Mission Statement

Lane Haitian relief strives to work toward providing sustainable medical and educational approaches to the health care needs of Haitian Communities.

Magical  Haiti   

By Dr. Snell Fontus, Founder 

   I  was  born  in  Haiti,  but  never  lived  there  for  any  length  of  time.  When  my  parents  lived  there  from  1981   to  1994,  I  visited  multiple  times,  and  as  a  physician,  I  had  the  opportunity  to  return  multiple  times  with   various  medical  teams.  I  love  the  country,  its  people,  its  history,  and  its  culture.  I  look  forward  to  my   trips that I consider a “Magical” place.

In the late 1990’s, I discovered Centre Medical Emmanuel (CME)  while  on  a  medical  mission  trip  with  a   group  from  North  Carolina.  This “jewel” is located in the small community of Cayes Jacmel, on the southern coast of Haiti.  Built by missionaries in the 70’s as a hospital and nursing school, this small facility  has  everything  you  need  to  accommodate  visiting  medical  teams.  The  compound  has  an   outpatient  clinic,  inpatient  facilities,  dormitories,  a  nice  generator,  an  x-­‐ray  machine,  a  laboratory,  and   well  equipped  air  conditioned  operating  rooms.  What  made  it  even  more  attractive  for  me  is  that  the facility’s medical director is a good friend  of  my  family,  Dr.  Louis  Phillipe,  also  known  as  Luxo.  Although  it   can  be  a  bit  difficult  getting  there  by  road,  I  returned  to  this  facility  multiple  times  over  the  years  with   various  medical  teams  from  the  East  Coast.

On  Tuesday  January  12th,  2010,  Haiti  was  hit  by  an  earthquake  at  16:53.  It  devastated  the  southern  part   of  the  country.  I  was  saddened  by  the  pictures  that  I  saw,  and  spent  some  frustrating  hours  trying  to   reach  family  members.  Luxo  was  in  the  U.S.  when  the  earthquake  struck,  and  he  immediately  made  his   way  back  to  Haiti  and  to  CME  to  assess  the  damage.  What  he  found  was  a  small  hospital  over  run  with   patients,  for  the  x-­‐ray  machine  was  the  only  one  functioning  in  the  southern  part  of  Haiti.

About  one  week  after  the  earthquake,  I  received  a  phone  call  from  Luxo,  asking  for  help.  He  wanted  me   to  bring  a  medical  team  with  me.  I  immediately  started  putting  a  team  together  from  the  Northwest,   and  with  a  lot  of  support  from  the  medical  community,  we  were  able  to  send  two  teams  to  help  out.   That  experience  was  life  changing  for  all  the  team  members,  but  we  did  what  we  could,  and  I  believe  we   made  a  difference.

What  that  experience  taught  me  was  that  there  were  a  lot  of  medical  professionals  willing  to  participate   on  medical  mission  trips  to  Haiti  here  in  the  Northwest.  I  therefore  decided  to  bring  a  medical  team  to   Cayes  Jacmel  twice  a  year  to  do  off  site  clinics  and  to  operate.  Instead  of  joining  other  teams,  I  now  put   together  teams  of  willing  volunteers  from  my  region,  my  corner  of  the  world,  and  give  them  an  opportunity to discover “Magical Haiti.”

Our  biannual  trips  bring  a  certain  amount  of  consistency  to  the  people  served  by  CME.  People  in  the   region  know  that  we  will  be  there  twice  a  year,  and  we  are  able  to  provide  a  certain  amount “follow up care,” which the locals appreciate.  With the help of some of the translators who helped us out during  the  earthquake  and  continue  to  help  us  out  to  this  date,  we  have  played  a  part  in  the  creation  of  a   school  in  one  of  the  hard  to  reach  communities.

As  more  and  more  people  in  the  Northwest  hear  about  our  work,  we  have  also  had  more  folks  willing  to   donate  to  support  our  work,  which  is  very  helpful,  since  in  the  past,  all  funds  for  the  trip  came  out  of  the volunteer’s pockets.  Since  the  earthquake,  Haiti  has  progressed  and  so  have  we.  That  is  why  we  decided   to  create  Lane  Haitian  Relief,  a  nonprofit  corporation.

When  I  decided  to  put  together  and  lead  these  trips  to  Haiti,  I  never  thought  the  response  would  be  so   positive.  All  I  wanted  to  do  is  give  people  an  opportunity  to  discover  what  I  considered  a  mystical  place.   The  volunteers  who  have  participated  on  these  trips  have  experienced  that  mystic  and  are  now  willing   to  help  this  organization  grow.  I  thank  them  all,  and  I  hope  that  this  organization  will  continue  to  grow,   not  only  to  provide  much  needed  medical  services,  but  to  allow others to discover “Magical Haiti.”

 

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