The Haiti Project - Mission
The Haiti Project was begun in 1991 by the Reverend Raymond Deshomme
of the Calvary Christian Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When
Reverend Deshomme arrived in Mahotte, a town approximately 40
miles north of the capital of Port au Prince, he found a poor
fishing village with about 4,000 people, no electricity, no running
water, no medical care, and very little food. Sixty percent of
the children of the village cannot afford to go to school, and
many are dying of disease and malnutrition. In addition to starting
a Christian mission, he set up a program to provide nutrition,
education, public health, and medical care using volunteers who
come from the United States twice a year to help.
Among the volunteers who has helped in Haiti is Dr. Thomas Ertle,
a 1977 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine.
Dr. Ertle works with Hearts For Haiti, an interdenominational
Christian organization headquartered in Alliance, Ohio whose mission
is to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the people
in Haiti. In addition to Mahotte, the Hearts For Haiti provides
services in Bon Repos, a poor suburb of Port au Prince, and in
Doco II, a mountain village overlooking Mahotte.
Dr. Ertle and his colleagues organize and lead short-term (usually
about seven days) medical work teams providing these areas with
the only medical and dental care they receive on a regular basis.
Care is provided free of charge, and each team member is responsible
for his or her own expenses, usually running around $900. The
youngest team member has been four years old, and the oldest 77
years old. Nurses, dentists, and physicians of all specialties
are always needed, but all that is required of a volunteer is
a willing heart and attitude. Teenagers and young people are especially
welcome, and a number of students from the Pennsylvania College
of Podiatric Medicine have joined Dr. Ertle on his trips to Haiti
Teams are usually sent four times a year for one-week periods,
suiting the schedules of busy professionals. They provide unsophisticated
but often life-saving medical care in a very challenging setting
without the benefit of a laboratory, x-ray studies, etc.