Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA)

Helping Hearts for Haiti

Published January - 22 - 2010 Print This Post

Within hours of learning about the earthquake in Haiti, we began efforts to reach two of our AANMA members, Caleb and Debbie Lucien, who live in Pignon, Haiti – about 90 miles from Port-au-Prince. Caleb and Debbie know about asthma firsthand from when their children were very young, and still deal with respiratory problems – just yesterday, their 12-year-old daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia.

Caleb is the director of the Hosean International Ministries program in Pignon, where he was born. Although there are no televisions there, Caleb and Debbie received word shortly after the disaster struck and set off on the journey to go to Port-au-Prince to see what needed to be done, which parts of his network were still standing and able to be used as distribution points for supplies and to rescue those he knew who were in need. He also wound up picking up a family with children and bringing them back to Pignon with him.

Mind you, this journey is not on paved roads with gas stations every few miles. No Starbucks. No 7-Eleven. It’s an expedition along hairpin turns on mountain roads that climb so high and so steep that you’d better make sure your brakes and transmission are up for the challenge or you will not survive! I know, because I once traveled those roads – mostly with my eyes closed and my heart in my throat!

Twenty five years ago, I was part of a missions team to help build the foundation of an orphanage. Since that time, a school and a Bible camp with dormitories have also been set up there. For many children, the only meal of the day is the free one they eat while attending this school. HIM is networked with similar ministries throughout Haiti – particularly in the provinces, which is where refugees who can leave Port-au-Prince are going in the wake of the earthquake’s devastation.

After the earthquake, as word spread to Port-au-Prince that Caleb, the ministry and members of the Pignon community had opened their homes, people began the long journey over those treacherous roads, sometimes aboard a ministry school bus. The first group arrived last night. The hospital began filling up, and the doctors worked around the clock.

Caleb purchased and delivered food to the hospital. His brothers, other volunteers, neighbors and children work nonstop all day as small planes bring supplies from HIM deliveries donated by people like you and me. The airstrip is small, but it moves planes in and out of the region swiftly. From there, Debbie, her children and people in their community unload and organize the boxes, preparing them for distribution through the network. As fast as supplies arrive, they’re delivered.

A need for supplies

The needs of the families in Haiti are great, and there’s not enough medicine or supplies. Years ago, AANMA sent nebulizers, supplies and medications to the hospital, and Debbie taught the doctors how to use them until physicians there could receive appropriate medical training. But even then, the need was greater than available services.

There are more ways to help than simply donating money. Money is good – but so are the clean summer clothes (good condition only, please) in your closet that you and the kids outgrew, including shoes, socks, T-shirts… Look around your home for things that people in Haiti could use. What about that extra pop-up tent or cookware or knife set? Useful items include tape – all types, box cutters, pens, paper… that extra printer (with ink cartridges), a working computer… soap, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, toothpaste and toothbrushes, hand sanitizer… towels, sheets, diapers (cloth and disposable), baby formula, Ensure, acetaminophen, aspirin, antibiotic ointments, bandages of all types, Vaseline, even toys!Just gather what you can from your home and ask your neighbors to do the same.

Pack household and unopened medical supplies in boxes. Make sure you include your name, address, inventory and note of encouragement INSIDE the box. On the outside of the box, mark HIM/AANMA and label what’s inside – this makes sorting much easier when packages are received.

Send packages to:

Caleb Lucien/Hosean International (Relief Supplies)

3170 Airmans Drive, Unit 1076 HIM

Fort Pierce, FL 34946


Please note: It costs HIM $1.75 per pound to ship the boxes to Haiti. Please weigh each box and send shipping costs directly to the address above or to  www.hosean.org. (Funds sent along with boxes are likely to get lost – that’s why it’s better to send shipping costs separately to the organization; for example, as a check in an envelope made out to the address above.)

(HIM is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the U.S. and a recognized NGO in Haiti. For more information: www.hosean.org.)

Let us know how you’re helping

We’ll be bringing more firsthand accounts to you as we receive them. If you send something to Haiti, will you please drop us a line at editor@aanma.org? This lets us know what you’ve given so that we can keep track of what’s needed.

Having spent time in Haiti, I am awed at the resourcefulness and willingness of the Haitian people to share what they have with others. Those I met during my time there are joyful. They wake early to gather and sing before work; their voices fill the village as if inviting the sun to rise and bless the day. They don’t focus on what they don’t have, and they enjoy to the fullest everything that they do have.

This is the Haiti I love and want you to know better. I’ll be writing about Haiti and the potholes that you and I can fill together. I know it’s a tough economy here in the U.S. and quite frankly, I don’t want AANMA ever to suffer another gut-wrenching year like the last one. But I believe we’re here today to help each other, including our friends in Haiti.

Thank you so much for your help. It feels great to give, doesn’t it?

Nancy