Asheville’s Haiti connection: MissionMANNA’s medical-support project unfolds (Days 1-2)

This past Saturday, a group of Asheville doctors, nurses and volunteers from Mission MANNA flew to Haiti, as they do twice yearly, to provide ongoing medical assistance to more than 1,000 kids in need. Here’s the first installment about their trip, as they prep to leave, worry about getting to their destination safely, arrive in the capital, are forced to travel difficult highways after dark to get to their destination, and prepare for the huge amount of work ahead of them in the coming days. This narrative is assembled from twitter messages relayed by @missionMANNA staff member Todd Kaderabek, who stayed home in Asheville this time. The team will remain in Haiti this week until this coming Saturday, when they return to Asheville.

Friday afternoon: Preparing for the trip
Asheville’s Mission Manna sends 2 medical teams each year to Montrouis, Haiti, seeing 1,000+ children, many malnourished. Posterous blog post Oct 16 11:08 pm

Asheville’s Dr. Dephouse packs bags for mission to Haiti. Weight 49.9 lbs He departs AVL Saturday morning with a team of medical specialists and volunteers Oct 16 12:07 pm

Follow Dr. Dephouse’s trip to Haiti. Dephouse is medical director for MissionMANNA. A look at the MissionMANNA team: Facebook page Oct 16 12:19 pm

Where is Montrouis, Haiti? Here’s a brief video showing where AVL’s @missionMANNA team will be flying: Montrouis, Haiti
map video

Saturday morning: Preflight observations
In addition to medical trips to Haiti twice yearly, @MissionMANNA also provides food, supplements, vitamins and medical care Oct 17 9:23:00 am

@MissionMANNA says: We keep a tight international focus; we work exclusively in Haiti. Oct 17 10:31:00 am

Dr. Dephouse’s traditional breakfast prior to departing for Haiti…. Oct 17 10:34:00 am

Haiti is the developing country situated closest to Asheville. We figure our best use of local resources [is to help them] Oct 17 1:12 pm

RT@FoodForThePoor: Haiti food crisis has risen in Haiti: 1 in 8 children under age 5 dies of malnutrition. Oct 17 1:14 pm

Dr. Dephouse will depart Miami 3:10p, and arrive Port au Prince, Haiti, 4:19p. So close, yet so far — a world apart Oct 17 3:26 pm

After landing, he and the team must clear customs, rent car, drive to Montrouis (which is on the coast) before dark. Night driving in Haiti is sketchy. Oct 17 4:01 pm

Those who have been know the culture shock induced by that short, 70-minute flight. Miami & Haiti: 2 different worlds Oct 17 4:02 pm

The departure
4:19pm: Dr. Dephouse’s plane has not left Miami. “It’s not looking good,” Dephouse says. “We are looking at a dark drive into Montrouis” Oct 17 6:58 pm

Dephouse: Dark drive on the “Highway to Hell” is looking like best case now. We rent safe vehicles, take it slow and careful. Not ideal, but that’s Haiti. Oct 17 7:00 pm

5pm: Wheels up! American Airlines Flight Status Update DEPARTED MIA 4:41 PM ARRIVING PAP 5:39 PM Oct 17 7:03 pm

Typical day for us in Haiti, says Dephouse, is as follows: Get in late tonight. Optional (but interesting) will be an Episcopal service tomorrow (Sunday) morning. Oct 17 7:04 pm

They’ll prep for clinics tomorrow, organize translators, tap taps, sort meds … Conduct a possible orphanage clinic. Oct 17 7:06 pm

Sunday night: Go for a swim, get some rest.

Monday: breakfast at 7, Montrouis clinic at 9am-3pm; Break, then Subois clinic Oct 17 7:08 pm

Tues schedule: Load trucks for mountains. Be in Iviore at 11am, treat 300+/- kids, pack up, cross mountain to Fond Baptiste, pitch tents. Oct 17 7:41 pm

Tuesday continued: We’ll need to get up at 4am, clinic starts early. There’s a great need in the mountains; treat 500+ kids, pack up, trek back down mountain for much needed rest & a beer. Oct 17 7:43 pm

Friday is usually a follow-up day when we try to see as many kids as possible, catch any stragglers, then pack up for our Saturday flight out of Port au Prince (PAP) Oct 17 8:18 pm

That’s the condensed version, but in other words, everybody works their tails off, no complaining, lots of compassion. Oct 17 8:19 pm

Dephouse has arrived at Port au Prince airport. There’s only one vehicle, but we need two!

Dephouse: After about 45 minutes, another vehicle arrived & we were off to Montrouis. A long day but all are in good spirits! Oct 18 2:33 pm

Dephouse: Le Xaragua even had food waiting for us (Le Xaragua is a place we stay). A late night meal in Haiti is rare. Oct 18 2:34 pm

1:45p, Dephouse: We plan to unpack meds, set up a remote pharmacy, set up the Monday clinic & take a tour of area. Oct 18 2:36 pm

Dephouse: “Many improvements on the road from PAP to here. Only about 100 pot holes now” Oct 18 2:37 pm

Dephouse: “We were greeted by Eddy, Givenaud & Mario at airport. No problem with customs thanks to Jean Vanel, who was ready & waiting.” Oct 18 2:37 pm

A Video about how Haitian migrants risk their lives to leave Haiti: al jazeera article Oct 18 2:39 pm

A twitter message from @wyclef: GoodMorning from Haiti. I just took this photo of where I’m at: Beautiful! Oct 18 2:53 pm

“Haiti used to be the richest colony in the New World,” sez “Now it’s the most deforested” article Oct 18 2:55 pm

Dephouse: Look closely at this photo. It shows a former North Carolina Public School bus in Haiti! Oct 18 8:22 pm

Meanwhile, back in Asheville, “We sold nearly $400 worth of Haitian art and pumpkins at Grace Episcopal Church on Merrimon Avenue today for in support of our Haiti mission,” says @missionMANNA, adding: “See you next Sunday from 10 am to noon, for more pumpkins and art on sale.” Oct 18 8:22 pm

Dephouse: We spent the day organizing our pharmacy, pouring akamil into bags & planning for tomorrow. photo Oct 18 8:23 pm

Dephouse: “We are famous!” In Montrouis anyway…. photo Oct 18 8:23 pm

Dephouse: “Then they humbled us in a game of soccer! There are lots of Asheville-donated soccer balls in Montrouis!” Oct 18 8:25 pm

Dephouse: Then we gave physicals to the orphans at House of Bread; we’ve been seeing these boys for five years, since they first entered the orphanage. Oct 18 8:25 pm

Dephouse: Great Asheville-based team this year: We have 3 pediatricians, 1 nurse practitioner, 3 nurses, 1 young adult & 2 teens. Oct 18 8:26 pm

Here’s a story about from a former “restavek” (“stays with”) child who shares the methods he uses to end child slavery in Haiti. Oct 18 8:28 pm

Message from from Tom Plaut, professor at Mars Hill College, who is also on the trip this time: “We’re here at the Xaragua after a late night trip from Port au Prince. This year’s crew includes: Derek Dephouse, MD; Robert Errico, MD; and a medical partner of Derek’s. The crewOct 18 8:31 pm

Plaut continues: Also with us are: Nicolas, son of Robert; Becca Carchman, MD; Sandy List, FNP; Hayley, granddaughter of Sandy, Robin Clark, RN; Claire Fifer, RN; Valerie Pulsier, RN; Christin Harvey; Val’s daughter; and me, Tom Plaut, the coordinator and detail guy for the trip. These are all Asheville-area locals taking time (& money) out of their lives to help in Haiti. Hats off! Oct 18 8:34 pm

Stay tuned for more, as the MissionMANNA team continue their work this week in Haiti.






































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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