Recent hurricanes hit the already crippled nation of Haiti, which has been struggling to rebuild itself for years following the devastating 2010 earthquake there. As a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, I knew I could do more to help the people on the ground, and I joined 12 other volunteers last month on a medical relief mission to Haiti that lasted six days.
In Haiti, I took part in numerous efforts, from treating the sick to feeding the hungry. I was glad to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbors and community leaders from Rockland. Our mission was clear, and everyone gave everything they had to help as many people as possible in the time we were there.
The Haitian community of Rockland is tremendous – not only in number, but in spirit as well. Their dedication for years on behalf of the people of Haiti inspired me to join them in this critical effort. I am so proud to have worked with members of HANA- the Haitian American Nurses’ Association of Rockland County, the Rockland County Haiti Relief Campaign, and Konbit Neg Lakay.
I got a first-hand look at the terrible living conditions Haitians face each day- a lack of running water, no electricity, and the constant pangs of hunger- which for adults was second only to those of their children.
I saw garbage in the streets spreading diseases, and hospitals that should be curing them were destroyed. In the partially ruined St. Antoine Hospital, I saw children waiting in hallways for a bed to become available.
While I am glad to have been of service by going to Haiti to provide direct relief to the people there, the County Legislature has been providing support to the people of Haiti from right here in Rockland.
In October, the Legislature voted to support the donation of surplus supplies for relief efforts in Haiti. The supplies donated by the County came from the closed Summit Park Hospital & Nursing Care Center. We worked with local groups – including those I traveled with – to ensure that the supplies went directly to people in Haiti.
If you can contribute to the Haiti relief effort by donating clothes, first aid supplies, medicine, or money, you can reach out to HANA at [email protected], the Rockland County Haiti Relief Campaign at [email protected], or Konbit Neg Lakay at 425-4623.