Sept. 13, 2003
Timeline of HELP
1983: The Rev. Gerald Osterman, then pastor of St. Boniface, and a group of 11 parishioners travel to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to deliver the money.
1984: The group makes its first visit to Fond des Blancs, a rural region in southern Haiti.
1986: An immunization project is begun to vaccinate Fond des Blancs residents. The Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation builds a house in Fond des Blancs where volunteers from the United States can stay.
1987: St. Francis Xavier School is built in Fond des Blancs.
1989: A local clinic is enlarged and stocked with medicine. A Haitian citizen is brought to the United States for medical care.
1992: A 20-bed hospital is dedicated. An American nurse is hired as administrator. A year later, an American pediatrician becomes the hospital’s medical director.
1994: The first Haitian physician joins the staff. American volunteers visit two to three times a year.
1996: A Haitian doctor takes over as medical director. Catholic nuns from the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul arrive to administer the hospital. For the first time, medical teams from Jacksonville, Fla., are among those who come to help.
1998: An American surgeon performs surgery in Fond des Blancs for the first time. Twenty-eight surgeries are performed in four days. Volunteers from Lewiston, Maine, start visiting.
1999: Solar-powered electricity is installed at the hospital. A donated ambulance is used to transport patients with serious illnesses to and from Port-au-Prince, 70 miles away.
2000: An operating room, nutrition center and dental clinic open at the hospital. The Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation makes a house in Port-au-Prince available so Fond des Blancs students can live there to continue secondary education.
2001: The foundation starts building homes for Fond des Blancs’ neediest residents. A self-sufficiency program is begun to provide families with food, clothing and education allowances. Families are given goats and other livestock to use for food or sell at market.
2002: A nutrition program provides food for malnourished children and families, elderly, and people with tuberculosis and AIDS. Two Catholic chapels are built in remote sections of Fond des Blancs. The hospital is connected to the Internet via satellite.
2003: More than 32,000 patients expected to visit the
hospital. Fifteen groups of volunteers from across the United States,
including four surgical teams, will visit. A program called Born to Live
is launched to prevent the transfer of HIV from mothers to newborns.
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