Dos Palais Clinic Update:
Building of the Medical Clinic in Dos Palais is progressing nicely, we invite you to see the progress below:
2013 Ministry Progress Assessment
The Haiti Ministry recently took the time to assess our progress over the past year, and goals for the next year or so. Please take the time to read the attached document
. We are so grateful for the incredible support of our wonderful parish in bringing hope to the people of St. Jean Baptiste parish in Dos Palais. Thank you for all you have enabled us to do together!
Haiti Water Bottle Project
The Haiti Water Bottle Project the weekend of February 8 was a great success! First, a huge thanks to the five groups of home schooling children and their parents who worked to creatively decorate individual water bottles to raise funds for a clean water system for the new health clinic for our sister parish in Dos Palais, Haiti. Second, thanks to the generous parishioners of St. Michael who donated over 1,000 dollars at the sale after all our Masses. Working together, we are responding to our call to “go make a difference in the world!” God bless you all!
Note from Fr. Elizier:
Dear people of St. Michael Catholic Church,
Christmas is the incarnation of the word, the mystery of faith and joy to the whole world. We, the people of Dos-Palais, want to share with you this mystery of faith and Joy. It's why we wish you a "Merry Christmas" 2012 and a "Happy New Year 2013. We love you very much. May Christ, our Lord, fill you with his grace and blessings!
Union of prayers! May Christmas continue to inundate your heart with joy, love and happiness! Again, "Merry Christmas" 2012 and Happy New Year 2013!
Fr. Elizier DORESCAT for The people of Dos-Palais.
What is Twinning?
St. Michael parish is twinned with St. Jean-Baptiste parish in Dos-Palais, Haiti, as part of the Diocese of Richmond's twenty year old Haiti Twinning Ministry. The primary purpose of the Haiti Twinning Ministry is to develop relationships that will benefit the people in both parishes.
Fr. Elizier Dorescat, pastor in Dos-Palais, has visited St. Michael several times; groups of Michaelonians have visited Dos-Palais and experienced the warm hospitality of his parishioners. The Sponsorship Program, in which Michaelonians sponsor individual children in the St. Jean-Baptiste school, builds very personal relationships. A rectory, a new school and a portable water system (all built due to the generosity of Michaelonians) are tangible signs to the people of Dos-Palais that a community of people they have never met cares about them - which gives them hope.
Notes from February Trip
To see the notes from our pilgrims on the February Trip to Dos Palais, click on the "February Trip" link at the top left portion of the page.
A Health Clinic for Dos Palais
Health care in Haiti is very scarce and often inadequate. On our ministry trips there each year, we have been stunned by the lack of access to even the most basic care, yet it has always been our goal to work with our Haitian counterparts to help them achieve THEIR goals, on their timeline. We try to share any expertise or resources that we might have, but it is always our wish to empower the people of Dos Palais and allow them the dignity of guiding their own futures.
In 2004, Father Elizier asked first for a school for his village. St. Michael parishioners rose to the challenge with their hearts and prayers. A school was built in 2006 and a daily feeding program was added in 2007.
On occasion – very intermittently – a mobile clinic came to Dos Palais. There was never a solid plan in place for regular visits to the village, and it shortly disappeared. Soon after, Father Elizier wanted to provide medical ‘coverage’ for the students. A nurse was hired, but without a facility to care for the children, little could be done to provide health care for them. A ‘clinic’ – a 10x10 room, was built on school grounds. Michaelonians once again rose to the challenge for their brothers and sisters in Dos Palais & donated medical supplies and money to purchase more . Pilgrims hand carried the supplies to our village. Basic education on hand washing and teeth-brushing became a primary focus for our new nurse. With limited audiovisual (and electrical!) capabilities, this became a monumental undertaking. Something we in the US take for granted!
In 2010, the nurse was replaced with one from the village. Not only does she see children at the school, she has been able to offer assistance to other villagers. A relationship with a physician in a larger city was established and more comprehensive healthcare oversight became possible. Recently, we were able to send her to a two-day training with Midwives for Haiti on Infant Resuscitation and how to stop maternal hemorrhaging after giving birth.
Also in 2010 (the year of the earthquake, followed by the outbreak of cholera), Father Elizier requested that St. Michael's consider building a clinic in his village. We have spent the last two years researching best practices of other clinics in Haiti; putting together a Health Care project team, now led by Dr. Joel Schmidt; visiting health care sites in Haiti; meeting with villagers to assess their needs; and working with Father Elizier to find other financial partners in this endeavor.
Just before Easter, the Haiti Ministry Leadership gave approval to move forward with funding the construction and providing limited staffing for a clinic. We in the Haiti Ministry are very excited to see our parishioners continue to support, pray for, and walk in solidarity with our Haitian family.
We believe this project will make a profound change in health care for the community. During our visit in February, we watched a group of villagers carry a woman in labor two miles down the rugged dirt road through the village to reach the main road, where they would try to hail a ride and get her to a hospital (our only vehicle was in use elsewhere at the time). The nearest facility is another 30 minutes by car from that point, and "taxis" (which could be the back of a motorcycle or bed of a pickup truck) charge double in cases of emergency! This was clearly more than just an "every day" birthing emergency, because the norm would be to stay home unless she or the baby were in some distress.
The good news is that, while health care is expensive all over, it is far cheaper to provide a basic level of care in Haiti than to undertake a similar endeavor in the United States. We have found other organizations that will help us with furnishings and equipment and we continue to look for long-term partners to help with staffing, medications, and other disposables. We hope to have the clinic operating by 2014.
How You Can Help:
1. As St. Paul said, "Pray without ceasing." Our brethren in Haiti need our daily prayers, and our efforts to improve their health will only come through your constant intercession.
2. Continue to use your monthly Haiti envelope (the red one) to help fund our efforts to bring love and light to a village that was once all but forgotten by the world, until you Michelonians began to put your focus there.
3. Get involved. Call Nancy Kunkel at 364-4953 to see how you can help.
Parish Trips to Dos Palais
St. Michael's sends groups of parishioners twice a year to visit Dos Palais, our twin parish. We call these trips "pilgrimages" because a pilgrimage is defined as "a journey, especially a long one, to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion."
Parishioners wishing to learn more about participating in a trip should check the Defender for upcoming dates for informational meetings happening in the spring time. Trips take place each November and February, and require attendance at formation meetings during the fall and winter to prepare for being in community with your fellow pilgrims and the people of Dos Palais. The emphasis during these pilgrimages is on spiritual growth and solidarity with the people of St. Jean-Baptiste, and not on providing labor or technical skills. People of all backgrounds are welcome, and may have a chance to use professional knowledge, but our experience has shown that the people of Haiti have much know-how but very few resources, so we go to learn from them perhaps even more than we are able to teach.
At this time, the requirements to participate in a pilgrimage are as follows:
- You must be healthy and able to walk over rough terrain. Health care in Haiti continues to be quite inaccessible from remote village such as Dos Palais, and travel within the village mostly takes place on foot over dirt paths.
- You must be over 18 years old. Exceptions may be made for teens traveling with an experienced pilgrim parent, or should we find a qualified leader to arrange a teen pilgrimage, but at this time we are unable to be responsible for dietary, health, and emotional needs that may arise with young people on an adult pilgrimage.
- You must be willing and available to attend a series of formation meetings to grow in community with your fellow pilgrims and to prepare to be understanding and respectful of the Haitian culture and know what challenges you may face during travel.
- You must have an adventurous spirit! We travel as a group, sharing bedrooms and bathrooms, eating new foods, facing unfamiliar situations, riding in jeeps over rough roads, and occasionally going without running water or electricity.
- You must pay for your own travel. Other than airfare, we are able to travel quite cheaply in Haiti, but you should expect to pay in the range of $800-$1000 to participate.
Call Nancy Kunkel at 364-4953 or email email@example.com for more information.
2012 February Trip to Dos Palais