June 2012 (end of Fiscal Year)
The MTI-Advantage Program closed out this Fiscal Year (July 2011-June 2012) with the accomplishment of a major goal…. Having our own soccer team for persons with limb loss! Thanks to contributions from the Jordan Thomas Foundation and McCallie School-Chattanooga, we now have uniforms, balls, shin guards, socks and some cleats. (See pics below). Other exciting activities include:
- A high volume of patients seen in our new clinic in downtown Les Cayes (#4 Rue de Quai)… Again…. look us up on Google Earth or a similar program
- Seeing a 6 year old with severe clubfoot walk for the first time with an AFO and walker provided by the program. This young boy was abandoned by his parents but taken in by a loving caregivers.
- Helping a young boy who lost both legs in the 2010 earthquake find hope through the potential of playing football (soccer).
This month marks the 2nd year of a full-time presence in Haiti. We are grateful to the volunteers who have graciously given their time, talents and resources to be part of transformational experience in the lives of the resource poor. We seek to empower those with whom we share community; to assist those with physical disability to speak for themselves; to learn along with our community what it means in practical terms to be “image-bearers of God.” The MTI-Advantage Program is not a project, but a movement……a process of investing in relationship such that transformation begins with me! I have much to learn…
During the month of May, the MTI-Advantage Program:
- moved to our new clinic site in downtown Les Cayes (look us up on Google Earth or a similar program….address is #4 Rue de Quai)
- moved all of our supplies and equipment into our new space
- received 2 teams of 4 rehab professionals from Brooks Rehabilitation (Jacksonville, FL), working at MTI-Advantage clinic and Hopital Lumiere, a large surgical facility in the mountains about 1 hour drive from Les Cayes
- tried to organize our equipment and supplies into the clinical space (which has limited storage) and my apartment above (which now houses our crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, and other pieces of equipment)
- conducted 4 advocacy meetings in which we encourage envisioning what might be, could be and should be and explore innovation of change
April proves to be a super busy month with activities including:
- Starting the internal construction to open our new rehabilitation/prosthetics/orthotics clinic in the town of Les Cayes
- Working with rehabilitation teams at Hopital Lumiere
- Enrolling Likowky (our trainee in prosthetics & orthotists) in the first class of University of Don Bosco training program in Haiti and seeing him through the first week of classes
- Attending mandatory meetings in Port-au-Prince for organization involved in the rehabilitation sector
- Taking “ti tan pou jwe” (taking a little time to play)
Brooks Rehabilitation System in Jacksonville, FL has some awesome therapists who have set up four 1 week rotations (with 4 therapists on each team) over a period of seven weeks to assist the MTI-Advantage Program. Spear-headed by Ashley Henegar, PT, DPT, the 1st group worked at Hopital Lumiere where more than 140 patient sessions were given. The days were long (7:30am-5:30pm) with a short break for lunch, but this energetic and soul-full team impacted the lives of many at the hospital. Thanks to Brooks Rehab, the therapists who come, and the support of workmates, family, and friends.
Physical rehabilitation volunteers to the MTI-Advantage Program provide a great service to the people of Haiti through participation in the MTI-Advantage Program clinic and satellite service areas. Helping train rehabilitation workers is a huge objective. There is no physical or occupational training program at all in Haiti and volunteers help to fill the void in service provision and on the job training of nurses and hospital staff. Volunteers also have fun at the beach. Hard to beat the views!
The new year started with new programs, including adaptive sports. The Haitian people love football (soccer). The Advantage Program is starting a soccer team for persons with limb loss. Persons with other types of disability participate in volleyball, frisbee, basketball and other sports.
The clinical work of the Advantage Program continues to grow. Marvin Borge and Carmen Nino (both ISPO Category 2 certified prosthetists/orthotists) have made many artificial limbs (prostheses) and braces (orthoses). Physical rehabilitation services are provided by staff and volunteers in the MTI-Advantage Clinic, in local hospitals, and in homes.
The clubfoot correction program continues to expand under the direction of Marvin Borge, CPO. Through our relationship with Cure Clubfoot Worldwide, we are able to offer the services at no cost. Sometimes, Marvin receives special “gifts of thanks” such as a rooster, sugar cane and tomatoes.
With the help of volunteers, physical therapist and program director, June Hanks, PT, PhD, DPT provides physical rehabilitation to those in need. The success of our satellite clinic model in which we have our primary workshop/clinic at the MTI-Advantage Program Team House and mobile clinics in area hospitals, clinics, and in homes is evidenced by the number of beneficiaries served. We are grateful to be “the hands and feet” of Christ to serve those in need.
The advocacy component of the Advantage Program is intended to empower persons with disabilities to be the change agents within Haitian society to reduce historical stigma and discrimination. We have a group in Les Cayes (Vwa Nou) and also do seminars in other places, such as Port-a-Piment. Our most recent seminar in Port-a-Piment had more than 50 people in attendance. Many came from far away, riding donkeys or being carried by other people.
The MTI-Advantage Advocacy Group “Vwa Nou” (meaning “Our Voices”) meets weekly at the MTI-Advantage Program Team House to discuss their assets and solutions to their problems. The group provides peer support by visiting persons with recently acquired disabilities (such as limb loss, spinal cord injury, stroke).