Saturday, June 2, 2012

Raising Haiti

Jessica Patti, pictured above, is a Backus Federation of Nurses RN.  She is founder and president of Raising Haiti, a non profit agency who’s mission is to help improve the social, educational, and medical conditions of the people of Haiti.

Jessica shared with me the following story about her first visit to Haiti.

She was on her way to work as a travelling nurse on a beautiful Caribbean island. On her way, she had planned a weekend stop in Haiti (pre earthquake) to help at a clinic.  While at the airport, she remarked to a Haitian women about the beauty of her daughter.  The women begged Jessica to take the little girl back to the United States and be her mom.  This Haitian mother was willing to give up her baby girl so that the girl could have a better life.

That encounter has changed Jessica’s life.  Now she, and others, many of them members of our Backus and L+M AFT locals, travel at their own expense to Haiti roughly 6 times a year to minister to the health needs of the poorest of the poor. 
Matthew Spates, MD, who worked at L+M and now works in the Backus ED, was recently honored for is work with Raising Haiti. Matt has made 10 trips to Citi Soleil (Sun City), just outside Port-au-Prince. Matt is also Vice President of Operations for Raising Haiti.
Raising Haiti is working on purchasing land to establish a permanent clinic and staff it with Haitian doctors and nurses while continuing to send Connecticut staff on trips to assist.
I am not sure if there is a role for us as locals or as a state federation, but I would like to help.  So I put it out to you, our members are carrying out our mission, as health care providers, as union members, and as citizens of the world.  They are helping the poorest of the poor.
Can we help?
The Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals/AFT runs a clinic in Haiti with a similar mission.
Robert Kennedy, in paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw said,  "There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why?  I dream of things that never were and ask why not?"