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