Fourth-Annual Haiti Medical Mission
How far would you be willing to go to help someone in need; someone whose poverty level is so great they can’t afford regular medical attention; to support a child in school who could learn for a year for only $120, including tuition, uniform, and one hot meal a day? For 12 members of the Holy Family Cluster, of St. John Parish of Clarion; Sacred Heart of Eagle Grove; and St. Francis Xavier of Belmond; they would go 1,999 miles, or at least that’s how far they had to go to reach their Sister Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption, located in Anse Rouge, Haiti.
March 11 - 18, 2014, Dr./Deacon Mike and Pam Whitters, Monica Staudt, Monica Siemens, Deacon Jerry Temeyer, Perry Brown, Mickey Cooper and daughters, Kate Legvold and Leslie Cooper, Louis Shriver, Dr. Tim Nagel and daughter Clare, made the journey to the third-world country to offer medical assistance. Each carried the airline-allowed maximum of 49 pounds of supplies. Throughout the week, they provided basic medical care, check-ups, de-wormings, and vitamins to the residents of the area. The group also hired three local translators to assist in communication in the French and Creole-speaking country.
The local Holy Family Cluster has been partnered with the Anse Rouge parish since 2003 as part of the “Parish Twinning of the Americas.” According to Staudt, 17 parishes in Iowa have sister parishes through the program, most in Haiti. The local Cluster provides the primary financial support for Anse Rouge’s five area schools, attended by 682 students.
“I just feel like we’re doing the right thing,” said Monica Staudt of Clarion, who went on this and the previous three missions., citing the Pope, Mother Teresa, and the Bible. “This is the Christian thing to do, to help our brothers and sisters in need.”
“It’s primarily a yearly maintenance,” “We’re trying each time we go to make them more self-sufficient.”
Staudt said that while health care is available locally in Anse Rouge, the clinic’s cost is prohibitive and thus residents are only likely to visit it in an emergency. She wrote a book on her experiences on the Cluster’s first three missions, “Reflections from Haiti”, available at That Iowa Girl in Clarion and the Eagle Pharmacy in Eagle Grove.
The memorable moment for Monica Siemens was a 124-year-old female patient she saw:“Her only complaint was knee pain!” She also noted: “the positive changes in the country; uplifting, joyful Masses; the trip back to Port Au Prince when a riot broke out, and roads were blocked in many places, making travel inpassible. There were many UN and police officials with rifles and gear.”
Dr. Tim Nagel was emotionally touched by a barefoot young man, carrying his fishing gear running along his side during one of his morning runs. He is also proud to have witnessed Clare giving up her eyeglasses, and Mike and Perry giving up their inhalers to help others.
Clare Nagel wrote; “I’ve been to other third-world countries, and am inspired to live with what you have. I enjoyed being the optical technician, giving over 300 pairs away. We’re trying to change their lives, sharing faith, hope, and love.”
Read more on April 10 Monitor and Eagle, including more recollections from the trip’s participants and more details on the group’s charitable connections to Anse Rouge!