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Dr. Sarah John – Medical Mission to Haiti

(Wed. Nov 7, 2018) Catherine Read interviews Dr. Sarah John, who leads an annual medical mission trip to Haiti with We Care to Share. In addition to the medical services provided to the people of Chantal, Haiti, for the last five years special projects in the village have been funded by the Rotary Club of Centerville-Chantilly in collaboration with other area Rotary Clubs in District 7610. She began organizing this annual  trip to the village of Chantal, which is located approximately 150 miles southwest of Port-Au-Prince, after the massive 2010 earthquake devastated the island.

This will be the 16th mission trip for her group, and Dr. John is very proud of all that they have been able to accomplish over the years. She has successfully brought together fifteen Rotary Clubs from Northern Virginia to help provide the village of Chantal with things like school bathrooms, solar arrays, a school kitchen, solar cooking pots, and many over the counter medications. The medical missions first brought large items like dental chairs, so people would not have to lie on wooden boards while having their teeth cleaned, along with smaller things like band aids and pharmaceutical goods that people did not have access to. On each trip, volunteer doctors, nurses and lay people serve over 1000 patients for medical and dental checkups.

This year, Rotarians working in conjunction with Bethel United Methodist Church from Warrenton, VA,  will be funding the set-up of the very first science classroom in the village, outfitted with lab equipment and computers. There is no access to the Internet in this remote village, but the Computers for Education group that works with Bethel Church is retrofitting laptops with educational software and Wikipedia information, in their native Creole language. These computers will be networked together, so students can have access to information. This will provide a hands-on learning experience, complete with microscopes and lab equipment, something these students have ever had. Part of the mission trip will include science teachers visiting to train the teachers in Chantal on how to use these new resources.

Dr. John is still looking for individuals who are interested in going on this mission trip scheduled for January. In particular, she is in need of pharmacists, who will process prescriptions for all of the patients who are seen in the free clinics. They could also use more doctors, nurses and lay people to help carry out the mission. The cost to attend is the airfare, plus $650, which covers housing, meals and transportation on the island. She notes that after all of the hard work is done, the fee includes a stay at a beautiful hotel and a day at a Caribbean beach.

Jerry Foltz RotarianIn the second segment of the show, Catherine speaks with Dr. Jerry Foltz, a doctor of ministry and a fellow Rotarian in the Rotary Club of Centreville-Chantilly. One of his first major efforts in supporting the mission involved driving goods up to Brooklyn to be loaded on a ship bound for Haiti. One of his first assignments was to deliver the dental chairs. He notes that they were difficult to move and deliver, but after seeing what a difference they make when he visited Chantal, he knows that it was important work to be done. In the trip he made with Dr. John two years ago he worked in a variety of capacities – helping to organize patients and prep them for a doctors visit, as well as work in an administrative capacity to enter data into the system after the doctors are done with their work.

Dr. Foltz loves the culture of trust in the village of Chantal, and thoroughly enjoyed his trip there with other volunteers. He notes that the strong infrastructure of Rotary worldwide is what makes projects like this possible. He enjoys collaborating with Dr. John, and with other Rotary clubs, in using their combined resources to make a significant impact in a part of the world that lacks so many resources.

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