"Friends of Haiti (FoH), Green Bay, Inc. began sending medical
teams to Thomazeau, Haiti in March 2001. Thomazeau is both a
large town of 5,000 as well as an area of 55,000. It
encompasses both a valley, which is hot and humid, and the
mountains, which get pleasantly cool at night. Initially, FoH
remained in the town of Thomazeau at St. Anne's Parish, with which
it was twinned, by the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas
(Nashville, TN). Now, FoH travels to Thomazeau, and in to
several mountain villages (Mahotiere, Noyau, Denigon, Montalais,
Grand Boulage, and Mourne Boulage), two times a year. FoH
also has a dental service which has been active since 2008.
In 2010 FoH began taking care of most of the surgical needs of our
In March 2001 FoH sent 23 people on the initial medical
trip. The volunteers were from the Green Bay, WI area.
Now FoH sends 60 or more people on each medical trip. These
volunteers come from Green Bay, WI, Olympia, WA, Baltimore, MD,
Tucson, AZ, and Billings, MT. A significant group of
Haitian-American nurses (through HANA - The Haitian American Nurses
Association) and doctors come from the Miami - Ft. Lauderdale area
of FL. The surgical teams are much smaller in size due to
space limitations at Double Harvest in Croix des Bouquets, a suburb
of Port au Prince.
Double Harvest (DH) is a Baptist organization in Oberlin,
OH. DH started working in Haiti about 28 years ago. DH
began as a school and church (harvest the mind and soul) and a farm
(harvest the land), hence the name Double Harvest. DH also
had a small medical clinic to take care of its people and the local
Haitians. The clinic was remodeled about 13 years ago to
include 2 full operating rooms, and a minor surgery room. FoH
has partnered with Double Harvest to take care of some of their
patients as well as ours. FoH has also started working with
the local officials, doctors, and nurses in Thomazeau in hopes of
initiating a constant medical presence in the mountains.
Currently we support a nurse in the mountains at Denigon. She
is there 3 days a week and cares for chronic and minor
problems. For acute problems, she is in contact with the
Haitian doctors in Thomazeau.
FoH supports the Haitian economy by buying some supplies and
medications in Haiti. We use 4c's and Propholab pharmacies in
Port au Prince as well as a private entrepreneur for many of our
needs. This practice helps to cut down on FoH's shipping from
the US, which occurs twice a year. Shipping one cubic foot
FoH cares for approximately 6,000 medical patients, 300 dental
patients, and 60 surgical patients on each trip. The dental
team also provides fluoride varnish for many of the orphanage and
school children where we work. The patients are tough people
often walking hours to be seen. They are always very
The most common medical illnesses that we encounter are
infections, dysentery, hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition,
reflux, worms, malaria, and general aches and pains. The
dentists pull many rotten teeth, although they have done a few
restorations recently. Common surgical procedures are
hysterectomies, hernias, hydroceles, and lumps and bumps.
One of my favorite stories is that of a woman we saw in
Montalais, which is the most remote mountain town to which FoH
travels. It is a rugged 9 mile hike from the main road.
The lady came to Montalais because of a large benign tumor hanging
from her axilla (armpit). It weighed 20 to 25 pounds.
She had to tuck it in her dress and strap it to her chest just to
be able to walk and function at home. FoH got her to Double
Harvest to be seen by the surgical team. Our general surgeon
excised the mass. The following morning at 7:30 am the
patient was dressed and ready to travel home. She could not
hold her arm at her side due to the pain of the 6 inch incision,
but she had a smile from ear to ear. Her life was going to be
better and she hugged us all as she walked out the door.
Fund raising and participation on the board and committees are
always needed. Our overhead is about 3%, so almost all of
every donation goes to help the Haitian people. All the
members of FoH are volunteers and they have given countless hours
of help, both in the US and Haiti, over the years. FoH can
never thank all those who have helped. Nevertheless, FoH can
always use more help. If you would like to get involved
please contact us.
Since FoH has been going to Thomazeau many of the Haitian people
have begun to consider us their doctors and nurses. Their
health is a little better and their desperation a little
less. These are just a few reasons FoH continues to return
and work in Haiti."
Friends of Haiti is a
501(c)(3) non-profit organization
PO Box 1174 | Green Bay, WI 54305 |