Friday, April 17, 2009

Cancelling a Trip to Haiti to Help a Haitian?

My husband John was scheduled to leave for Haiti two days ago. He was packed, ticketed and ready to leave for the aiport at 10:30 the night before his early morning flight.

But Katina is in the house (U.S.) and she will likely have surgery sometime in the next couple of weeks. John is her medical guardian and has to give verbal consents for surgery and pre-surgical procedures, which, because of Katina's sickle cell anemia, are more complex than usual. Katina is 14, but weighs only 66 pounds. Her heart condition, sickle cell, and socio-economic condition are the main reasons she is so small. But she is smart, smart, smart and a delightful girl. After she has a new mitral valve put in, her heart function will improve and this will hopefully permit her to put on weight, as so much of her energy will not be going to her cardiovascular system to compensate for her sick heart.

Although phone communication between Haiti and the United States is greatly improved from several years ago, when John had to hope that clouds wouldn't interfere with his calls from a satellite phone, a clear, a consistent line cannot always be guaranteed.

So John postponed his trip.

We will keep you posted on Katina

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Catching Up with the News

A few weeks ago, Clinton, pictured above with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Haitian-American singer Wyclef Jean, and most importantly, a sister we know and beautiful Haitian children, traveled to Haiti.

In the above picture, which I found at Wyclef Jean's website, Clinton and company are visiting an oasis in Cite Soleil run by the Daughters of Charity. In their complex, the Sisters have schools, a medical clinic, programs to teach women how to sew, a malnutrition program for children and other things I know I am forgetting. In the squalor and harshness of Cite Soleil, the Sisters' place is a calm, beautful setting where people are safe and cared for, at least for awhile.

John has volunteered at their medical clinic. It is one of his favorite places to work in all of Haiti.

Clinton traveled to Haiti, where he is very popular, thanks to his role in restoring Aristide to power in 1994, to encourage the international community to invest in Haiti. There are a lot of people in Haiti who want work and who will work hard.

Also in the news recently was Cardinal Francis George of Chicago's welcome call for President Aristide to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians currently in the United States. Here's an excerpt from the Cardinal's excellent letter:

Haiti meets the standard for TPS because it has experienced political tumult, four natural disasters, and severe food shortages in the last year, not to mention the devastation of Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. In April 2008, starving citizens took to the streets to protest rising food prices, causing political instability.

In August and September 2008, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and Tropical Storms Fay and Hanna passed through Haiti, causing severe damage and the death of close to 700 persons. Massive flooding from the storms has destroyed homes, crops, roads, and bridges, and largely rendered areas like Gonaives inaccessible to relief workers. Over 90 percent of Haiti has been impacted. Tens of thousands have been displaced, and the fate of thousands more is unknown. More than 300,000 children have been affected.

As the Cardinal goes on to say, the conditions in Haiti are as bad as or worse then El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras, where TPS was recently extended.

Here's hoping the Cardinal's letter helps.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ronald is USA Bound!

Whew and Finally! Ronald received his Haitian passport and then after a few tense days, a U.S. visa, so he can come to the States for heart surgery.

Ronald is in the process of being adopted by an American family and because that paperwork is pending, the U.S. consulate in Haiti was initally dragging their feet on granting a visa. But then they saw the light (i.e. there might not be any boy to adopt if he didn't have heart surgery and soon) and issued him the visa. His American advocate in Haiti, his host and adoptive family in New York, Dr. John Carroll of Haitian Hearts, and other interested people worked hard to get Ronald accepted at a hospital and then to secure all the necessary approvals. Thanks to all!

We are very happy! Ronald should be in the good, old US of A sometime this week. We will have updates on his situation.