LATIN AMERICAA mobile clinic
Fr. John HENAULT is working on a new project, according to e-mails he sent recently to Bro. Augustin COTE in the United States.
26 May: The Hansen’s Disease project is taking a good part of my time. I have some financial help standing by, but the Ministry of Health doesn’t seem to know what they want to do or they are just trying to avoid the problem. I’ve had more fun in a dentist’s office than I’m having in the Director’s office. Anyway, with the limited funds I have available right now I was able to send two laboratory technicians for training. Two weeks ago I sent a doctor, and last week I sent a nurse to Leogane to the Cardinal Leger Hospital, the only place that can treat lepers in Haiti. We now have a team ready here in Gonaives but we have yet to convince the World Health Organization that leprosy still exists in Haiti. They are the only ones who can get the medication for us, as I am told. Anyway it is an interesting challenge.
Just about every week, now that people are starting to hear that we are trying to do something to help them, we get more cases. Right now we have to send them to Leogane until we have all that we need to function here. Twice a mobile clinic was set up to help start identifying these cases and twice it has been cancelled for lack of funds, so says the Health Ministry. It has been re-re scheduled for this coming Friday, 30 May.
The house repairs are continuing slowly because, for the time being, I’ve diverted some of my repair funds to this health problem. We finally got some really heavy rain showers that permitted me to see where all the holes are in the roof: Very interesting. Now I know how many buckets I need to catch the water when it rains again.
27 May: Regarding our Mobile Clinic for Friday, it is still scheduled. I went to the Health Department this morning. The Director was not there but he left news for me. The team will have 4 dermatologists, 5 Cuban doctors, and the team I sent for training over the past 3 weeks. In regards to a person wanting to help us, he and his wife are just waiting for my go ahead. I keep them posted regularly about developments.
Simplice Sa’a NGOUNI is a young Cameroonian Oblate. Following his studies, it is now time for him to explore the field! He is doing his pastoral regency in Guiana and he now shares his first impressions with us.
I was sent to the west of Guiana, specifically in the town of Mana in the parish of Javouhey, located in the village of the same name. The pastoral scope of this parish is well defined: to bring together two ethnic groups of different cultures but each with a similar story.
The first is the Hmong community, a people very attached to their traditions. The Hmong came to France after having escaped Laos in 1975, after the war that pitted the Vietnamese Communists against the French and then against the Americans. Following an agreement with the government, a good number of them came to Guiana to live and develop their agriculture. Today they are leaders in this domain. Thanks to their work, today they are economically independent.
The second ethnic group is a community from Surinam (a neighbor of Guiana), which arrived in France after a civil war that ravaged the country between 1986 and 1992; they were then placed in four camps under the protection of the United Nations. However, these people, quite diverse in their abilities, did not receive any help from the government of their place of refuge. They are still quite economically dependent. Furthermore, the members of this community, who were not treated the same as others, must work hard for their papers, to the point that they use methods far from being Catholic.
In fact, sentiments of good neighborliness which should unite them are far from outstanding. So you can imagine in what sort of pastoral situation I find myself. As parish pastor, I have a Hmong, Father Antoine Chy, who arrived here a short time ago and who was soon confronted by this pastoral situation. It is therefore necessary to achieve some balance between the Hmong community and the Bouchi Tongo. So I find myself, unfortunately or fortunately, between the two communities.
How do I live the mission? I try as much as possible to live it as a budding missionary. I also live it with much joy, with feeling and surprise, with disappointment, tension and hope.
It is all of that which makes me give thanks to God. For I am convinced that whatever the state of mind I am experiencing, that moment is important for the rest of my formation; the essential is at the end: to arrive at responding to the Lord’s call. (Audacieux pour l’Évangile juillet 2014)