Tag Archives: Konbit Sante

Mainers raise funds, work to help survivors | Bangor Daily News

Mainers raise funds, work to help survivors | Bangor Daily News

To help Haiti earthquake relief visit www.unicefusa.org.

Mainers’ efforts are paying off for earthquake victims in Haiti | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mainers’ efforts are paying off for earthquake victims in Haiti | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

For more information on the St. Alban’s Haiti project, visit http://www.stalbansmaine.org/ and click on “Mission and Outreach.”

Visit http://tinyurl.com/35t496a for more information on the Hanger Ivan R. Sabel Foundation’s Haiti efforts.

Visit www.konbitsante.org for more on the Portland-based nonprofit.

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.

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.


Reviving Haiti brick by brick, mind by mind

Portland professor and architect

has plans to fortify the Justinian Hospital,

wants his students to design houses

that can be quickly and easily built

He’s never set foot in Haiti, but Portland architect M. Curt Sachs has used his skills to benefit a terribly poor hospital in the country’s second-largest city.

Sachs’ first career was as a cancer therapist. He went back to school to become an architect, and has specialized in designing health care facilities.

The story of his work on the Haitian hospital began two years ago, when he sat next to a water engineer from the Woodard & Curran engineering firm on an airplane flight.

“We got to talking, and I said I was an architect, and my dream forever was to spend time designing better health care facilities for Third World countries,” Sachs said.

The engineer mentioned that her boss, Hugh Tozer, worked with Konbit Sante, a Portland-based nonprofit that has been working for about a decade with Justinian Hospital in Cap Haitien, in northern Haiti.

Sachs connected with Tozer, and he soon began working with the nonprofit, studying building plans for the hospital. He worked with Konbit Sante’s executive director, Nate Nickerson, and with doctors and others who had spent time at the hospital over the years.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Matt Wickenheiser of the Portland Press Herald.

Quake spotlights Haiti’s distress, nonprofit’s resolve

Below is the top of a story by Portland Press Herald staff writer Matt Wickenheiser and a link to the rest of the story.

Along with the story on the Portland Press Herald Web site is a letter to readers from Scott Wasser, vice president and executive editor of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and MaineToday Media. Apparently, a couple of readers emailed complaints to the newspaper claiming it would have been better for the publication to donate the money to a charity rather than spend money to send reporters to Haiti.

The response has a tone of indignation to it, but Mr. Wasser makes very important points: covering Mainers doing good – no matter where – should be done by a Maine newspaper. Period.

And, more importantly, the coverage is sure to garner not just short-term replenishment of funds for charitable organizations, but long-term positive results for those groups that do good in Maine and beyond in places such as Haiti.

Newspapers and other news agencies must GO to where stories are happening. A major part of what journalists do is observe. And you cannot observe the devastation caused by an earthquake or the good that a Portland, Maine-based group, Konbit Sante,  is doing unless you send intrepid journalists and photographers. – KM

CAP HAITIEN, HAITI — Earthquake victims from the south came in buses, piled into pickups and jammed into cars, driving almost 90 miles to find any care they could – even at Haiti’s poorest hospital.

Justinian Hospital doctors, nurses and residents worked through the first weekend treating 130 patients from Port-au-Prince, the capital city destroyed by the Jan. 12 quake, which killed an estimated 200,000 people.

With sparse resources, they helped men, women and children who had broken bones, amputated limbs and crushing emotional and psychological truama.

And members of the Portland-based Konbit Sante worked alongside them. Haitian nurses and doctors from the nonprofit were there, even a Portland volunteer who teaches English as a second language.

But as important as the all-hands effort was, it may not have been possible without the work done by Konbit Sante over the past decade.

Justinian doctors and nurses were able to work in operating rooms without fear of a blackout, thanks to electrical upgrades made by Maine electricians; children were treated in a pediatrics unit supported by two Konbit Sante-funded attending physicians; and the opening of a Konbit Sante supply depot gave the hospital access to vital materials donated to the organization.

Even so, scraping together enough to respond to the disaster has been difficult.

Click the link to read the rest of “Quake spotlights Haiti’s distress, nonprofit’s resolve” by the Portland Press Herald’s Matt Wickenheiser.

Maine telethon for Haiti relief may raise more than $100k

Konbit Sante Cap-Haitien Health Partnership is on track to raise more than $100,000 for its earthquake response fund by the end of the day.

By 2:45 p.m. (EST) the telethon sponsored by Portland city government and news station WGME had raised $25,000, which will be added to the $75,000 already raised for quake relief. The telethon continues to 6:30 p.m. Donors may call 482-5100 to make a pledge.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

Making a difference for poorest of the poor

CAP HAITIEN, Haiti — The pickup jostled through craters in the dirt road, pushing farther into Petite Anse, a packed collection of tin shacks, squat cinder block homes and abandoned trucks on the outskirts of Cap Haitien.

The three women in the back climbed out as it stopped and headed down one long dirt path, toward an opening piled with mound after mound of densely compacted garbage.

They are part of a team of outreach workers who go into Cap Haitien’s poorest slums, working out of a health clinic at Fort Saint Michel and funded by Konbit Sante, a Portland-based nonprofit.

The clinic is one of only two that serve the devastatingly poor neighborhoods bordering Cap Haitien, offering maternity care, tuberculosis testing and treatment, prenatal care, emergency care and other services.

Traveling Wednesday into Petite Anse, which is built on refuse, the women walked across a causeway built up with old tires, dirt and trash that held back the fecal-contaminated pools of stagnant water.

Click on this link to the rest of “Making a difference for poorest of the poor” by Portland Press Herald staff writer Matt Wickenheiser.

Lack of information slows efforts to aid quake refugees

CAP HAITIEN, Haiti — The numbers are slippery; information is hard to get a handle on.

According to Justinian Hospital’s medical director, the hospital saw 130 patients through the weekend who were earthquake victims. At the end of Tuesday, he didn’t have solid numbers for Monday or Tuesday.

There were reports that a gymnasium in the city was set up as a shelter for victims. There may be 300 people there. Or 1,500. Or nobody. And it’s unclear who’s in charge – if anyone is.

Amid the confusion, Nate Nickerson is trying to coordinate efforts to get aid – particularly U.S. medical personnel. Nickerson is executive director of Portland-based Konbit Sante, a nonprofit that has been working with partners to improve northern Haiti’s health care system at Justinian Hospital and at a clinic at Fort St. Michel, Cap Haitien’s poorest neighborhood.

Here’s a link to the rest of “Lack of information slows efforts to aid quake refugees” by the Portland Press Herald’s Matt Wickenheiser.

City helps sponsor telethon for Konbit Sante

Here’s a link to “City helps sponsor telethon for Konbit Sante.”

Maine-based efforts, donations help Haitian hospital run more smoothly

 CAP HAITIEN, Haiti — Women and children crowd up to the door of the Justinian Hospital’s pediatric outpatient clinic, waiting to see the health agent, who can help them with basic needs such as vaccinations or checkups.

Inside, a newer power backup system keeps the lights on at night, even during the frequent blackouts. The hospital was able to put away the kerosene lamps it had been using – a serious danger around the oxygen used for patients.

And in a neonatal intensive care unit, family members watch over quiet babies in incubators, as doctors talk to parents of new patients.

“Every bit of equipment in there is from Maine Med,” said Nate Nickerson, executive director of Konbit Sante, a Portland-based nonprofit that has been working for nine years to help improve northern Haiti’s health care system through its work at the Justinian Hospital and a clinic at Fort St. Michel, Cap Haitien’s poorest neighborhood.

Here’s a link to the rest of “Maine-based efforts, donations help Haitian hospital run more smoothly” by the Portland Press Herald’s Matt Wickenheiser.