Tag Archives: Haitian

Two Auburn families seek to adopt three brothers from Haiti | Lewiston Sun Journal

AUBURN — Spring and Rich Gouette have three kids, an 11-year-old boy and two young girls. Louise and Brian Johnson have three boys; the oldest is 6. Each family considered adoption last fall, yearning to add to their young broods, but the time didn’t feel right for either. The Gouettes had their house up for sale. Moving invited uncertainty. The Johnsons prayed about adoption, leaving the decision with God. They weren’t yet feeling called.

And then, an earthquake struck Haiti in January.

The sale of their house had fallen through and the Gouettes couldn’t see waiting any longer. They connected with a Haitian orphanage through friends and immediately fell in love with a 9-year-old boy named Augenson. He was the one.

Then came news that he wasn’t alone.

Augenson had brothers, 6-year-old Wisler and 2-year-old Wisly.

“We were just in agony: ‘How do we separate the brothers?’” Spring Gouette said. “I put the word out on Facebook, ‘Here’s the deal …’”

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Kathryn Skelton in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

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Heart and soul in Haiti | Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

The Rev. Marc Boisvert left Lewiston

12 years ago, and knows he will spend

his life – all of it – helping on this island

LES CAYES, Haiti – Saturday morning, as the Rev. Marc Boisvert rode in an SUV through the busy streets of downtown Les Cayes, a young man on a motorcycle pulled up alongside the open window.

“Respe, mon Pere!” the man shouted to Boisvert.

“Merci,” replied Boisvert before the motorcyclist turned sharply and zoomed down a side street.

What had the man said?

“He said, ‘Respect to you, Father,’” Boisvert said.

The compliment was well earned.

He was born and grew up in Lewiston. He went to a seminary high school in Bucksport.

He’s served as pastor at Roman Catholic churches in Castine and Stonington, a chaplain at Maine Maritime Academy and as a Navy chaplain at, of all places, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

But that’s all in his distant past. Twelve years, three months and six days ago – he knows because it happened on Jan. 1, 1998 – Boisvert left life as he knew it and came to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Bill Nemitz.

Old sails from Maine recycled as tents for Haiti | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Old sails recycled as tents for Haiti | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Images of Haiti will persist | Bangor Daily News

Images of Haiti will persist – Bangor Daily News.

At last, Maine vessel Sea Hunter offloading Haiti relief supplies | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

At last, Sea Hunter offloading Haiti relief supplies | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Martins Point supports Haiti relief workers | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Martins Point supports Haiti relief workers | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Sea Hunter arrives at 2nd Haitian port | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sea Hunter arrives at 2nd Haitian port | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Maine shipmaster says aye to Sea Hunter mission | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine shipmaster says aye to Sea Hunter mission | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Haiti or bust, Sea Hunter’s crew keeps eyes on goal

MIAMI — It’s one of those images that stick with you forever.

Ten years ago, on the first of his many seagoing voyages to Haiti, Brian Ryder looked out at the approaching port city of Les Cayes.

Off in the distance at the end of a rickety dock stood a small boy, maybe 4 years old, staring intently back at Ryder.

“He was all stove up – had bloody knees and legs and he was sparsely clothed,” recalled Ryder, a 48-year-old father of five from West Bath.

Asking around, Ryder later learned that the Haitian boy had no mother, no father, no family at all. Like a stray animal, he relied on the people who worked around the dock for his meager survival.

“It was a life-changing experience,” recalled Ryder, who now serves as chief engineer aboard the treasure-salvage ship Sea Hunter.

Late Friday night, as Ryder lay in his bunk aboard Sea Hunter wondering if the ship will ever complete its on-again, off-again relief mission to Haiti, the little boy once again forced his way through the thicket of Ryder’s worries.

“How would my kids feel if their whole family was gone and they’re in this strange place with nobody really to hold them and say, ‘Hey, it’s going to be OK. Don’t cry. Don’t be scared’?” Ryder said. “Man, I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.”

It’s easy, in the storm of controversy now swirling around the Sea Hunter and its owner, Greg Brooks, to lose sight of what this anything-but-conventional vessel and its crew are ultimately trying to accomplish.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.

Maine medical team describes conditions in Haiti

The young woman had been pinned in the earthquake, her right leg freshly amputated below the knee. Her left leg was a mess, femur shattered. When Ron Chicoine saw her at (Hospital) Immaculee Conception, she’d been sitting for two weeks waiting for help.

“She was just amazing,” Chicoine said, even positioning herself onto the operating room table when surgeons were ready.

Mona Theriault remembers one 5-year-old boy who’d broken his wrist in a fall and sat in the waiting room, quiet, dripping blood on the floor, bone sticking out.

“There were a lot of stoic people there,” she said.

Chicoine and Theriault, both from St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, and the other half of their volunteer medical team returned from a trip to Les Cayes, Haiti, last week. The team’s organizer, Cynthia DeSoi, got back Thursday.

They performed roughly 40 surgeries in six days, many on bones that had been broken and crushed in the earthquake that claimed nearly a quarter-million lives. Conditions were sparse. Surgeons wore head lamps when the hospital’s electricity cut out. Tools were soaked in buckets of bleach when the water cut out.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Kathryn Skelton of the Lewiston Sun-Journal.

Stymied ship unsnarls sticky knot in red tape

MIAMI — The Maine-based relief ship Sea Hunter took two steps forward and one step back Friday in its owner’s quest to deliver supplies to an orphanage in Haiti.

By late afternoon, the ship’s owner, Greg Brooks of Gorham, confirmed that a licensed shipmaster from Orlando, with ties to Maine Maritime Academy, had volunteered to come aboard early next week and ride Sea Hunter to Haiti and then back to its winter berth in Boston.

The decision by Richard Devins, who holds an “unlimited master” license, could satisfy the Coast Guard’s demand that Sea Hunter no longer sail without licensed personnel aboard.

“It’s amazing that this man donated his license and his time to come down and help us,” said Brooks. “All he asked was that when we get back to Boston, we buy him a plane ticket home.”

Taking another step toward their goal, the crew and local dockworkers finished clearing the ship’s cluttered main deck and taking aboard 10 containers of relief supplies donated by a Florida-based charity shortly after 4:30 p.m.

That beat the dock owner’s deadline for loading the containers. Under a more flexible deadline, the move to another berth nearby finally got under way at 9 p.m.

“Everybody pulled together, that’s for sure,” said Rick Woodbury, 49, of Scarborough, a friend of Brooks’ who volunteered for the mission. “It was a good day, no doubt about it.”

Enthusiasm about the forward progress was tempered, however, by news that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Miami had ordered Brooks to provide, by this afternoon, a complete inventory of all goods taken aboard in Portland and Boston.

In addition, customs officials told Brooks he must pay a duty based on the total value of the tons of clothing, food and equipment brought to the ship in late January by people and businesses all over Maine.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.

 

Haiti mayor at Bates College to describe horrors

LEWISTON — Wilson Louis, mayor of the Haitian district of Cité Soleil was at Bates College on Thursday night and he had plenty to say. But Louis speaks only French and relies on translators to convey his remarks while in the United States.

That’s not much of a problem in Lewiston.

A half-dozen local people — including Lewiston’s mayor and several Bates students — were able to bridge the gap between Louis’ native tongue and the non-French in the audience.

For an hour, Louis described horrendous conditions in his earthquake-battered country.

In Cité Soleil, a city of a half-million people, many have lost their homes and are living on the streets, he said. There are children who have lost fingers and toes. Many don’t have access to medical care, in spite of a massive global effort to help them.

“The situation is really terrible,” Louis said. “Those people need food. They need water; they need medical supplies.”

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Mark LaFlamme of the Lewiston Sun-Journal.

 

Benefit dinner tops off efforts at Colby College to help Haiti

Colby students hope to raise

$25,000 for the Stand for

Haiti Campaign of Partners in Health

WATERVILLE, Maine — For Jessica Frick and Yanica Faustin, it’s personal.

The Colby College seniors were among those in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, when last month’s devastating earthquake struck, leading to a death toll as high as 200,000 and leaving hundreds of thousands injured and in need of shelter, food and water.

Now that they are back for their final semester at Colby, Frick and Faustin are among a group of students – led by Colby’s Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement – who have organized a series of initiatives for the college and greater Waterville community aimed at raising money for Haiti relief. Their efforts will culminate with a benefit dinner later this month.

At that event, Frick and Faustin will speak about their experience of surviving the earthquake and witnessing the devastation while they were in Port-au-Prince, visiting members of Faustin’s Haitian family.

All told, the Colby students hope to raise $25,000, which would be donated to the Stand for Haiti Campaign of Partners in Health. About $7,000 has been raised so far.

“I want people to know,” Frick said. “They need food and water and shelter.”

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Scott Monroe of the Waterville Morning Sentinel. (Note: I used the link to the Morning Sentinel’s sister paper, the Portland Press Herald, because it included a photo, which the Morning Sentinel did not. – KM)

COLBY FUNDRAISER
WHAT: Colby for Haiti Benefit
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 26
Reception, auction: 5:30 p.m.
Dinner: 6:30 p.m.
FOR TICKETS: dfgarin@colby.edu

 

Doctor’s regret: ‘My work here is not done’ | Portland Press Herald

 Doctor’s regret: ‘My work here is not done’ | Portland Press Herald.

Maine Catholics raise $424,000 for Haiti

Maine Catholics raise $424,000 for Haiti

Maine singer’s Valentine’s video to benefit Haiti

Maine singer’s Valentine’s video to benefit Haiti

Calais surgeon offers services in Haiti

CALAIS, Maine — Dr. Robert Chagrasulis, a trauma surgeon in Calais, was in the first wave of international health clinicians to make their way to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince after the devastating earthquake of Jan. 12.

In a recent telephone interview, Chagrasulis recalled the five days he spent with a clinical team treating dazed survivors of the quake at an open-air clinic on a soccer field in the ruined city.

“We set up under some trees,” he said. Survivors came in droves, seeking help for untreated fractures, festering infections, respiratory complaints, and aches and pains related to injuries they had suffered in the collapse of the city. Many people also had psychological symptoms — fear, grief, sleeplessness.

Click this link to the rest of today’s story by Meg Haskell of the Bangor Daily News.

After quake, Winthrop family grows quickly

An expedited adoption process

adds to the brood at

Richard and Carlyn Lenfestey’s home

WINTHROP — Reginald knelt on one of the three light-colored toddler beds lined up near the foot of his parents’ bed.

This one is Richard’s. This one is Sasia’s. This one is Reggie’s.

Though he just turned 3 in December, Reginald clearly relishes his new role of big brother.

On Friday, Richard, 2, and Sasia, 20 months, clung to mom Carlyn Lenfestey, who sat on her bed.

“It’s kind of like the romper room,” she said.

Dad, Matt Lenfestey, surveyed the room and his newly enlarged family, occasionally addressing the children in their native Creole language.

Up until Tuesday, Richard and Sasia lived in a creche, a home for orphans in Lagosette, on Haiti’s north coast.

The Lenfesteys adopted Reginald from the same creche and brought him home to Winthrop last June. Soon thereafter, they started the process of adopting Sasia and Richard.

Click on the link for the rest of the story by Betty Addams in today’s Kennebec Journal.