Friday, February 19, 2010

Tuesday and Wednesday February 16 to 18, 2010

Last night I attended my first Health Cluster meeting - about 25
Participants ranging from smaller ngo's to the WHO', Save the Children, and the Canadian DART team, sat in a large circle under canopy of a UN tent to exchange information about needs and strategize about addressing them. The meeting was chaired by the head of the Red Cross and the minister of health. Tiffany's matrix compilation of the needs and conditions of the health facilities and mobile clinics has become a major planning tool, referenced by all in the region.

Tuesday morning saw the arrival of our prime minister, Stephen Harper. The formality at the airport was only surpassed by the security - all the extra guns were out. He had a quick tour of the city before returning to the airport where he met five of the directors of local ngo's. Tiffany was among them, and of particular interest to the PM because of her coordination effort. Explanations of their work in this region were shared and some needs communicated. There were many official photos taken - to follow.

The afternoon was taken up largely with the usual airport confusion. I, Karen, was tasked with ordering medications and supplies from a Direct Relief International storage facility in Port au Prince - for the entire Jacmel region. There is no orientation for this or stats to guide me. This is a far cry away from ordering for a small clinic in Bod me Limbe. Multiply a Bod me Limbe order by thirty, I was told. My order was so large that it prompted an email of shock from PaP and Tiffany explained the need here which further prompted a visit from the organization to see how they can help us more. Going big worked for us.
Wednesday brought a new member to the HVH coordination project. Marlene, from ,New Orleans, arrived for an orientation on becoming the new coordinator of medical volunteers, in the USA, for our region. Interested volunteers will soon find an easy website to facilitate placement and travel to Jacmel. She is a delight and welcome addition and this service will help Haitians and Americans wonderfully.
We took time to celebrate the birthday of one of our key team members, Cesar, at a late night dinner in a local hotel. Our Haitian team members and friends were most of the party and it was a well deserved treat for all- after weeks without a day off; a gift to Cesar ourselves, and the suffering Haitian economy.
And by day's end, all the medications and supplies ordered from PaP had arrived via huge truck and were snuggly stored in our supply depot. And the email was sent to all the local ngo's to come and shop for free.
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

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