Our names are Jack McLaughlin and Harry Kelleher. We are sophomores at St. Sebastian's School in Needham, Massachusetts. We recently traveled to Haiti with four of our fellow students, two teachers and our Dads. Specifically, we traved to St. Boniface Hospital in Fond-des- blancs, located about 70 miles outside of the main city of Port au Prince.
The St. Boniface Haiti Foundation strives to improve life for the poor of Haiti by facilitating access to quality, affordable health care. Their goal is to create a model of successful, sustainable development in rural Haiti that relies on local leadership and work force and that can be replicated throughout the country. St. Boniface Haiti Foundation belief is that the only way to achieve this goal is by empowering Haitians to help Haitians.
We want to briefly in summarize why our visit to St. Bonfice Hospital inspired us enough to commit to raising funds to donate a Backhoe to the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation
- prenatal care for thousands of pregnant women.
- safe delivery in a clean operating room.
- operating rooms for emergency services
- nursing staff to vaccinate children against diseases
- help parents to meet the costs of books and tuition.
- oversight for the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program.
All of these practices seem like normal hospital services to us; however, this is not the reality in Haiti. Our hope is that we can accurately describe how rural and poor this area is, and just how much St. Boniface Hospital means to Fond-des-Blancs, and inspire you to help with a donation.
During our time at St. Boniface Hospital, it was clear to us all, that this small town of Fond-des-blancs, depends on the hospital for leadership, community care and most of all hope and encouragement. We visited many different areas of town, including two very special schools.
We spent a total of 5 days working at St. Boniface Hospital, as we built 12 garden boxes for the spinal cord injury patients.
We had the opportunity to work with employees, patients and young boys and girls from the area who just wanted to help.
The language barriers were overcome with hard work, laughter, bingo and lollipops too. A universal language.
We had a detailed tour of the of the new building which is pictured below. During the week, we watched the begining stages of the Maternity Building starting to take shape in back of the existing hospital.
The construction workers do everything by hand. No kidding, they are working from 7am to 7pm making about $7.50 per day. Then going home to tend to their small farms. The repetitive, difficult manual labor and painfully slow day to day pace of progress stuck out to both of us. We asked Erik, the Construction Project Manager, "is it difficult to watch these guys do eveything by hand when you know that there is technology out there that could be so beneficial and helpful in making the process so much more efficient". Erik replied, of course it is difficult, but we just don't have the funds. We asked what would be the single most helpful tool, Erik's imediate reply was "a backhoe".
After hearing that, we talked to our Dads and said do you think it's possible to raise enough money to donate a backhoe? They both replied, there is only one way to find out! TRY!
So far, we have reached out to a number of people who are essential to make this all happen. Once we raise the funds (from of our network of wonderful friends and family) and purchase the equipment, we still have to get the backhoe delivered to St. Boniface in Fond-des-blancs.
Happy to report, we have a significant donation from a group that will handle all of the details of shipping the equipment, as well as paying the cost to get it there. We have also reached out to Chris Milton, the CEO of Milton Caterpillar, located in Milford Massachusetts, and they are on the hunt for a used backhoe. Milton Cat has not only agreed to do the search, they have offered to participate in the donation as they believe in the wonderful efforts of the St. Boniface Hospital and Foundation.
We wanted this to be a different type of fund raising effort. One in which each of us could SEE what our donation has purchased, and the difference it will continue to make for years to come. Our committment to you, is to show you your backhoe in action, and show you the impact on the continuing efforts to help St. Boniface Hospital help the people of Haiti help themselves.
We really appreciate your consideration and we are asking if you would consider a donation to this very worthwhile effort.
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