Heart to Heart International and BD Sponsor #PQMDinHaiti

Thanks to the generous support of members Heart to Heart International (HHI) and Becton Dickinson (BD), PQMD Director of Communications & Disaster Response, Jennifer Liles, recently had the chance to spend a week in Haiti with a mission team from College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe, KS.

Over the course of the week, the group had the unique opportunity to spend time in what UNICEF calls one of the most remote areas of the world, Mapou.  Mapou is in the south east corner of Haiti, a six-hour, off-road drive from the capital of Port-au-Prince.

The goals for the week were to provide leadership training for members of the Mapou Federation (a village cohort elected to work directly with NGOs and others to identify and fund projects), and provide medical clinic support alongside local HHI doctors and nurses.

The medical clinic support aspect of the trip was fairly straightforward (save for motorcycle and machete wounds).  In total, the group also estimates that upwards of 250 individuals were served by the medical clinic over the course of the week. To imagine the impact that aid, financial, human and technical, has brought to these villages is truly amazing.

Work with the Federation work was a bit more abstract. Established nearly a year prior by a mixture of community voting and nominations, the Federation is made up of the local principal, a priest, government and mayoral ambassadors, and a youth ambassador, among others.

The topics of the week focused on local resources and team building and a strategy to help define more clearly, how the Federation should focus its energy to access the resources. The group worked together to identify opportunities and share ideas about how take advantage of what is available to their community?

The group identified the sea, animals, professionals, the health clinic, and the land, as valuable resources in the community. The question was, how can they collectively capitalize on this natural bounty? Where were the needs? Proper tools, proper training, and passion by the local population to continue capitalizing appropriately stood out. The question for support organizations then becomes…where do we target our aid? How do we best use our funds and technical assistance in order to enable them to have success with their resources?

Having witnessed the exercises and group dynamics over the course of the four days, it was evident the Federation needs to be encouraged to act as one team. There appeared to be a moderate undercurrent of competition and tension amongst the members of the Federation. It remains clear there is still a need for outside guidance to continue steps forward in creating a truly cohesive team working towards unified goals for Mapou.

With a week spent supporting both aspects of the mission team, our staff member reflected that some of the key takeaways included the importance of pre-positioning vital products for primary health services, health system strengthening, and the imperative of sustainable aid when working in developing nations.

“It was an incredible experience, both from a professional and personal perspective,” said Liles. “It can be hard to imagine the level of difficulty involved in providing aid to remote locations in even the best of times, and now having been there, visualizing what it must be like to access locations like Mapou and the like in a time of disaster…it’s an incredible feat. The value of the work our members do, day in and day out, can make a huge difference in such circumstances, and the importance cannot be underestimated”

In addition to daily support, Liles also supported mission goals by contributing to daily blog posts. We invite you to click here to read the full blog posts, hosted on the College Church of the Nazarene website.

J.P. VanDalsem, Missions Pastor for College Church of the Nazarene, reflected that “…my time in Mapou was one of the hardest things I have encountered physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Yet, reaching these new limits reinforced my resolve that we must continue to walk beside this beautiful community because so few others are able or willing to invest in Mapou.”

We also invite you to visit the PQMD Facebook page, where images from the trip have been posted.