Together We Move
by Tim Gerke
I spent the final week of January at my home away from home: Port-au-Prince, Haiti. If you would have asked me a year ago where I most enjoy spending my free time, the last place I would suggest would have been post-earthquake Haiti. Yet after each subsequent trip to Haiti, I find it more difficult to leave and often feel a sense of loss for my Haitian friends I leave behind. While it’s true that Haiti has needs beyond imagining, the people of Haiti are blessed with a kind, loving and caring spirit unlike any group of people I have come across. I often say I get more out my trips to Haiti than I provide to those whom I serve, and this trip was no exception.
I used my skills as a nurse to volunteer at Haiti Adventist Hospital where Doctors Scott Nelson and Terry Dietrich have built a world-class orthopedic program targeted to providing free medical care for the poor and indigent. In 2011, Haiti Adventist Hospital performed over 1,100 surgical procedures for needy Haitians young and old. One example is Staille, a nineyear-old girl whose life has been an amazing journey.
As a baby, Staille was perfect. Her strong cry seconds after taking her first breath was proof. The proud parents inspected their first child. Wide open eyes, full complement of fingers and toes, no odd spots anywhere on the smooth dark skin, straight arms and legs. Not long after her second birthday, Staille’s family noticed something not quite right about her legs. They seemed to be a little bit bowed; when she stood up they could see a space between her knees. By the time Staille was eight years old, the condition had worsened to the point that she couldn’t run at all. The way she walked now was so strange that she had become reluctant to even go out of the house. Staille had an extremely severe case of bilateral Blount’s disease.
Staille was brought to Haiti Adventist Hospital from her hometown of Cotes-de-fer, Haiti, about six hours away, by her neighbor Lysner. Staille underwent surgery at the age of nine, and after a two-stage procedure to straighten her tibias and de-rotate the femurs, she now walks on straight legs for the first time. Staille’s life and the lives of hundreds of others have been changed because of the earthquake. Staille’s deformity began well before the devastating earthquake of 2010, yet because of this event, the resources, donated equipment and medical personnel were in place to change her life. Some may even say that her legs are straight only because of the earthquake.
In an effort to support the work being done at the hospital, I coordinated the production of a highquality coffee table book entitled “Haiti: Together We Move”. Through the beautiful images and a collection of firsthand accounts from those who have served in Haiti following the earthquake, this book tells Haiti Adventist Hospital’s amazing journey from its key role in the earthquake recovery to becoming a leader in providing orthopedic care to the indigent. If you wish to bless those in need and help Haiti Adventist Hospital continue to change lives every day, visit our website today. One hundred percent of your donation will go to pay for life–changing operations just like Staille’s. Together we can move Haiti forward!
Visit www.HaitiTogetherWeMove.com to learn more.