All things considered...print story
August 11, 2012
SO MUCH HAS BEEN GOING ON. That is really the only way to put it. My time here in Haiti has been jam-packed with excitement, adventure, surprises and above all else, learning experiences. I am beyond grateful to Omprakash for enabling my time abroad and mentoring me throughout this process. In fact, I have had many opportunities to share information about Omprakash with others on Haiti Communitere’s base. I have encountered many other volunteers who are interested in what the network offers. I will hold a meeting to formally provide this information next week on base. I have had the pleasure to meet with volunteers from all over the world. I feel that these people would make the best candidates for future Omprakash volunteers because of the dedication and spirit I witness as we work side by side to reach the same goals.
Now, as to what has been going on. A glance at this past week will give a great sample to my time here in Haiti. Sunday marked the first day of Carnaval Des Fleurs 2012. This carnaval was set to commemorate a cultural tradition which goes back to the 1800’s. Carnaval goes on for three days and consists of a series of floats and displays/ acts put on by cultural dancers, Haitian politicians and state ministries during the day. In the evening, people flooded the roads and courts of Chan Mas (the public park in Port- Au Prince where the events were held) to hear this year’s carnaval hits from the hottest names in Haitian music. Carnaval transformed Chan Mas in to a spectacle of music, dancing, fresh food, flowers and fun.
Carnaval holds an important place in Caribbean Culture, which is why an entire three days is dedicated to it. My work with Haiti Communitere has developed in to several projects with different dynamics. I continue to work with Future for the Kids to promote the well being of the 156 children we are associated with. We have made several steps forward with this program, I am happy to say. Just this past week, we have developed a temporary system to keep the orphanages running self-sustainably by running a simple businesses to generate enough revenue to cover the costs of essentials. Our volunteers are training the orphanage operators to manage these systems. Future for the Kids plans to continue to experiment with this process until we devise a permanent business plan which will cover the costs of needed expenses, cost of teachers for the children once the school session begins and to eventually generate revenue for each orphanage. Operations concerning the running of an orphanage is much more complex than one could imagine, but progress has certainly been made.
Other projects that I have been involved in include facilitating educational evndeavor for Haitian adults. These include online learning certification courses and supplementary English courses. Students in these fields put forth a lot of effort and have shown real progress, which can be viewed at this site http://www.indiegogo.com/englishinmind. My final project, which is the major contributor to my lack free time, is a month long internship I secured with a local private hospital. L’hoptial Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in located in central Port Au Prince, it is the only trauma/ critical care/ ER in the area. I took on the position of Operations Assistant in the mornings, before going out to volunteer with Future for the Kids in the afternoons. This position gave me an even more in depth experience with the Haitian community. I had daily interactions with patients, co workers, police officers, Haitian Ministers and even had a surprise visit from President Clinton! Read all about it here: http://www.clintonbushhaitifund.org/news/entry/president-clinton-announces-new-grant-to-advance-healthcare/. My position required me to review current hospital procedures, policies, protocols and operations to review and revise as needed. I worked closely with Robert Nowlan, a hospital management expert from the US with plenty of experience. Within that one month, we were able to reform security, launch a new electronic patient registration system, revise the charge master and generate revenue. It has been a completely new experience, just as all of time in Haiti has been, but all the lessons learned are extremely valuable. At the end of my internship period, I was offered a permanent position on the Hospital staff. As it was an offer I could not refuse, I took it. My initial trip to volunteer as member of the Oprakash network has turned out to be the opportunity of a life time. I will continue to live in Haiti to work at Bernard Mevs and continue to volunteer. I am forever grateful to Omprakash for being with me along the way and enabling me to explore Haiti in this fashion. I will continue to inform others about the opportunities offered in the hopes that they will benefit as I have.
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