Mission Statement

Stone By Stone- building a road following God's chosen path.  Together with our brothers and sisters of Haiti, we strive to serve the cooperative of HASWEP through Listening, Educating, Supporting, Praying, Working, Advancing.

LESPWA means HOPE in Creole. 
We are full of hope for Haiti.

 

.

 FANMI LASANTE

CLINIC

Desab, Haiti

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Sunday
Mar122017

Update On Ivnalie

Getting information in Haiti is like playing a game of telephone, only as information is slowly changing and losing meaning, it is also being translated.  This may be the case in our update on Ivnalie, but I will share with everyone what I know from my end of the telephone. 

Ivnalie's health is "sometimes good, sometimes not so good".  She is having seizures sometimes and is now on an "asthma pump" (which I have figured out from gestures during past conversations means an inhaler).  That helps her, but I can't figure out why she needs it.  Maybe she has developed asthma as she is growing.  Airway disease is fairly common in Haiti.  She is going to the doctor frequently, however there is no plan for surgery.  What is communicated to me is that she cannot have surgery because "her head is too hard" and "there is a problem in her belly and head".  I am assuming this has to do with her shunt. 

The fact that Ivnalie has not had surgery yet is frustrating, but that is a reflection of the frustrating healthcare system in Haiti.  For months and months, private hospital staff went on strike, leaving only public hospitals to function.  Hospitals became overwhelmed and overrun.  Ivnalie's surgical options were a year-long wait list or going to Cuba.  Thankfully her mom still takes her to her doctor and is still moving forward with her healthcare. 

I was not able to see Dr Gabrielle on the January trip.  I will try to get in touch with her via Facebook for some clarification. 

Meanwhile, on December 3rd, Ivnalie's mom Geudeline was in a motorcycle accident.  The moto she was riding was hit by a car.  Geudeline suffered a femur fracture that required surgery.  She was in the hospital for 9 days.  I was told she was then brought home because they could not afford to keep her there, but it had seemed from other stories that she had been in the hospital for much longer.  The Haitian telephone game strikes again.  Either way, she was sent home on crutches.  Crutches.  For anyone who has traveled with us, wrap your head around that.  Or if you have seen pictures of the road from Cabaret to Desab, or just the terrain in general...crutches.  She has family who lives nearby that has been helping practically.  But her husband is the only source of income for the family.  They have been disappointed that the moto driver never came to check on Geudeline, as she chose him from among the other drivers because she knew him. 

Geudeline lives a very difficult and complicated life.  This adds a whole new dimension to that.  Please pray for this family.  We will continue to keep everyone updated as we can. 

Nicole Pitzer

president

(Sorry for the lower quality photos.  They were sent to me from a Haitian cell phone via Facebook.)

Sunday
Feb262017

Uncertainty

There has been a lot of uncertainty in the United States over the past several months, and one of the biggest uncertainties for many people is, “Will I have access to affordable healthcare?”  It’s scary to think that in 2017, affordable healthcare is still an issue for so many people.

In Haiti, however, there has been uncertainty about healthcare…forever.  Before the 2010 earthquake, 46% of Haitians did not have access to healthcare because they could not afford it or because there were no hospitals or clinics near them (World Health Organization), and this was before the earthquake toppled their nearly nonexistent healthcare system.

This is why clinics like Fanmi Lasante are so important.  Without this clinic, thousands upon thousands of Haitians wouldn’t have access to the healthcare they desperately need.  Many would have to walk hours to the next closest clinic.  Some still do to come to Fanmi Lasante, not because there are no other clinics closer to them, but because they feel they receive better care from Dr. Gabrielle and the clinic staff than they would receive elsewhere.  You make this possible with your support.

There may never be a permanent solution to the healthcare crisis in Haiti, but there are small steps we can take together, to make sure those living in and around Desab never feel uncertain about receiving quality healthcare again.  

Amanda Dehart

(board member)

Dr. Gabrielle in her exam room

A waiting room full of patients

Healthcare agent Finelia with a sick patient

Wednesday
Feb012017

Reflections

Impressions of Desab.

Coming to Desab is a little bit like being an exchange student.  Except that the village is your host family.  A gaggle of kids surrounded our car as we entered the village.  Doors opened and all backpacks, luggage, instruments, and food were carried by the kids up to our dormitory.  Being surrounded by warmth, excitement, and love is the common experience here.  A week is an intensive experience of bonding with dozens of people eager to meet, to learn, to engage.  Communication can be difficult without fluent creole, but efforts at speaking a little: "mwen kontan we ou" (I am happy to meet you) goes a long way.  In a very short time I am part of the family.

 

Leadership with Roots:

A distinct highlight of our trip to Desab was the kind and knowledgable welcome from Nicole (Pitzer, Stone By Stone president).  Nicole has tracked the geneology of members of the Desab community and has an extensive grasp of who is related to who.  This is no small feat.  Many people are interconnected by birth and marriage.  Nicole's eyes light up when she hears that a new baby has arrived.  She inquires with so many how their families are and is excited to get updates.  She helps us understand who is family with one another.  It also helps to feel her love of the community; her devotion and her joy to share it with all of us.  Thank you Nicole.

 

Non-native son:

My son Asher was a volunteer english teacher in Desab during the Fall of 2015.  This January, he invited me to join him as he returned to the village on a trip sponsored by Stone by Stone.  What a joy it was to feel the heartfelt love that exists in the village for him.  A fantastic trip for both of us.

 

Eric Small

Monday
Sep052016

My Time in Desab, Haiti...

Most people that know me, know that I am never at a loss for words. Truthfully, I’ve been struggling to write about my time in Desab, Haiti. Maybe it was because I felt slightly guilty, for not having a profound sadness or disbelief that many people experience traveling to Haiti for the first time.

For me, I chose to focus on how happy and welcoming the people of Desab were. I won’t lie, I was nervous to go, I am a creature of habit and knew I would be experiencing new things, and meeting new people. I kept asking myself, “what will it be like?” and “will everyone be welcoming?” I quickly found out, I had no reason to be nervous.

The first thing I noticed after we arrived (after literally driving up a mountainside) was everyone running to greet Nicole and myself. They were genuinely happy to see visitors. This put me immediately at ease.

Throughout the week, it became so clear to me how proud everyone was of their village. There is so much we take for granted every day, simple things like flipping a light switch, or turning on a faucet. We are a culture of always wanting more, and even with so little, the people of Desab were happy. Truly happy. It’s so easy to focus on what they don’t have, that we forget to focus on what they do. Health, happiness, family, pride in their village.

I was able to meet many people from Desab, and the surrounding communities. Everyone was happy to hear that I came with Stone By Stone. We talked about the clinic and how big of a role it plays in Desab. Some people travel seven hours by foot, just to be seen by the doctor. This amazed me, but also showed me how important the clinic and Stone By Stone is to the community.

Leaving Desab was hard. Sure, I was happy to have air conditioning, and a shower again, but life was so much slower. I told Nicole, “every day here is like a vacation.” No one was running around, trying to get a million little things done. People stopped to ask how my day was, to see if I needed anything. That’s something I could get used to.

Desab opened my eyes to a new way of life, and that’s something I will always be thankful for. I can’t wait to go back, and experience it all over again.

Amanda Dehart (board member)


Monday
Jul112016

The Experience of a Lifetime

It all started last November at school.  My friend Christine who I had just met and started working with that year asked me a question.  She came into my classroom and asked if I would be interested in going to Haiti with the group of teachers she had gone with the previous year.  I responded with something like, "Really? Yea actually I've always been kind of interested in doing something like that!"  Ever since then I continued to think about it and consider it and ask Christine (who I couldn't have done this without!) a million questions about it.  I kept going back and forth, but in the back of my mind I knew I was going to do it.  It didn't feel real until we bought our plane tickets, then it felt more real when we wrote a check to pay for supplies and trip expenses, then more real when we packed 20, 50 pound suitcases full of donated shoes, supplies, and materials. Finally it was time to go and I was terrified.  I kept wondering, can I do this? Can I go a week in this extremely remote village without running water, without electricity, without showering, without a toilet, and most terrifying of all..with tarantulas.  I had so many fears and carried them with me throughout the trip.  I was so worried and nervous about so many things; What if I got sick? What if I saw a tarantula? What if I got homesick?  The first day I was consumed with these worries and thoughts.  Despite the nerves, I felt there was still something deep inside me telling me I can do this, I want to do this.  The first day we almost didn't make it up the mountain and had to walk partially up it because of rain, then the generator that we were going to be using only at night so we had a light was not working the first night, so we had no light.  With these things happening right away, it was all the more reason for me to be scared and worried.  I went to bed that night (after standing there for an hour with Christine patiently beside me, and me saying, "I can't do this, I can't get into bed, what if there's a spider??") thinking I didn't think I could do it and wanting to go home the next day.  I am SO glad I didn't do that.  I would have missed out on the experience of a lifetime.  The most challenging and rewarding experience I had ever had.  
Before I went I was focusing on what I would be without, but now I see what I was with.  Generosity, friendliness, the desire to learn, determination, laughter of children, love, hard work; all of these things I saw in the people of Desab and in my teammates.  I learned so much from all of them, learned so much about them, and learned a lot about myself while on this trip.  I didn't realize what an impact this village would have on me, and after rereading my journal entries from the first couple days to the last few days, I can see how much more comfortable I was being there and how I started to appreciate in my own ways what the village had to offer.  It took me a little longer than it might have taken others to be comfortable there, but the impact left on me is a strong one that I know will last forever.  Culture shock was one thing, but then thinking about the differences in these children and the children I teach everyday in the US is hard to accept.  When I saw how much these kids were capable of, and how much they wanted to learn, and how hardworking they were, it made me think and reflect upon some of my expectations of kids and my students back at home.  It is a completely different world,  and helped me to appreciate things we have been given in life.  While reading my journal once I got home to my husband, one part got me very emotional.  I wrote "I'm getting to know the kids here in different ways than kids I know at home, sometimes the language barrier doesn't even matter, we can communicate in other ways.  It makes me sad to think of leaving and never seeing them again." Seeing the kids and smiling at them and seeing them smile back and be the cute kids that they are really motivated me throughout the trip.  I had never taught English before and that was something I was excited about doing.  We came up with lesson ideas, made printables to bring, sang songs, played games and as teachers didn't have all lessons go to plan, but I was able to take my passion of teaching and utilize it in a completely different way than I ever had before.  I learned so much from all our students as they learned English from us.  To me this was truly a gift.  I loved our classes and I loved playing with the kids, practicing English, and learning some Creole words from them as well.  
Another part of the trip that was very special was having dinner at the home of one of our translators.  His mom prepared a huge dinner for us and had killed a goat for us (which is a huge deal to do there). We went to his house and immediately were all impressed with the view.  They had a 360 degree beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.  We were all amazed.  Then we were offered Coke, Sprite, or a beer called Prestige which they had bought in the market in the city at the bottom of the mountain and kept cold in a cooler for us for dinner.  Dinner was served and there was so much food! There was rice and beans, chicken, goat, creole sauce, a coleslaw type dish called pikliz, and fried plantains.  It was all delicious.  As we were sitting outside eating, drinking, and listening to music on a radio, one of my teammates said, "This is something money can't buy."  And he was so right.  When else would we have had the opportunity to have an authentic meal made for us at a Haitian home in the mountains surrounded by these caring people if it weren't for this originization and this trip?  Definitely something money can't buy.
I am so grateful to now be a part of Stone by Stone.  Through all the highs and lows, fears and accomplishments, this trip is one no one can ever take from me, I had no clue how much it would mean until now.  I am still running through the trip in my mind and thinking of how far I came from being scared and afraid, to wanting to go back.  I'm still terrified of tarantulas and bugs, but the thought of not going back and never seeing those kids again makes me so sad that I know I will be back again one day, hopefully one day soon. 

-Danica