Asheville’s Haiti connection: Mission MANNA’s medical team preps for Day 6

Friday morning, Oct. 23:

The team has returned from its two-day trek into the mountains to see several hundred kids at four remote clinics. Today, the last day of clinics, will be spent in town.

Dr. Derek Dephouse reports that it rained most of last night. And returning from the mountains, they encountered mud bogs on way down, but these were not a problem for their rental vehicles, which, he notes, “are crucial to get our job done.”

In the video below, shot last year at the Piyat clinic, Dephouse briefly explains the goals of Mission MANNA’s twice-annual medical visits:

Commenting on yesterday’s clinics, Dephouse says, “This poor child has Kwashiorkor, a form of malnutrition. He has swelling of his face, arms and legs because of the type of protein-calorie malnutrition. We also are seeing kids with Marasmus, a wasting form of malnutrition. We hope to add more children in our feeding program to be able to prevent this sad disease. The AK-1000 (akamil) Mission MANNA provides greatly helps these kids.”

“As we were seeing these kids yesterday, I felt so sorry for them,” Dephouse recalls. “They did not choose to be born in Haiti. They are unfortunate. They deserve better than this.”

Ironically, Todd Kaderabek, who is Mission MANNA’s point person in Asheville, notes that he wasn’t able to make a doctor’s appointment for his 12-year-old because, he says, “Her doctor is unavailable today; he’s in … Piyat, Haiti.”

Meanwhile, in between relaying Dephouse’s comments from Haiti, Todd give details on the turkey-attack incident he mentioned briefly in yesterday’s Asheville-Haiti connection report: “A couple of years ago, Greg and I were hiking ahead of the group on the way out of Piyat clinic. We got to the point where we had left vehicles and were chatting with locals (there’s a small school there on the trail). They had this big tom turkey strutting around and just as Greg and I were discussing why they don’t eat him, he comes out from behind the fenced-in area, full feather display and charges us. I have on Teva sandals, so I get airborne quickly and he passes by us and continues to strut about. Couple of minutes later, here he comes again so Greg and I jump in the Jeep and the turkey is trying to flap his way up to us, so we end up on the roll bar. Thankfully the bird’s owner showed up and got him under control. The Haitians were laughing hysterically as did the rest of our group who showed up just in time to miss the attack. Moral of the story: In the presence of a Haitian turkey, don’t wonder aloud as to why he hasn’t been eaten.”

And recalling yesterday’s graphic photo of the injured and bleeding child, Todd says, “This is not sensationalism but reality in Haiti. What we survive here, they often don’t in Haiti.”

Another Mission MANNA doctor, Ora Wells talks here about what the project means to him and why he keeps coming back year after year. This video was taken during one of last year’s two Haiti trips.


David Bourne, who shot the two videos above, talks in this clip about Haitian music’s universal power to connect us.

If you’d like to assist Mission Manna’s efforts in Haiti, you can find out more or make an online donation at You can also help Mission Manna by purchasing a pumpkin at Grace Episcopal Church’s pumpkin sale, on Merrimon Avenue through Oct. 31.

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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6 thoughts on “Asheville’s Haiti connection: Mission MANNA’s medical team preps for Day 6

  1. bt

    Great series. the embedded short videos made it really easy to connect with this project. thanks

  2. Jeff Fobes

    I’m wondering what other Asheville grassroots connections there are with Haiti. With all our area’s enthusiasm for green building, permaculture, alternative energy projects, I would think there might be other groups doing work in Haiti — and if not, then mightn’t Asheville be fertile soil for getting something started?

    Coupled with Mission MANNA’s medical assistance, the effects of and resultant cultural exchanges from other sorts of projects in the Montrouis area might be pretty exciting.

  3. Jeff Fobes

    One suggestion just came up on Twitter:
    @missionMANNA tweeted: “Eddy has confirmed that jatropha (GWOMETSIYEN) does indeed grow in Montrouis. Intriguing possibilities.”

    Wikipedia says jatropha is tropical succulent plant that is “resistant to drought and pests, and produces seeds containing 27-40% oil… The remaining press cake of jatropha seeds after oil extraction could also be considered for energy production.”

    Possibilities …

  4. tatuaje

    I fully support this mission to Haiti and the MX’s coverage of it.

    But I must say it is seriously cluttering the twitter feed on the main page.

  5. Jeff Fobes

    Tatuaje: Our webmaster has been looking into the idea of temporary Twitter-feed windows — for breaking and/or intense-activity threads — to accommodate this sort of thing.

  6. bt

    It would seem like a solar water heater would be useful on a clinic, or some photovoltaics out in the country side and would be a worthwhile focus to add on to the mission mission.

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