Peddie to carry supplies and offer aid to Haitians
MIDDLEBURY — In just a few weeks, Carol Peddie will be on her way to Haiti.
What brought Peddie, the associate dean of Library and Information Services at Middlebury College, to this point was both her desire to help out in the Caribbean nation hit by a Jan. 12 earthquake and a fortunate connection.
At the end of February, the Hubbardton resident heard from Dr. Joan Huffman, a trauma surgeon and friend from Jacksonville, Fla. Huffman had traveled to Haiti just after the January temblor, and Peddie had asked her to look out for any volunteer opportunities.
Two years ago, Peddie decided to use more of her vacation time to offer volunteer services. And after a trip this past fall where she worked with abused elephants in Thailand, Peddie realized that this was just what she wanted to do with her vacation time. So when Huffman invited Peddie to go to Port-Au-Prince with a medical team from April 10 to 17, Peddie didn’t have to think twice.
“I said, ‘Yeah, of course. Sign me up,’” she said.
The team will be staying at Hospice St. Joseph, a hospital and school in the Christ Roi neighborhood, which is affiliated with the Catholic diocese of Norwich, Conn. Though the hospital buildings were destroyed in the quake, its courtyard has been serving as a home base for international medical teams that come into the country to help. Peddie’s small team — including several medical personnel from the Jacksonville area, two from the University of Pennsylvania, and Peddie — has no religious affiliation.
Exciting as the opportunity is for Peddie, she won’t know what she will be asked to do for the group until they get there — there is limited information coming out of Haiti, and conditions are constantly changing.
“I’ll be doing anything they need me to do,” said Peddie.
As the only person on the team with no medical training, Peddie anticipates that she could be doing any number of things, from handing out over-the-counter medications to working security detail to actually assisting the surgeons with their work. The lack of information doesn’t bother her.
“You practice patience,” she said.
What she does know is that by night, the group will be sleeping under a temporary metal roof installed in the Hospice St. Joseph courtyard, and by day they will likely be going out into the tent cities to do health clinics. They will also be holding clinics in the area right around the hospital.
The team will arrive there at a crucial point, since April marks the start of the rainy season. Doctors worry that the rains, combined with a lack of infrastructure for sanitation in the densely populated areas surrounding Haiti’s capital city, will cause diseases to spread quickly throughout the makeshift settlements.
Combined with this, supplies of many medical necessities are still very low in the country, and Peddie’s team hopes to bring as many supplies as possible. Apart from the clothes and food they will need for the 10 days, the rest of their luggage will be filled with medical equipment and necessities that are unavailable in the country.
“We’re hoping to not take too much, since we’re also trying to support the local economy,” Peddie explained. “(We’re taking) only what they can’t get there.”
Peddie is responsible for bringing a long list of over-the-counter medications (see sidebar), including many specifically for children and babies. She welcomes community donations of anything on the list, as well as cash donations, which the team will transport to the country, or which can be submitted through Hospice St. Joseph’s Web site, www.hospicesaintjoseph.org.
While this trip is an opportunity to do something good for Haiti, Peddie also hopes that it will open doors for other opportunities to help out in Haiti — when the time comes to rebuild the school at Hospice St. Joseph, she will gladly return to help with that.
“It’s an opportunity to get more involved on a regular basis, in a country that’s in such great need,” Peddie said.
But for now, she is looking forward to April and this Haiti relief mission.
“It’ll definitely be a journey,” she said. “It’s not a vacation, and it’s not a trip. It’s a journey.”
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at [email protected]
How to help:
• Donate money. Cash donations will be transported with the medical team and handed directly to the hospital and school in Haiti. Or donate online at www.hospicesaintjoseph.org/donation.html. Hospice St. Joseph is a 501(c)(3) organization. All donations to support our work are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. Receipts will be provided for all financial donations.
• Donate supplies (baby and children’s items are in high need; generic brands are fine):
– Baby cough syrup
– Baby Tylenol and Ibuprofen
– Children’s cough syrup
– Children’s Tylenol and Ibuprofen
– Adult cough syrup
– Adult Tylenol and Ibuprofen
– Antibiotic cream
– Anti-itch cream or spray
– Antifungal cream
• Sponsor a school/class/workgroup project. Collaborate and donate any of the above as a group. Take a group photo and send it with the donation.
• Raise awareness. Pass along the message. It will take a long time to heal and rebuild this country and we need to keep it in our minds and hearts.
For more information contact Carol Peddie at [email protected] and 802-282-6531 or at Middlebury College at [email protected] and 802-443-3113.
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