency, the determination to relieve human suffering, especially of those whose lack of resources, no matter what the obstacles.
Over the past few days, I launched an informal appeal for $250,000 to help us manage the patients with cholera that still come to us, six years after the epidemic began, and the new cases that will be coming with the heavy rains. This money will be used this way:
-10% to invest in removing standing water from the rains, in areas where we work in Cite Soileil and Wharf Jeremy, to reduce the risk of cholera;
-20% to invest in water purification tablets, soap and chlorox in the communities where we work, to aid in prevention of cholera;
-50% to keep our redyration centers (cholera and other diarrheal illnesses) functioning for the next 12 months;
-20% in order to expand capacity as needed and share IV fluids and other materials with clinics in the Provinces that call for help.
I AM PLEASED THAT OF THIS GOAL OF $250,000, WE HAVE ALREADY REACHED $175,000.
Our formal and public appeal is for the balance: $75,000.
Last night at 10pm, I raced to a nearby city with an 84 year old woman in respiratory distress, and her family.
There was no room for her at our St Luke hospital, which running over capacity because of the public hospital strikes.
The family begged that we take her, even if on the floor.
The floor is not the problem, it is the strained services: last night for example, we did not have any way to supply her with oxygen. All tanks and tank connectors were in full use.
I was able to put her into the private hospital of a friend. I will worry about related debts later. I could sleep last night with easy breathing rather than tormented turning, because I knew this grandmother (Lucille) was in great hands.
In addition to the balance for the cholera, we are trying to raise an additional $150,000 to help us find the best care for these people who are desperate for help, coming from hospitals on strike, but surpass our capacity. With these funds we can pay for their care at other private centers and find ways to open more rooms than our ordinary budget permits.
So the total appeal: $75,000 balance for welcoming and caring for people with cholera, and $150,000 for welcoming and caring for those falling between the cracks of a public health on the skids.
We are glad for any contribution you might make to this appeal for a total of $225,000.
Forwarding this message to someone who might be able to help, is itself a generous contribution.
Donations can be made by visiting the St Luke Foundation website:
I wish for you God’s blessing.
I give you my best personal regards.
Fr Rick Frechette