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Back in the Saddle: October Trip To Zorange

Hope for Haiti Foundation’s October trip is en route to Haiti & ready for the rodeo! The team left RDU bright and early this morning, and they should be landing in Port au Prince any minute. We might be just a little jealous as we think about them feasting on Vierge’s carry-out specialty – beet and potato salad – our favorite! (One day, Tara and I are for reals going to start The Gourmet Goat, our Haitian foodie blog side project. It’s going to be legen…dary).

While we don’t have any “floggers” on this team (yes, apparently that’s the official term for a “foodie blogger”, as opposed to someone who beats, whips and/or flogs people – luckily, we don’t have any of those on the team either!), we do have four amazing ladies who are going to be providing you updates from Haiti this week! This October trip has a medical focus, and much of the team’s time will be spent training the nurses at the clinic to use some of our new gadgets like ultrasound machines and fancy microscopes…ya know, the little things those medical people like to keep around.

We’ve got veterans and newbies on this trip, and each of our bloggers has a unique perspective to offer based on their specialty area and past experience in Haiti. So while they spend the day making their way to Zorange, we’d like to introduce you to your lovely tour guides for this week.

Kim Bowers
An optometrist who will be leading the trip, Kim has been involved with HFHF for many years and has been traveling to Haiti since 2007. She “brought sight to Zorange” and fits people there with glasses for near and far sightedness as well as other eye problems. This trip she is training our nurses in Zorange how to use a slit microscope that will allow them to save eyesight by seeing and removing sand, wood or metal that gets in people’s eyes and causes damage.

A great story about her first trip to Haiti: she was fitting an older gentleman with a pair of glasses for distance. She had him go out of the room with the glasses on and look around. When he got out there, he said “The mountains are so beautiful!” He wasn’t the only one with tears in his eyes!

Cean Grinnell
Our resident detective, FedEx expert, master packer and all-around rockstar, Cean keeps the HFHF supply line open! As the our supplies director, she handles obtaining, organizing and packing supplies to be sent to Haiti with trips and in containers; it’s a huge job! She also has a knack for finding places in Haiti for us to buy needed items. If you remember anything about the logistics of getting, well, anything in Haiti, you’ll understand how awesome she is for the stuff she’s able to get her hands on.

This will be Cean’s third trip to Haiti, though she’s been volunteering for much longer. She usually helps Kim out in the eye clinic when in Haiti, and helps Elizabeth out all the time here in the States. In Elizabeth’s words: “I love her. She’s my buddy.”. We all love her, too.

Liz Holland
A nurse who has been traveling to Haiti since 2002, she does everything! Originally, she started out seeing patients with GI problems and eventually added eye patients to her repertoire, treating infections and conditions like dry eyes (Ben Stein shoutout!). Now, she sees just about anyone, treating a variety of illness and providing amazing support to our full-time clinic staff. What a great asset to the team!

Pamela Schiavone
An ultrasound technician at WakeMed hospital in Cary, N.C., Pamela is one of the most recent volunteers to drink the HFHF Kool-Aid. After hearing Kim Sniffin give a presentation about Hope for Haiti Foundation at WakeMed this spring, Pamela signed up to go on a trip the same day! She was right on time, too! Remember that cool ultrasound machine that was donated to the clinic back in May? Well, Pamela will spend the week training the nurses how to use the machine so they can detect and provide care for pregnancy, GI issues and other medical needs. A first-timer to Haiti, we’re really excited to read about the trip from her perspective.

Please pray for smooth travels for the team as they make their way to Zorange. Of course, we don’t mean LITERALLY smooth travel (we might be optimists, but we ain’t crazy); that’s practically an oxymoron on those Haitian roads and we’re already pushing our miracle quota. But we are praying for a safe trip, maybe with a little less river drama this time around. Check back this week for regular updates from the ground in Haiti!

Yeehaw!