Local heroes

A group of nursing professionals are headed to one of the places most in need of medical professionals in the hemisphere, and they are giving up spring break to do it.

Minot State University student health clinic director Melissa Fettig, nursing instructor Renee Duncan and MSU nursing students Laura Gray, Alexandra Hemingson and Mecaila Martin will travel to Haiti March 9-16 to deliver medical supplies and health services, according to Fettig.

“The area we are returning to is the One Family Foundation in Croix De Bouquet, which includes an orphanage, school, and church,” said Fettig in an email. “Our group will be providing supplies and medical care to approximately 80 children ages 0-18 at the foundation. We will also be traveling to a remote location in the mountains near Croix De Bouquet. It is about a day’s travel on very rough terrain. The people in these mountains are very poor with no electricity and water is a long distance away. It’s very tropical, but very cold at night. Most people live in the mountains and Haitians in general cannot afford the little fee for health service or even the $1.50 for transportation. Both adults and children die for this very reason. Our group is planning on taking 20 suitcases full of needed medical supplies.”

Bravo to these caring and courageous representatives of MSU. This is no easy endeavor. No endeavor is easy in Haiti, but the nation is more in need than virtually any other region in the Americas.

For those unfamiliar, Haiti’s history is one of natural and man-made disasters, poverty is almost universal and because of political and infrastructure challenges, it is very difficult to get assistance to people who actually need it. Even donating to causes claiming to help the Haitian people is dubious, with many alleged charities being scams; many parts of the country are almost inaccessible; and the government is historically not an able partner in relief efforts. The one real source of help: person to person.

Furthermore, Haiti is largely a nation of warm and gracious people with little opportunity to better themselves. Visiting Haiti is one way the average American can learn that what we consider impoverished here is nothing compared to impoverished in other parts of even our own hemisphere.

MSU representatives also traveled to Haiti last year.

People who would like to make tax-deductible donations can send them to Melissa Fettig or Renee Duncan, Minot State University, 500 University West, Minot, N.D. 58707. Donors are asked to make out checks to Third World Missions. Donations will be used to purchase medicine and medical supplies.

Good luck and Godspeed.