GCU Haitian Fund Helps Hospital; Father Rick Sends Update
A major beneficiary of GCU’s special Haitian relief fund is St. Damiens Pediatric Hospital, which is operated by Father Rick Frechette. Below, Father Rick provides a first-hand update on the conditions at the hospital and how your donations are helping the people of Haiti. Watch for future updates in this blog.
We are very appreciative of your concern, prayers and support. Today the workers started to break up and haul off the tons of cement and iron that used to be our Fr. Wasson Center in Petionville. It is very important to us that this location is cleaned up and a new initiative is started there. I still admire the teams of 20 and 30 people who dug without stopping until they found Dr. Castro, Erin, and the bodies of Molly and Ryan. We are not sure what we will rebuild there yet, but for sure we will make a prominent memorial dedicated to Molly and Ryan, and to all of our Haitian staff and friends who died elsewhere in the tragedy.
We estimate that we are missing about 20% of our Haitian staff. Some have gone to the United States, some are dead and some are still absorbed in their tragedies. We are not sure of the total deaths yet and it will take some time. When we have a good idea, we will have a memorial ceremony for them and a page on the website to honor them. We have offered many masses for them already.
At the orphanage in Kenscoff, things have been fine. Busloads of our children from St. Helen have come to the hospital so they can have an idea of the problems, pray for the suffering and the dead and also visit the injured children.
The situation in the hospital has calmed down and we are better organized with a infrastructure in place. Patients that were sent for surgery to the USS Comfort will be returned to recouperate at our facilities. Also we will accept patients from the general public hospital. We are anticipating as many as 200 post operative patients.
Medical teams from many countries are doing all they can and all are working together in the best capacity. Four medical teams are going out daily to work in the poor areas. The team working at Christ Roi are working in the only standing building in the area.
We have a team that went to Leogane and Jacmel, two destroyed cities, to assess how we might be able to help. Alfonso Leon and his team have been working in parks where children gather on the streets to offer food and other help. They are also starting to search for orphans and other vulnerable children. We have begun free water deliveries with the St. Luke water truck and the St. Helen orphanage water truck and we are starting food distributions tomorrow.
Gena Heraty and Norma Lopez are developing the team for the rehabilitation of the many children and adults who lost arms and legs. It is bittersweet to walk through our hospital and see so many children that are missing a limb, still with a big smile.
We have many homeless employees who prefer to live in a tent rather than taking them onto our property. It is important that they keep their social and family networks vibrant and our hope is to help them build their own small homes in the future with blocks we make ourselves at our Francisville industrial center.
There are many ex-pequeños as well with nowhere to live. We hope in the meantime to get tents for them and to have stations where they can come for food. Hopefully one day we can also help them rebuild their own homes.
he problems are overwhelming. In relation to health, education, family, life, employment and social stability, the earthquake will have severe ramifications well into the future.
Please keep up your important prayers and support.
Thank you again and God bless you.
Fr. Rick Frechette