The year 2013 saw some new beginnings for us at NPH Haiti, and also continued to bring us the trials and tribulations that Haiti is well known for. We are still working hard to bring all our post- earthquake programs into financial and structural equilibrium, and we are so grateful for the overwhelming support we receive from around the world, which in time will make this goal achievable. These programs include neonatology, maternity, cholera treatment, the Father Wasson’s Angels of Light (FWAL) home for vulnerable children, and the Don Bosco expansion, which includes residential housing for over 60 students and an increase in our university students to 85.
During the year we were faced with two major challenges. The financial crisis in the developed world still gives us great stress as we strive to meet the budgets for all of our programs. We have been working hard to restructure our programs centralize purchasing, increase usage of digital technology for efficiency – such as our fingerprint time clock for employees, to move significantly toward solar energy, and to train our directors to be more interactive with the accounting office on a weekly basis related to their spending. We will soon have one National Director for our healthcare programs, and another National Director for our children’s homes and child development programs. These efforts have enabled us to stay afloat, and we are hopeful we can make it through 2014 in the same way.
The second major challenge is the mounting social and political instability in Haiti, with calls for the removal of the President, and resulting in frequent and chaotic demonstrations in the street.
One of these huge mobs, not permitted to get any closer to the American Embassy than our hospital gate, erupted into chaos, and the tear gas used against them came into our hospital.
Crime always rises during these turbulent times, and we were its victims when armed thieves beat and robbed Gena Heraty from Ireland, and killed Major Cesar, a loyal 25-year employee and night watchmen at our St. Helene home in Kenscoff. Major gave his life to help Gena, and in civil society and by all religious codes, there is no higher honor than what Major did, giving his life to help someone in danger. We hold Major in our hearts with honor and as a hero.While we are working hard to assure justice in this tragic assault, we also are determined not to let it sour us, discourage us, divert the work of our hands or dampen the love in our hearts for the children who need us. We are working diligently on educating and forming our young adults, preparing them for life once they leave NPH and are faced with living in such a rough world. We hope and pray their generation can manage to change things for the better.
We are thankful that our quality of care is always improving at St. Damien Hospital, thanks to so many international partners that come to teach, train, and work by our sides. We have served over over 22,000 children in hospital pediatric consults and admissions alone, and an additional 4,000 in neonatlogy. Over 800 children have received surgeries and the tuberculosis program has assisted over 1,900 children.
More good news: cholera cases countrywide are decreasing! But we can’t afford to take a back seat in the fight against it, since there are fewer and fewer cholera centers, and serious spikes of the disease with every rain. Our pediatric cholera ward averages over 400 children monthly.
This past October, we had the joy of inaugurating Kay Gabriel, our new adult and child physical therapy center, adjacent to Kay Germaine. Equally joyful, we began construction of the permanent homes for the children of the Fr. Wasson Angels of Light. It will be a wonderful
transition for the children from living in modified shipping containers to a real home.
We pray that the year of grace 2014 might bring, for you and for us, blessings, peace and success, on all of our work done in God’s name. We also pray for strength, patience and wisdom in the face of our many challenges.
God bless you!“
Fr. Rick Frechette, CP