In December, I had the opportunity to spend several days in Haiti visiting with several extraordinary MedShare partners. While I was overwhelmed by the challenges this country and its people continue to face, I keep finding myself thinking of one word when I consider the overall experience of my visit: HOPE.
I visited the Leveque community outside of Port-au-Prince, where – with support from MedShare-partner 410 Bridge – 93 families (half of those with a deaf family member) are living in community in permanent housing, and where eventually 169 families will dwell. Two of the community leaders who are deaf, Berthide and Mackenson, spent time learning about MedShare by reading our annual report since my sign language abilities don’t extend much beyond “Nice to Meet You” and “Thank you!” They did teach me a few new signs including that for “cow” (which crossed the road often during our visit) and “love” (a sign they used in every photo taken).
As they showed us the amazing progress they’ve made in providing housing, access to water, agriculture and education for this community, I thought of the HOPE they are providing to hundreds of Haitians.
I was overcome with emotion when I visited the Isaie Jeanty Maternity Hospital and saw two beautiful but very small babies (less than 2 pounds) that had been given a chance at life thanks to supplies and incubators provided by MedShare in strong partnership with the First Lady of Haiti via Mona Adam, Northside Hospital in Atlanta, and GIANT. Thanks to dedicated Haitian leaders and health care providers, these babies and their families have HOPE for life.
While these stories of HOPE may seem small compared to the millions of Haitians in need, I am truly inspired by the people of Haiti that are working diligently hour-by-hour, day-by-day to rebuild their country. And, I am extremely grateful to the many MedShare supporters who have generously donated their volunteer time, medical supplies and equipment, and financial resources so that MedShare could support these efforts. MedShare has shipped 84 forty-foot ocean containers full of medical supplies and equipment to Haiti over the past 15 years, with 7 in 2012 alone. Thank you for supporting MedShare to provide HOPE and HEALING to the people of Haiti!
Meridith Rentz, CEO & President
By Lindsey Barnett, MedShare’s Senior Program Manager
From the moment Meridith and I stepped off the plane, a flood of excitement and gratitude rushed through me to be in this place – well, excitement mixed with a strong desire to shower and rest my eyes after an almost sleepless 24 hours. There’s so much to appreciate about Kenya and the countries surrounding this region, from the lush landscapes to the cheerful lilt in the voices of new friends who welcome you with warmth and graciousness. As we visit this incredibly diverse group of partners over the next week, I can’t wait to hear the thoughts, questions and ideas that come from those in our group – people who are coming together from across the U.S with a rich blend of knowledge, experiences and a deep-rooted passion for making a difference in our global community. As we’re traveling, we’d love to hear from those at home who may have questions or seeds they’d like to plant during this opportunity to probe a little deeper in the field – could make for some really interesting dialogues with our Kenyan partners.
Send us your thoughts and stay tuned….
This post is part of a series we’re doing over the coming days while MedShare staff and Board of Trustee members travel through Kenya from February 17 – 27. We invite you to share the experience with them by reading their stories; to access them, click on the “Africa Trip“ icon in the right sidebar. Safe travels, team!
By Meridith Rentz, MedShare CEO and President
We’re on our way……
Lindsey and I are on the flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam. I want my body to think it’s 6:00 am (Nairobi time) but not much luck. My mind is racing with anticipation and excitement and last-minute worries. It’s much too hard to sleep as I consider all that we’re about to see, feel, touch, smell, hear…..experience. We are going to have the gift of learning about the impact of our MedShare work up-close and personal. What works? What doesn’t? How can we improve? How can we have sustainable impact?
Once we arrive in Nairobi, Lindsey and I will do final preparations before our wonderful MedShare group arrives. Bob, Liz, Sandy, Laureen, Ginny, Pat, Charlie, Tina, AB, Angie, Terry, Tom, Ed and Jennifer……hurry on up, we’re ready for you!
This post is the first of a series we’ll host over the coming days. MedShare staff and Board of Trustee members will be in Kenya from February 17 – 27, and they’ll be sharing their stories and first-hand accounts on the MedShare blog. We invite you to share the experience with them by reading their stories; to access them, click on the “Africa Trip“ icon in the right sidebar. Safe travels, team!
Earlier this year, MedShare’s Josh Kravitz (Chief Operating Officer), Amanda Paniagua (Shipments Manager), and Terry Monday (Volunteer Manager for MedShare’s Western Region) visited Guatemala.
MedShare's Josh Kravitz, Amanda Paniagua and Terry Monday with hospital staff in Antigua, Guatemala
Why did they visit? “Our mission on this trip was to dive into the Guatemalan medical community to learn just who will be our best partner hospitals over the next year or two and truly understand their unique needs,” said Josh Kravitz, COO. “Without a doubt, we prepared to leave this wonderful country with a better understanding that will lead to even higher quality medical aid shipments.”
To learn more, we invite you to read Josh and Amanda’s accounts of their trip. Which of our recipient countries would you like to travel to?