Project

Camejo Hospital- Leogane

Date of Activity: 04 Mar 2011

Doctors and husband and wife duo Joe and Marie dreamed of building their own hospital from the mid- 1980s. They started building it six years ago but the earthquake has critically damaged it mid-construction

Drs. Joe and Marie are two of the kindest Haitians you could wish to meet. Working as doctors in Leogane and Port Au Prince, they conceived their dream in the 1980s of building and running their own small hospital near the centre of Leogane. Working towards it, they finally started construction in the mid 2000s and the building began to take shape. Unfortunately, the Jan. 12 earthquake rocked the building mid-construction and caused some major faults. The building is not ruined, but will take a lot more time, effort and money to get going again. This was, of course, literally right above the epicentre of the quake

 After the earthquake, various military elements from all around the world came to provide security and help with the humanitarian relief operation. A detachment of Canadian Marines asked if they could use the land in front of the hospital to camp on, and the doctors agreed. Touched by these two great characters and by what had happened to them, the Canadian Engineers built them a breathtaking temporary wooden hospital until the doctors could get back on their feet as a thank you. The structure is a brilliant one, with space for about twenty overnight patients as well as numerous consulting rooms. The honest doctors only sell medicine to patients that they have bought themselves, and only if the patient is able to pay. If the medicine is something that has been donated, they do not believe in subsequently selling it. This is typical of their great characters. When we have visited the temporary hospital, music is always playing and the patients seem to be singing songs every morning too. The place is cool, with a proper air-conditioning system and is absolutely immaculate. For a temporary structure it really is brilliant. Testimony to this is the brand new operating theatre that has just been installed. The doctors' son, Jodel,  lives in Colorado and co-ordinates and fundraising organisation from there. 

We have helped the hospital with donations of rehydration salts and basic medical supplies, but would like to raise funds to be able to help in a more major capacity. The operating theatre is amazing, but is some way short still of being fully operational. In all of this too, the hospital is still makeshift and made of wood and is not a long-term solution, brilliant though it is. The ideal long-term aim would be to get the construction of the hospital back on track. It is not often that you find initiatives like this, which are almost completely 'Haitians for Haitians.' So many Haitian professionals emigrated to the U.S under oppression over the years and some are now returning, so encouraging such schemes is crucial.

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