Asheville’s Haiti connection: MissionMANNA medical team heads into the mountains

Wednesday night, Oct. 21: “The Asheville Mission MANNA medical team should be camped 2,500 feet above the Caribbean by now, nestled under the same stars as you, but a world away,” reports @missionMANNA staff member Todd Kaderabek from Asheville. Todd has stayed home in this trip.

“Who knows about connectivity,” he adds.

Prior to leaving for the two-day mountain trek, the team had prepped, doing tasks like filling bags of AK-1000 (akamil) for the mountains. Team doctor Derek Dephouse explained shortly before leaving, “The kids are usually sicker and have greater need, if that is possible. The team is fired up and ready to go.”

His last word was: “Off to the mountains. Last post until tomorrow evening. Two mountain clinics ahead.”

In the two days prior, the first days of clinics, 394 children were treated, two diagnosed with AIDS and one with severe pneumonia, according to Tom Plaut, the coordinator and detail guy for the trip. The team took one child to the regional hospital in St. Marc, to begin an AIDS treatment regimen.
In the accompanying “photo” photo, Dr. Carchman of Mission Hospital evaluates a mother & children in Mission MANNA’s clinic in Sous Bourgne.

“Today we saw kids in the Sous Borgne (‘soo bo’”) clinic,” Dr. Derek Dephouse reported late Tuesday night. “Our community health agents were concerned that this child in our feeding program was infected with HIV. Unfortunately they were right.”

“In Haiti, it is all about knowing people and making connections,” Dephouse said. “We have met a local Haitian doc who is helping us get Briana and Renel treated. And doing your level best, here or there, to change lives. Some days, to save lives.”

The following impressions come from team member Christin Harvey: “Although I’ve heard many stories and seen plenty of pictures, none of that could have prepared me to imagine the things that I have seen in Haiti. It’s impossible for anyone who has been lucky enough. Your imagination can’t even compare to the Haitians reality, guaranteed. The treeless mountains and the ocean are beautiful. But take a drive through Port au Prince and into Montrouis. The level of poverty is stunning and the people are desperate. They are hungry, thirsty and often sick. But they are gorgeous and hopeful. Tomorrow we will go into the mountains and I’m sure there will be many more beautiful people with gorgeous smiles, even amongst the poverty and illness.”

The team, made up of Asheville doctors, nurses and volunteers from Mission MANNA flew to Haiti last Saturday for a weeklong trip, as they do twice yearly, to provide ongoing medical assistance to more than 1,000 kids in need. The team will remain in Haiti this week until Saturday, when they return to Asheville.


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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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