Well…we could talk about Boucan-Carré, the area in the Central Plateau of Haiti where HOP focuses much of its mission work. We could talk about the hospital, elementary school, secondary school or vocational school in Boucan-Carré. We could talk about reforestation, building houses or the grist mill. We could share stories about the water project sponsored by Church Street United Methodist Church.
But today let us talk about Bouly. Bouly is a remote village deep in the mountains of Haiti. There is no road from Boucan-Carré to Bouly, only a narrow rocky path that winds up and down over the mountains. Because there is no road the only way to traverse this unbelievably difficult path is by foot or on donkey. Even with a donkey you must dismount and lead the donkey at times because the terrain is so steep. There is no shade and the heat makes this 5 hour trek unthinkable to the average person.
In 2008, after working a few days in Boucan-Carré, a small group from HOP packed donkeys with water and medicine and decided to tackle the unimaginable and make the trip to Bouly. Exhausted, the group arrived in Bouly to find a crowd of more than 400 people waiting for them. Although there is no real means of communication, somehow the people knew they were coming. Some of the sick had waited in the stifling heat for more than 2 days, waiting for healthcare. Many had not seen a doctor in over a year. The suffering was everywhere.
Immediately the team began working through the crowd, looking for those most in need and attending to them before setting up the make-shift clinic or pharmacy. The clinic was then set up in a two room hut, the pharmacy under a tree. In two days, this team from HOP saw 354 patients in the Village of Bouly. On average each patient was evaluated in 5 – 7 minutes and prescriptions were given. Many received emergency nutrition supplements, which quite frankly saved their lives.
When it was time to leave Bouly it was determined that the survival of certain patients was dependent upon their return to the hospital in Boucan-Carré. The only way to accomplish this was for this team of exhausted doctors to give up a donkey for the sick. Not one of the team hesitated, knowing the extraordinary difficulty of the trek they were about to take. To make matters more difficult one child would need to be carried.
Billy Stair, a member of this group wrote:
“For as long as I live, I will never forget the images of our group, near exhaustion as they struggled over the mountains, taking turns carrying a Haitian child. Perhaps this moment captured the reason we came to Haiti. Many say Haiti’s problems are so vast that medical missions such as ours do little more than take spoonfuls out of an ocean of misery, They may be right. But in 5 days, we gave a measure of hope to over 900 Haitians whose lives may be a bit better and who will likely share with their families the story of the Americans who came to help them.”
In 2009, the Haiti Outreach Program began the building of a medical dispensary in Bouly. It is our hope that with a permanent physical structure, regular scheduled healthcare will become a permanent outreach to the people of Bouly. If you would like to help, please visit GiveHaitiHope.org for more info.