Dame professor and Holy Cross priest Tom Streit, CSC, has been working
in Léogâne, Haiti, regularly for the past nine
years. He is currently working on a major project with the Hopital
Ste. Croixe on a program to eradicate filariasis,
a mosquito-borne disease that can severely affect major life functioning.
This is a collaborative project with the Notre Dame Haiti Program,
a part of the biology department of the University of Notre Dame.
Hopital Ste. Croixe
in Léogâne is a leader in the field, and is a part
of the collaboration between the hospital, Notre Dame, and the Centers
for Disease Control, with a grant from the Gates Foundation.
In the spring
of 2002, Holy Cross Associates (HCA) was contacted and asked to
orient a prospective volunteer that Fr. Streit, CSC had recruited
to assist in his work in Haiti. So began Holy Cross Associates'
affiliation with the Haiti Project. In December 2002, John Pinter,
director of the HCA program, was invited to visit Haiti with the
idea of looking at a more permanent' and direct placement
of volunteers for subsequent years. This new, formal, affiliation
of Associates in Haiti begins with the 2003-2004 program year.
CROSS APOSTOLATES IN HAITI
There is a
significant population of Holy Cross religious in Haiti, which very
recently became its own Province (Notre-Dame du perpetual-secours
of Haiti). There are sisters present in Haiti as well. While their
are numerous aposulates in Haiti with which Holy Cross is engaged,
there is in particular a seminary and a school sponsored by the
Perpetual-Secours in Port au Prince.
AND HOPITAL STE. CROIX
is a city approximately 30 kilometers from central Port au Prince.
It takes about 2 hours to get there due to overcrowded roads from
the capital, but one does leave the capital and go through some
rural area before getting to Léogâne. The central part
of the city is estimated to be approximately 30,000 people, and
the whole commune' (akin to a county in the U.S.) is about
Croix is an Episcopal sponsored hospital. It is a general hospital
for the area, but also has become a leader in the effort to eradicate
the filariasis, a mosquito-borne disease of the lymphatic system.
A collaboration of Notre Dame, Emory University, U.S. Centers for
Disease Control (CDC), and Hopital Ste. Croix is working on the
As a part of
the grant received by the program, one of the efforts is the building
of Maison Filariasis, a guest house for visiting medical professionals
and a residence for some of the project staff. It is a large building,
with the potential to house up to about 25 individuals. The volunteer(s)
assist at the residence, located on the outskirts of the town of
EFFORTS AND POSSIBILITIES
The role of
the volunteers will be quite varied. Among the possible duties are
the following, generally described:
- Assisting with the
public health awareness of the disease and its treatments in various
parts of the country;
- Providing orientation
and hospitality to medical and other visitors to the area who
reside at Residence Filarios, the facility inLéogâne
which hosts visiting professionals and volunteers (and which will
also be the residence for the Associates);
- Assisting with scheduling
and other duties for treatments and surgeries on behalf of individuals
affected by the disease;
- Potential micro-enterprise
development, with the carrying on of a project to sell mosquito
- Assisting the HCA
program to develop other potential involvements in Haiti, including
establishing relationships with the new Holy Cross Province in
Haiti, developing short-term volunteer opportunities, and finding
other service apostolates in the region.
Haiti is a difficult
place to live. It is hot, it is poor, it is politically unstable,
and there are not a lot of amenities available for volunteers. On
the other hand, it is a very friendly country, the work is extraordinarily
interesting, and it can be extremely 'rewarding' to the participants.
The program in Haiti
will follow the pillars of the Holy Cross Associates: Service,
Community, Prayer and Spirituality, and Simplicity of Lifestyle.
There will be very different ways these pillars are carried out,
given the small nature of the community (around 2 to start), living
arrangements (living within the Residence Filarios), and the limited
number of Holy Cross religious in the area.
Those interested are
strongly encouraged to contact the Holy Cross Associates home office,
by phone (574-631-5521), email (email@example.com), or through correspondence,
Holy Cross Associates, P.O. Box 668, Notre Dame IN 46556-0668.
Benefits: Volunteers will receive room and board, personal stipends,
travel to and from Haiti (at beginning and end of the term), language
training, and health insurance. The program is designed to parallel
the current HCA program, though there are some important differences.