Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Update on Haiti Earthquake Relief: Report from the Field

Photo above: Partners' Farmer to Farmer Staff Benito Jasmin and Gerard Michel Joseph (Papy) unload medical supplies

Dear Partners of the Americas Members, Friends, and Collaborators,

Two weeks have passed since the tragic earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. With this letter, Partners of the Americas would like to share with you a “report from the field” describing the efforts taken by Partners’ program staff in Haiti to use donations for immediate relief to earthquake victims.

Cap Haitien

January 22, 2010

Thanks to everyone. Finally the banks are open and I [Benito Jasmin, Farmer to Farmer Country Coordinator] have started paying back the pharmacy that has been lending us medicine and supplies on credit.

Sincerely we did a great job, supplying the two main hospitals in the North of Haiti, Hôpital Justinien and Hôpital Crudem de Milot, with medicine they need. We bought what they asked of us from the list they gave us. We have supplied the emergency center in Hôpital Justinien and also the orthopedics center with what they needed during the past 7 days.

The most important thing we have done is to buy the drugs for all the victims arriving from Port au Prince. We had a team offering this service from bed to bed, taking care of every case. We lost 3 patients because of a lack of blood and we saved 58. We have been taking care of 275 victims in Cap-Haitien and 126 in Milot.

We also helped by [purchasing gasoline and] sending 27 buses to Port au Prince, helping people move back to the North or to leave Port au Prince. Even so, we still have a lot of people to evacuate but we have no way to keep doing that. We have helped by feeding more than 10,780 victims. We are still feeding 221 patients and taking care of 21 patients.

Today we have officially stopped feeding the majority of victims, because we have so many people in Haiti now helping, that we don't think it's necessary. Most of them are receiving medical care and food. The surprise is over. It is time for us to plan better our help for the future.

We set up a music and poem contest [at Radio Nirvana], and a lot of poems and music bands are on the line. We are working now on setting up a psychology center to help the victims in and outside of the hospital.

What we haven’t been able to do is to feed the medical personal, because we don't have enough money. This need is still necessary and it costs about USD $1,000 for Justinien (117 medical staff per day) and USD $2,000 a day for Milot (323 staff). We hope that feeding them will help them concentrate - all of them are also victims, but unfortunately most of the other victims depend on their support. We still also have a need for bags to collect blood. We do have [blood] donors, but not enough blood bags and blood test kits.

The donations sent to Haiti to date, totaling $17,000, came from Partners of the Americas’ Haiti Earthquake Fund, Friends of Haiti (based in Green Bay, Wisconsin), Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, the New Jersey Beekeepers Association and some individual Farmer to Farmer volunteers. We would like to express our sincere thanks to all of our chapters, volunteers, friends, and partner organizations who combined their energy and resources to make this support possible. Funds continue to be raised and will be used to support the team in Cap Haitien and for other groups operating in Port-au-Prince.

In addition to the ways in which your donation has made a difference in Haiti, the above report highlights two pressing needs: the need to provide for the medical staff and the need for blood bags and test kits. Your continued donations are greatly appreciated in Haiti. For other ways to assist Haiti, please visit the Partners website: http://www.partners.net/Haiti

Thank you!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


My mind can't seem to wrap around the idea of a title for this blog. How to summarize the turn of events since 4:53 Jan. 12th 2010. Hopefully writing will add some order to the confusion in my head. I am finally starting to feel much better. It is a surreal thing to be able to go from the devastation and in less than a day be able to use a phone, see a doctor within an hour, sleep indoors in a comfortable bed, eat when hungry, drive a car, get gas at will, hug your family..... It has been a busy week of interviews, developing plans to meet the requests of the people of Grand Boulage and Riviere Froide and fund raising. We already have over $10,000 on its way. $1000 got here before me even. Monday I will start transferring funds to Haiti and get the wheels literally rolling to provide sacks of cement so people will be able to start rebuilding their homes. It will be a challenge because we only have one truck lined up so far and it can only carry 400 sacks. The rains start in March/April. We estimate at minimum we will need 100-200 truckloads. Our first fund raising goal is to raise $500,000. The outpouring of support from our restaurant clientele and friends has been so incredible that I believe we can achieve this. My family is doing quiet well. The girls have been so courageous. They are focusing on catching up with their homework and sharing their experience. Kyla, who had the most difficult time in Haiti, has become our champion. Now that she has her cat friends to support her, she is the one who makes sure we don't over sleep in the morning and that all the dishes are done while the rest of us are falling asleep. For those of you brave enough to view the pictures and some video, they are now posted on our website at www.devilsgulchranch.com. There is also information there on how to donate to the recovery through our non profit, DGES, and a blog link to follow the progress. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire staff of POA Farmer to Farmer for all the help and support you have given us in getting us back to safety despite the hardship and lack of communication. Thank you for trusting my choice to stay until I knew everyone on the team was safe. And most importantly for your ongoing support to Makouti who are tirelessly, without respite, laying the first stones to salvage and rebuild Haiti. Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak DVM

Monday, January 18, 2010

Support for Haiti

Over the past several days many of our past Farmer to Farmer - Haiti volunteers as well as our institutional collaborators have shown their support for and solidarity with Haiti and the FTF Program, through calls and emails to our DC Office and directly to our field staff. Benito and our team there wishes to thank you all (read a short quote from him here).

Some have also chosen to give donations through Partners of the Americas and the FTF Program since they know and trust our organization and staff, and since they want to help those in Haiti with whom they have developed professional relationships and friendships. We would like to thank the New Jersey Beekeepers Association, the American Beekeeping Federation, the Friends of Haiti, and the New Jersey Chapter of Partners of the Americas for their fundraising efforts either through or in collaboration with Partners' Farmer to Farmer Program. Although Partners is not a first-responder humanitarian aid organization, our longstanding partnership with Haiti allows us to work together and directly with Haitians, both in rural and more urban areas, to begin rebuilding their lives in productive and meaningful ways. If you or your organization would like to do so, donations can be sent by check or given through our website here. (you can specify 'Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund')

For all of those who have asked us about the health and safety of our FTF team in Haiti, here is an update. Last night we received the news about the unfortunate passing of 2 family members of Ronald Lyndor, who is our driver in Port au Prince. We send Ronald our sincere condolences in his loss. We also received good news about Ronald: he is the proud father of a newborn child, born a day before the quake hit, and mother, father, and child are doing well. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for Ronald and his family during these trying times.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Return of All FTF Volunteers

The Farmer to Farmer Team is very happy to announce that as of tonight all 3 volunteers and 2 of their children are either home or on their way there as we speak. We would like to recognize all of the efforts made by our local field staff in making sure that this happened. Communications with them has hardly been possible these past days but we know they were there every step of the way. If you would like to view a news clip of the return of one volunteer, Mark Pasternak, and his two children, please click here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blog Link: Photographer's visit to Haiti with Partners

Below is the link to a nice blog post belonging to Justin Hackworth, a photographer and Partners volunteer who recently traveled to the Dominican Republic and Haiti to photograph some of our agriculture projects and more. Between the words and the photos, it is worth a visit to Justin's blog post. His photos show the vibrant and resilient energy in Haiti. Click here to view: "Love Your Neighbor - Haiti"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Earthquake

Partners' Farmer to Farmer Team would like to thank all of you for your outcry of support and concern for Haiti and our volunteers, Chapter, and staff. We have confirmed that our staff and volunteers in country are safe and well. We are still waiting on news from our Haiti Chapter. Partners is preparing a brief statement and immediate donation information for our website, http://www.partners.net/, as well as further communication related to relief efforts. Please stay tuned. Please click here if you would like to read a news article published by a local news agency in New Jersey. Partners' New Jersey Chapter is linked with Haiti.