Asheville’s Haiti connection: Mission MANNA returns from the mountains (Day 5)

The medical team has returned from its two-day trek, reports Todd Kaderabek, Mission MANNA’s point person in Asheville.  “The Asheville team is off mountain and back in Montrouis,” says Todd. “Looks like it was rough. They happened upon a rollover injury.”

Thursday evening, Oct. 22:
Dr. Derek Dephouse reports, “Many malnourished kids. It was Haiti 911 when we arrived. Very tragic.”

“This little boy was found by the Mission Manna team after the truck he was riding in rolled off mountain road on the outskirts of Fond Baptiste,” explains Team member Tom Plaut. “He is a child worker and the sole supporter of his mother and siblings. He was treated by four of our doctors after one of them helped local villagers carry him a mile to our clinic site. He still may die, given the lack of opportunities for continuing care. His survival, which would not have been in question in the US, would have been doubtful if we had not happened along. “
“For me this is an Easter photo,” Plaut laments. “Poverty, hunger — and a lack of caring by a wealthy country just a few hundred miles away — crucify Haiti’s young people every day. Consider Haiti!”
Plaut adds: “Extreme malnutrition at Fond Baptiste was a reminder of need to expand the Village Health Worker program to the mountains. The program has demonstrated success in increasing heights and weights of children cared for over the past 18 months.”

Thinking about Friday:
Thinking about tomorrow, Todd says, “The team should be back in Montrouis for supper and we’ll have more then. Thanks for all the support this week. Fond Baptiste [where the team stayed last night] at night is as dark as darkness can be. Sun sets, total blackout. We often leave our flashlights behind.”

Tomorrow, says Plaut, “We hike into our last clinic, at Piyat, having already seen 965 children in four different clinic sites.

The video below, “Consider Haiti,” was shot by David Bourne (@Bournemedia) in Piyat. 

Let’s ID the Asheville folks in the video, Todd writes:
Dr. Derek Dephouse is in the white (gray) T-shirt, with beard.
Tom Plaut is in the green/khaki shirt, gray hair.
Greg Hilderbran is in the Nation’s Bank T-shirt.
Todd Kaderabek (me) is in the white T-shirt, green shorts.
Rachel Stewart in lavender shirt.
Jean Robert Dorsanvil, co-founder of Mission Manna, is in the white and blue striped soccer jersey.
And of course, David Bourne (@bournemedia) was behind the camera.

“Note the light load on blans,” says Todd. [Editor’s note: “Blans” is Haitian for white folks]. “Haitian women carried packs on their heads, hiked in front with Greg & me. That’s watercress growing in the spring up there. Water not potable, however.”

“This was also the day that Greg & I were attacked by a turkey on the way down the mountain. We had to stand on top of a Jeep to escape the turkey, while the Haitians were rolling on the ground laughing.”

The next video, of a local school adjacent to the Iviore clinic, shows the kids playing with a ball donated by Asheville’s Mission MANNA. Dephouse notes, “No shoes, rocky field, the blans decided to sit this one out! Saw more malnutrition here than anywhere else. Be sure to listen to the local women singing in the background.”

David Bourne — who is in Asheville this time, but who’s traveled with the team to Haiti in the past — adds via Twitter, “The teacher at the Ivoire school is great. I buy his baskets. He was saving for a solar panel so he could work at night.”

Todd, tweeting from Asheville, wraps up the Thursday report: “Today started quite a while ago for the Asheville group. The team members, he says are typically awakened before dawn by the gathering locals.”

He recalls his visits of the past back into the mountains, where this team has just spent the last two days: “We pack up in the pre-dawn darkness, load the trucks with what we don’t need, and set up the clinic. We begin at first light. The Fond Baptiste clinic is fast-paced and generally is when we start to show our fatigue. We counter with humor and pats on backs. Asheville doc Tim Plaut once fought through severe dysentery while treating around 300 patients. Super-hero effort. This clinic is also the only one where we sometimes have to head home before we are done, chasing daylight. It’s heartbreaking. Often the hat is passed and someone is sent to the ‘market’ to purchase food for extremely needy families. Thus the very fast pace.

“Crops often wash away in Haiti’s mountains and severe malnutrition is the result. One year we evacuated a one-day-old child whose mother had died in childbirth. Took her to an orphanage in St. Marc. Fond Baptiste is where @bournemedia was able to record the haunting & inspiring sounds & songs from the local church you hear [on the video ‘Consider Haiti,’ above].”


About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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One thought on “Asheville’s Haiti connection: Mission MANNA returns from the mountains (Day 5)

  1. tank

    Why, are we so worried about the rest of the world?
    We can’t even take care of ourselves.
    I guess vanity does come at a price….stupidity.

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