[Events] Gena Heraty Haiti update Week 4

Noreen.Heraty Noreen.Heraty at staffmail.ul.ie
Fri Feb 12 10:00:31 GMT 2010

Hi Everyone.

Gena sent an email to us last-night with at attachment that she asked us to circulate to as many people as we can who have been supporting her this past month – please forward it as you think appropriate because I know you have been spreading the word and many people beyond those on this list have donated money to the Gena Heraty Haiti Fund. As there are photos on the attachment I cannot circulate it through events but I have pasted in the text below. If you would like to receive the full attachment (with photos) then let me know and I will email it directly to you. I would like to take the opportunity to update you on the money in the fund to date:


Since the earthquake, a total of €250,000 has been transferred to Gena and we are waiting for her instructions to send the next instalment. While some funds were spent on emergence medical aid in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the bulk of the money is being used to help re-establish and now further extend Gena’s own programmes in Haiti. These include rehabilitation therapy services to children with special needs, direct relief to families for food and shelter, therapy and supports for children and adults who have lost limbs as a result of their injuries, and assistance where possible to help relocate families back to the countryside. Before the earthquake at all, Gena’s programmes cost in the region of €500,000 per year….. there is no doubt that this figure will double at the very least this year given the scale of human need following the earthquake. She is also currently seeking a building to house some of these programmes so that is an additional cost for her to consider.


But we are making a real difference and that’s what counts at this stage. Every section of our community, locally and Nationally, has become involved in raising funds for Gena: schools, churches, workplaces, clubs and societies with activities as diverse as cake sales, bingo, rallys, race nights, spellathons, card games, music and dance events…….the list goes on but the intentions are the same – everyone wants to help and its is great to know that every cent of that money raised will go to a child or a family who needs it.  


Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir



-----Original Message-----

From: Gena Heragty [mailto:gheragty at yahoo.com] 

Sent: 11 February 2010 23:54


Subject: Fw: update


 Kay Ste. Germaine Rehab Centre,

Feb.11 2010


I woke up to the sound of rain this morning and I said "oh shit" as straight away I thought of those in the camps. The sky did not even look as if it was dumping more misery onto a people already in desperation. In fact the sky looked calm and sleepy and the thin clouds were like a light sheet pulled back from a sleeping bed. I rang my staff in Kenscoff ( the mountains where the orphange is and where I usually live) and they were shocked cos they woke up to clear skies. A little while ago I got a phone call from Guerlande- mother of Bedgina- 2 months old and an amputee. I asked how they were- yesterday they received a tent from someone that wants to help them. " we are in the mud" Everything is wet- cant even put up the tent cos everything is wet and muddy" I rang Fritzner - he is the Unlce of Stevenson. "what can I say Dr. Gena- we are here, everything is wet, everywhere is muddy". The little tent you gave us for Stevenson is good so he was ok- he is gone back to the hospital today for his appointment so you will see him"


It is quiet where I am sitting and the hazy sun has evaporated all signs of the morning downpour outside my door. My mood is pensive and I wonder what next for the people of Haiti. Over one month now and still no signs of real solutions for those displaced. Is it normal that after one month people are still crowded together in makeshift tents (made from sheets). Is this what always happens in countries where bad earthquakes occur? Was i being unrealistic when I expected that by now most families would have a real tent and people would be located in areas where there is flat land and where it would seem that it would have been possible to set up proper services? I wonder am I crazy for thinking this could have happened by now. I mean four weeks have gone by already! I dunno! I try to be optimistic but those of us living here know all too well that the rainy season in Haiti is never much fun and I DREAD what will happen if people are not properly set up before the rains come.


Our work goes on and in a small way we make a difference. Mothers and Fathers in the hospital share their stories with us and now we are family to them. Johanne had a surgery yesterday- they removed the bone that had crushed into her brain. An Italian doctor did the surgery and we are all so thankful. You should have seen her family - mother and grandmother! The first day, Johanne was taken by helicopter for a Cat-Scan. Her mother and Grandmother, watched every helicopter that flew by for the next hours, waiting for Johanne to come back. When she came, you would think that it God himself, come down from heaven, such was their relief to see Johanne. Yesterday was the surgery and again the waiting, and the waiting. The surgery went well and Johanne was stable last night and this morning. Dear dear Johanne- how beautiful to witness the love that surrounds her. You can see here there in the photo and Norma is working with her to get her to swallow food in her mouth again. PHOTO

In the same room as Johanne is Angelin. Angelin was buried in the rubble for five days (she is five yrs old) and now she had lost half her leg. In the beginning she was so so sad - never could get a smile from her. Sad eyes, telling stories no five year old should ever have to tell. Her mother stays with her - a young mother that lost her other child in the quake. These days Angelin is much better and much more responsive. Her smile is brave and hopeful and she smiles more frequently now. But sometimes when she is sitting by herself, you can just see how much she has gone through - from the way she sits and stares and her mind is miles away.Bet my mam is wondering do I ever take off that cap!!! Tis very hot here don’t ya know!! PHOTO

This is Veronica. PHOTO Her mam died and she is being looked after by her loving dad. She is full of the joys of life and always has us smiling! She is two!

How about these beautiful young ladies? They are both so proud of their efforts on the crutches! Marie Marthe is to the right as you look at the picture and Marie Francis is next to her

Lest you think tis only girls in our hospital, how about these darling boys: First is Peterson and his Mom. Then we have John Joseph and then Mykenly.   PHOTO

I know it is not easy for you to see these kids in this way – for us too it is not easy and for sure for the families it is not easy. However this is the reality we face and I am happy to tell you that we will be involved in their lives from now on. I saw we, but really it is you too cos it is your money we are and will be spending. And these are just a few – there are many more and if I have the time, I will bring them into your lives. I tell these mothers and fathers that they are not alone because people care and they are so so thankful. My team and I are thankful to all of you.


I started this letter this am and now it is already dark. To my eyes the sky is ominous as if she also needs to cry for all that she sees every day. I spent most of my day on the computer – pulling together many people in an attempt to get Yolene ( Director of our special needs school) out of the country to go see her husband who is near death in Michigan. He was evacuated out of here days after he was crushed in the quake. Thanks to our friends in Digicell she is scheduled to go to Jamaica tomorrow and they will help us get her a visa to be with him. Meanwhile as I write, a dedicated friend has been travelling for hours(from the south of Haiti) to get here tonight so she can go with Yolene tomorrow. This morning all of this seemed like an impossible task but I am a person of hope and the day I give up hope is the day I go into the grave! So fingers crossed it all works out and she can make it to see him before he dies. It is a tough journey for Yolene who is only married since last July. Life sure is not easy is it? 


Ok, that’s it for now! Time to move a bit!  Best wishes to all of you reading this and many many thanks for all the help and support. I need you to keep Haiti right beside you all the time- like your loved ones. We are all afraid that people will loose interest after a while and for sure ye must be getting tired of hearing about Haiti all the time. Let me assure you that money sent to my a/c is coming directly to me and will be used for the programs I run. Before this earthquake we did not even have enough money to do half of what we wanted to so with your money we can do so much more and it is always the poorest of the poor that we are serving. Understand that for now, we are not able to do big things – we need to be sure that when we start rebuilding for people, we will be doing it in a way that will be safe for everyone. So for now we give money, clothing and food and we take down all the details so we can find the best way to help each case we see.The discharged families are coming to us for therapy – this week we took on a new girl that we will have trained as a therapist for the amputees. She has some basic training and she is very happy to have a job opportunity now. We will be hiring more therapists in the coming weeks and also a music teacher will start with us on Monday. We need to get the kids singing and laughing!


Time to go!! Love to all. Keep the faith! 











Dr. Noreen Heraty
Dept. of Personnel & Employment Relations
Kemmy Business School
University of Limerick

Tel: + 353 61 202643
Fax: + 353 61 213188
email: noreen.heraty at ul.ie

KBS Building KB3-28


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