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17049: Re: 17043: Ray replies and adds to Corbett (fwd)

From: Matt Ray <mraymus@yahoo.com>

I agree with Bob's description of the PLANNED tourism.   In every one of our trips, we plan at least 1 day to go to Kaliko Plage or Kenscoff or something similar.    It's typically at the end of a long work week where we've seen hundreds of patients, fitted 10s of new prosthetic devices, and held and cleaned many handicapped orphans.   But the focus of the trip is not for tourism, but rather trying to make a difference in the lives of a hundred or so people in Haiti.      I wonder whether they care about the semantics we're arguing over or the fact that we're there as tourists or not.   They're just happy to get a new leg or arm.    By the way, what is the economical impact of a farmer who lost his arm and then getting a new one?   On our last trip, we did just this, gave a farmer a new license on life.

In our case, the work we do is so specialized that there's a slight chance we'll find someone in Haiti to do the work.   As stated in my previous email, we are training Haitians so this won't be the case forever and we do have a few Haitian doctors volunteering their time in our clinic, which even though it's a volunteer basis, I imagine the experience and exposure these doctors receive will have an economical impact on their practices.

One other thing I forgot to mention is that we hire translators in Haiti to help us with our trip.    I go as a translator (for free) and then we hire about 5-6 Haitian translators so that we can be helping many patients at the same time.   We find, however, that most of the Haitian translators have a very difficult time translating adequately and they also struggle with what they see when we go to the orphanages and work with handicapped children there.   Many of them go into shock, as they claim they have never seen this sort of thing in their country before.   One man, was 40, and he said he's only seen these types of conditions on the Ricky Lake show.     That says a lot about how the handicapped in Haiti are "tucked away."


Matt Ray
Healing Hands for Haiti Foundation, Inc.
4212 Danube Court, Bakersfield CA 93308
661.588.4400 - phone
801.516.0168 - efax