Monday, November 19, 2012

A Shout-Out to Saint Damien Hospital

Saint Damien Hospital is pediatric hospital in Haiti and provides all services free of charge. It is funded by private donations through the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) organization.  Saint Damien's new facility opened in 2006 and provides quality medical treatment for disadvantaged and sick children in Haiti.  For more information check out

Front of Saint Damien Hospital

Congratulations to Father Rick Frechette!  Father Rick is the National Director of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos and oversees a network of child care facilities that includes an orphanage, a pediatric hospital and several community outreach posts. He also runs the St. Luke Foundation, which provides 450 jobs, outreach and health care to more than 120,000 patients each year.  Earlier this month, Fr. Rick and the Haitian team were recipients of the Opus Prize.  The Opus Prize is a $1 million dollar humanitarian award that acknowledges individuals and their organizations that are largely unsung, yet provide exceptional and unique responses to difficult social problems in the world’s poorest communities.

In April of this year, I visited the NPH home in Haiti.  I spent a few days in Tabarre (a suburb of Port-au-Prince) visiting Saint Damien Hospital and a nearby primary school called Angels of Light, which opened in 2010.  Then I traveled a couple of hours into the mountains to the NPH home in Kenscoff where over 700 children live.  

The day before I left Haiti to travel back to the Dominican Republic, I was standing in the reception area of Saint Damien and thought I heard someone calling my name, "Wes!"

Initially, I ignored the call, figuring I must be hearing things.  I didn't know anyone in Haiti besides a volunteer whom I was visiting.  Then I heard it again, "Wes!"

I turned and didn't see anyone.  Then I felt a tug on my shirt and looked down.  It was Paul!  I had met Paul a two months earlier in the Dominican Republic.  Paul was diagnosed with cancer and was a patient at Saint Damien's.  He traveled with his mother to the Dominican Republic in order to receive additional treatment in Santo Domingo.  Paul and his mother stayed at the NPH home in San Pedro where I worked.  Paul loved to play basketball and on several occasions we had shooting contests.  And he beat me most of the time!  I'm a bit of a lousy shooter.  

Paul returned to Haiti a few days after I left to travel here.  At the time, I had no idea he was leaving.  But I was glad that I got to see him again.  Unfortunately, I've had no contact with Paul since that day we saw each other at Saint Damien.  It's difficult to get updates since he wasn't a child at the NPH home, but a patient at the hospital.  I wish him all the best, and I'm sure wherever he's at he's perfecting that jump shot.

The Two Basketball Stars

No comments:

Post a Comment