Zeke drives cautiously through the mangled, rubble-strewn streets into a seaside slum village, just 20 minutes from the city of Port au Prince. Heavily armed UN guardsmen stand blatantly bearing AK-47â€™s in the middle of the drive. The Haitian people meander about, selling their wares & wiping their perspiration off their brow. Miles & miles of drab tents line the flattened streets here, along with broken-down vehicles & garbage on fire.
We are in Cite Soleil â€“ a town notorious for its Haitian street gangs. No one cares much for the slums of Cite Soleil.
With angst we exit the truck & follow Zeke as he blazes through a maze of narrow alleyways & tight corners to reach our destination â€“ a crumbled little building called the Lamp Pour Haiti Clinic, the only one of its kind in these obscure parts.
The cupboards are fairly stark â€“ a few antibiotics & analgesics are strewn about, some used gauze carefully stacked up in a corner & half-empty Aspirin bottles carefully lined up against the back wall.
Dr Jeremy sits intently examining a hand-written note in one of the exam rooms. Three Haitian nurses fill prescriptions in a dark 12×12 room off to the side, as we arrive with two duffel bags filled to the rim with medications & first aid supplies spilling out of the zippers.
Regine & Mimi â€“ both managers at the clinic, kissed & hugged us upon arrival. I didnâ€™t think a bagful of meds could cause such celebration, but, gratitude is given such dimension out here.
I have to tell you, these heroes of Lamp, are a gift of life. Let me introduce them to you:
Regine, a beautiful 24-year old girl, studied law in Boston & decided to return to her homeland to serve her people. I am amazed at her courage & grit. She checks blood pressure & pulse in the waiting area while the Dr prepares for his patients.
Mimi, the loving & caring â€˜motherâ€™ of the clinic manages its day-to-day operations. She ensures that funds are raised, meds are kept stocked, & children in the area are frolicking about giving life to the community.
Jim Morgan/Tom Griffin, These two life-giving folks witnessed the depravity of Cite Soleil & decided to dedicate their time, resources & passion to serve the people. They fly out to Haiti, from Philly, once a month to consult & treat patients.
Now these folks need you & I â€“ they run on donations & a whole lot of hope. There is much the clinic lacks in way of supplies, staffing & sustainability.
If youâ€™re a medical professional & would like to volunteer a week or two or more, please let me know & Iâ€™ll give you Regineâ€™s email address.
If you have access to meds or hospital supplies and/or would like to donate the 3-page list of items they asked of us, email me.
In the meantime, please give them a glance at: www.lampforhaiti.org.
Long live HAITI. May itâ€™s people rise.