MINDEMOYA—It was standing room only at the Mindemoya Missionary Church on October 28 as people were giving up their spots to allow others to sit down to take part in the fundraiser for the Haiti 2014 team. It was thought that maybe 80 to 100 people were expected for the function, but a member of the church’s volunteer team guessed they had better cook for 120. As it turned out, 175 people came to enjoy the delicious Haitian meal and contribute to the good work that will be done by 12 Islanders as they head to Haiti in the New Year.
The Haiti team consists of Doctors Mike Bedard and Nick Jeeves, nurse practitioner Tara Rollins, registered nurse (RN) Huguette Ray, formerly of Haiti who organized the medical team, along with RNs Laura Watson, Angie Panton, Debbie and Glenn Hallett and Michelle Noble, paramedics Monic-Rochon Shaw and Bill Cranston and Larry Watson who will head up a construction team along with Dr. Bedard and Mr. Hallett.
The team going to Haiti from Manitoulin are under the auspices of Haiti Village Health (HVH), a medical mission organized by Dr. Tiffany Keenan, formerly of the Manitoulin Health Centre. HVH operates in the rural northern region of Haiti in an area called Bas Limbe and the organization seeks to train and support local staff and provide them with the tools necessary to become self-sufficient. According to the HVH website, the first clinic was started in this area in 2007 and since then, HVH has remained committed to the provision of front line medical care, health education and nutritional support as well as access to clean water. There are now two permanent clinics in the area and HVH continues to operate in the belief of fostering self-sufficiency and sustainability by Haitians by providing micro-credit loans, training, family planning and child vaccination to name a few. The full amount of the money raised by HVH goes directly to support the health needs of the people of Haiti. Over $5,000 was raised at the Mindemoya dinner and donations can also be made at any Island branch of the Bank of Montreal. Charitable donation receipts are issued through Bridges of Hope, a Canadian registered charity.
The members of this medical and construction team shared their reasons for going to Haiti with the large crowd of supporters. Dr. Bedard was sure he would gain perspective while the Halletts were realizing their goal of a medical mission, Ms. Ray is paying back the fact that she has been given a life with opportunities and Ms. Rochon-Shaw is crossing an item off her bucket list.
Ms. Ray served as spokesperson for the event and said, “I didn’t sleep last night just thinking about this day,” as she introduced the team, said a Creole grace and talked about the Haitian food being served and also used in her country. These included pikeliz, a cabbage, carrot and pepper dish served with plantain, zaboka, or avocado, served with every meal, poule kreol, chicken served with a red base, macaroni au gratin, beet salad and rice served with red beans. The people of Haiti enjoy fruit bread and pudding for dessert and the favourite fruits are melon, muskmelon, cantaloupe, mango and pineapple with lemonade being a well-liked drink.
The dinner for this fundraiser was cooked and served by the Mindemoya Missionary Church volunteers, an energetic, fun-loving group who did an excellent job of serving the large crowd.
“It was a great event,” said Brenda Boyle, a church member and volunteer. “I think everybody was happy. The numbers were beyond what we expected, but I think that even those who didn’t get a full meal were happy.”