TFT trauma relief for Haiti
UPdate Magazine, Issue 16, Autumn 2010
Haiti 2010: TFT Mission to Haiti
By Phyllis Robson, TFT-Adv, and Howard Robson, MD, TFT-Algo
When we heard of the disastrous earthquake that struck Haiti on 12th January 2010, we immediately thought that TFT would have much to offer to the traumatised population following the initial rescue and emergency interventions.
Haiti has a troubled history; It was occupied by European colonists. The native population died out and African slaves were used to replace them.
Plantations and logging provided great economic benefit for the colonists, but at a critical cost to later generations of Haitians. Deforestation caused soil erosion and mudslides. Despite achieving independence over 200 years ago, the country has been marred by violence, instability, poverty and corruption. There is a lack of infrastructure and a susceptibility to hurricanes.
When the opportunity to visit Haiti came later in the year, on behalf of the ATFTFoundation, we were in a position to volunteer. We were to be part of a mission led by Dr. Jean-Murat Carolle (Angels for Haiti), which was part of a larger medical mission led by Dr Charles René.
We immediately thereafter began collecting supplies for the visit, especially as part of the project was to enable the children to express themselves through arts. These supplies included pens, paints, brushes, books and paper, as well as some medical and dental supplies and toiletries.
We were particularly grateful for the help of our dentist and family and friends. We were also grateful for the provision of the TFT algorithm manual in French from Suzanne Connolly, which we modified slightly for the local requirements, and printed sufficient copies for our expected training sessions. We managed to obtain a reasonable rate from the airlines for our considerable luggage excess.
Essential to visiting a country such as Haiti is to understand the local culture and attend to personal safety and health (vaccinations and anti-malarial drugs). We attended to these issues as much as possible, to maximise our contribution to the mission and not be a burden.
We left home in the early hours of 1st July, 2010, via Newcastle, London, Miami and Port-au Prince for La Vallee de Jacmel in Haiti. La Vallee is a mountain village serving a rural population in southern Haiti, 11 miles from the coastal city of Jacmel. The primary occupation is farming; there is economic hardship, and lack of resources and infrastructure.
Although some distance from the epi-centre of the earthquake, there had been ten deaths within the region of La Vallee Jacmel which also had suffered considerable structural damage. The experience of the earthquake and after-shocks had affected many local people. There had also been an influx of people from more affected areas. These people had lost homes, possessions and whole (more…)
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