October 28th, 2016
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DOERS is a little, all-volunteer charity based in Sacred Heart Church, Boise, ID whose mission is so that children may grow up healthy and strong beginning with the health of mothers in a spirit of collaboration. We try to follow in the charitable spirit of the great St. Dominic.
So far this year we’ve helped distribute approximately $550,000 worth of medical supplies (US wholesale value) mostly in Honduras but also in Guatemala, Haiti, Uganda, Mexico and America! Some highlights are that we helped reach almost 9,000 pregnant and lactating women with prenatal multivitamins, 400,000 children with antihelminthic medicine (albendazole, take that worms!), and helping to build a clinic to defeat the tuberculosis. This year we are reaching about half a million people, crazy huh?!
It is only thanks to amazing partners, teachers and YOU! DOERS works with other NGO’s and the public sector to improve efficiency and access to healthcare around the world. Lately we’ve been trying to learn how to help locally so there are nascent domestic projects which are kind of exciting.
Would you like to help? Here are three easy ways:
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Volunteer! Lots of opportunities! Want to help make an alien musical? Prepare dinner at a soup kitchen? Go to Honduras in July? Learn how to order supplies? Go mountain climbing? Grow healing plants? …please contact me and let me know:)
Donate! The San Jose clinic needs a roof, and Kinderfeeding program is more important than ever since school lunches were cancelled this year due to the budget crisis. Click here to donate, and thank you!
My mom and I went to Honduras, and things went really, really well.
The main goal of the trip was to meet the new Medical Director of Cristo Salva, Hillary Hadden, and make best friends with her. We kind of wanted to maintain access to the warehouse and thus most importantly the vitamins because otherwise it would have been a disaster. The first full day spent a bit of time reading and sleeping on a bench waiting to catch minutes with Hillary. We gathered they needed blood glucose testing strips so we shared. Nathanael from USAID came by and got nebulizers. Over dinner we explained that we felt it important enough to come and meet in person to be supportive and continue cooperation. That worked pretty well, and it turned out there were shelves and shelves of children’s vitamins that needed to get out. There is a special feeling when it is mission green light; help kids under 5.
The next day we went to the USAID office for a meeting. They surprised us with awards from the municipalities of Proteccion and Azacualpa, Secretary of Health and MAVAQUI for helping 2,979 pregnant and lactating women, and 4,906 children under 5. For me it’s a great symbol that cooperation works and should continue, and I’ve needed a way to say thank you to Pat Havener. USAID received 2,832 bottles of 180tabs children’s vitamins, 10,000 doses of albendazole and 100lbs of various medicines, supplements and supplies.
We drove to MAMA Project (www.mamaproject.org/) where they were very excited to incorporate micronutrients for kids under 5. We gave them 986 bottles 180tabs vitaminas para los ninos, and 50lbs of other supplies. They gave us 40,000 doses of albendazole, and they would have given us 100,000 but I didn’t think there was enough time to distribute that much, but maybe in January. They said we can stay at their mission house whenever we’re in the country, and gave us chaya trees. I think I might offer to give them our sources of medicine if they give us theirs’ because I might have a plan.
We dropped off 7,000 doses of albendazole at the clinic, loaded the car with vitamins, prenatals and school first aid supplies and drove to Copan Ruinas. We visited Ellen whose program has matured a lot, and she is thinking about changing the name of her organization from Project School Supplies to something that describes what she does now. She has a greater focus on health, and we gave her 720 bottles of kids vitamins, 360 bottles of prenatals, 11,000 albendazole, and 100lbs of other supplies. She might build a clinic in the community of San Jose which is a Maya Chorti village on the other side of the border in Guatemala. Ellen would provide the materials estimated to cost ~19,000USD and construction oversight, the community would provide the labor, the government would provide a doctor and nurse, we would provide the supplies, and it would provide services for a population of 4,000 people.
Randomly a nun met us who works with one of our partners, the Nutrition Center run by the Diocese in El Progreso, and we gave her 168 bottles of vitamins and 2,000 albendazole. Her name is Sr. Teresita and I guess she is pretty famous around Honduras for helping people so it was quite an honor to meet her.
We visited the centro de salud in Copan Ruinas and met the doctors and nurses. They have prenatal health education classes whose attendance has increased about five-fold since we’ve started providing them with prenatals, and other things that they use as an incentive for women to come to check-ups. We visited a new children’s home that is in the approval process to become an orphanage, and we visited Delsy’s orphanage where we saw little Maria who was abandoned as an infant and barely survived her first year but is now four (see attached photo.)
During the last two days we took 360 bottles of prenatals to the maternal clinic in San Marcos, visited the feeding program in Tejeras which is adjacent to the Quimistan dump, and gave Maynor Castillo of the Agape Foundation and left 384 bottles of vitamins and a box of prednisone. We spent the remainders of the day hanging out with the family, playing soccer with kids, and roasting coffee. We brought back about 60lbs of coffee that I’m trying to sell for $10/lb if anyone needs coffee. Our friend Julito who we are supporting through university with a $300 a month scholarship is thriving. The morning before we flew out we visited the artisan market, and bought art, crafts, machetes, and cigars for the auction at the next fundraiser.
Julito traveled to Tegucigalpa and delivered 7,500 albendazole to Catholic Relief Services who do deworming on a community-based approach so besides treating helminth infections empowering CRS is good because it allows people to see a doctor if they have any other problems.
If you are still reading this then THANK YOU! I think this is one of my most boring updates ever. We’ll have helped over 40,000 people in a week so good job team. In a week and a half we are going to the Navajo Nation. Patty returns from Africa tomorrow, and we will have our Honduran Dinner Dec. 8–it will be really great! Thank you for everything!
Long live charity,
Blessings and peace,
Friend of DOERS, Carol McGee, distributed prenatal vitamins in Myanmar on behalf of DOERS. Read her story and see photos:
“Dropping-off Vitamins in Burma (Myanmar) by Carol McGee
A trip to Burma and Cambodia were never on my list of places to visit until my daughter Julie and her husband Craig moved to Yangon (Rangoon) in August of 2010 (2 days after they were married). An invitation to spend Christmas with them and Craig’s parents sent me on an adventure of a lifetime. When I told Rob Turner, one of our SH parishioners and founder of DOERS (Dominican Overseas Education & Relief Services) that I was going to Burma, he excitedly asked me if I could deliver pre-natal vitamins to a contact of his in Yangon. Sounded like a great deal of intrigue, and before I could think about it, I said “Yes. How do I do it?”
Burma is an underdeveloped country ruled by an authoritarian military regime, sanctioned by many countries including the United States for human rights violations and political oppression. While it is a resource-rich country, its people suffer from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, corruption, and rural poverty. Despite Burma’s emergence as a natural gas exporter, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated under the regime’s mismanagement, leaving most of the public in poverty, while military leaders and their business friends exploit the country’s ample natural resources. Public funding for health and education is among the lowest in the world. One hundred bottles of vitamins would help 50 women carry and deliver 50 (+) healthy babies.
Needless to say, I had been very worried about my daughter living there and my traveling there alone. Now, I was a little worried about carrying “drugs” and getting through customs and security. My imagination had me being detained or arrested. That would really mess up my Christmas! But Rob coached me on what I was to say and gave me documentation stating that the vitamins were gifts from the people of the United States. Surprisingly, my daughter said she thought we could get them through. Probably the worst that could happen is that they would be confiscated. It was worth a try!
All went well until I tried to go through customs in Yangon where I was pulled out of line and asked what I was doing with 100 bottles of pre-natal’s since they obviously weren’t for personal use. I smiled (lots of smiling and bowing) and explained as Rob had coached me, “these are gifts from the people of the United States to help pregnant women.” “Sorry,” they said, “You no have permission; you need form!” I think it helped that I didn’t understand most of what they were telling me. I just kept saying over and over again “gift, gift, gift”. After discussions with several agents, and multiple examinations of the bottles, the customs clerk finally said, “we let you bring now, not again!” Ok – I’ll remember that! And I just kept bowing and smiling and thanking them.
The next day, I met with Fr. Robert Hauzamung and delivered the vitamins to him. Fr. Robert is the son of one of our parishioners, Lucas Langh & Angela Neam and the brother of Sister Elizabeth who visited Boise to see her parents in 2010 and helped with religious education in the parish during that summer. He was very grateful and very excited to hear news of his parents. He would make sure the vitamins found their way to some nuns who ran health clinics outside of Yangon.
I spent a week in Burma and another week in Cambodia. It was like a National Geographic expedition. My experiences there — the things I saw, the people I met—were life changing. ”
Dear friends, how are you?
So we went to Honduras and it was pretty great; here are some pictures. It was the first time that volunteers had come with us since March 2008 thus fulfilling a strategic imperative to replicate knowlege of the DOERS operations (working with agencies, customs, knowing partners, roads, addresses, espanol…) We called the Spring 2012 expedition “Operation Learn,” and the volunteers were really great and amazing and beautiful. The group dynamic was very supportive and happy so I’m very appreciative of the time. The next generation of charity ninjas will no doubt do lots of heroic work.
In terms of helping people we distributed about $250,000 worth of medicine and supplies which will help about 60,000 people. We distributed enough prenatals for almost 6,000 women for a year which means that in the last six months we have helped at a minimum 15,000 pregnancies. We distributed 40,000 doses of antiparasitic medicine. The partner relationships, and the partners are doing really (I’ll have to detail that in a seperate report). We tried to incorporate homeopathic and herbal remedies clinically. The first Honduran moringas have sprouted. Many thanks to Dr. Roger!
Personally this was the first trip to Honduras from which I came back without being wiped out financially which is super, but practically it’s good because when working with partners we could say that we look forward to many more years of cooperation without having a sense of underlying doom and immenint peril.
The next mission will be Patty going to Africa so that’s something exciting to look forward to. Also onMay 14 we are having the Spring benefit fundraiser at the Red Lion Downtown in Boise and we really want that to be a success and help us help lots of people in the second half of the year. Please help to make our event succeed (please contact hero sister @ email@example.com for more details.)
Hopefully we’ll be able to send more supplies and help to Myanmar soon; our partner Fr. Robert just got a promotion to Superior (please contact my Dad for more information.)
I hope this finds everyone well, and thank you all so much for everything. I think we’re doing really well, and I’m very happy to work together to help more people more in the future. Please let me know if there is anything I need to do or be aware of… Thank you!
Phil came home from Iraq where he was doing top-secret Rambo missions. Then he put all the life saving medicine that we got from Kingsway Charities into plastic bins but not before photographing the labels to glean all the information. Then Phil drove me to Chicago; it kind of set the trip Phil, Rob, truck, Infowars, supplies, long long roads and sometimes donuts. The glorious hospitality of our family in Illinois was a blessing and playing with the kids there prepared us for lifting the many boxes to come.
Our most important partner is Cristo Salva Pat Havener. She is a special hero and has taught us lots of things. She, her husband Gary, and Jenn O’Brien let us stay at their house which was home base. At the start of the trip an important thing was helping organize the clinic pharmacy and bodega. Within the bodega was the pyriamid of prenatals which was still a very large pile. The boat was coming with more and so we had to get them to the women.
It rained relentlessly, but Phil drove fast. Pickup load after pickup load of supplies found there way into the hands of doctors, nurses, health workers and administrators. Eventually because a lot of organizations are headquartered in the capital, Tegucigalpa, the trip degenerated into countless returns (four) to that wretched city, but when the dust settled the prenatals were gone; except for one box…
We got out roughly $160,000 worth of supplies. This includes 58,000 doses of deworming medicine which is three times more than we’d ever done in a trip, but still not enough… parasites! We did ~3.2 million prenatals which is as much as all the prenatals that we’ve distributed in the previous nearly three years combined times five! It took over two years to help the first thousand pregnancies, and then it took less than a year to help the next 10,000. I still need to compile the list of everything with all the partners, but for example the stuff we got to Casa Aurora was staggering; just to list it is pages long. New organizations that we worked with are MAMA Project, USAID and Catholic Relief Services. I will write a separate Kinderfeeding update, but ultimately, though indirectly, the trip will have benefited over 50,000 people maybe 70,000 (considering that with albendazole it’s easy to help lots of people.) Not to overstate our role; we’re an intermediary niche of bigger things.
It cost DOERS roughly $2,000 for medicine and $2,000 for the truck which makes for a favorable cost benefit analysis. However, it was more than we had and DOERS is currently in the red, broke, wiped out. But with all the gloom, dire urgency and neverending struggle of the charity I’m still glad we helped all those women. Actually, really really glad and thankful! We completed 10,000 Healthy Baby Campaign! DOERS mission is to help kids grow up healthy and strong, and so I think it’s like a public health project. To guage success quantitatively October 2011 trip was the most successful trip ever. See we have this network of partners now that’s good, and if you look at the catch areas of everyone then the percentage of Honduras that we can cover is growing. Also our ability to get supplies has improved so those two things are pretty valuable.
The network of partners reaches >120 health centers, 10 clinics off the top of my head, 3 hospitals, feeding centers, 32 Peace Corps volunteers. There are 25 births per 1,000 people in Honduras a year. Given a population of 8 million then there are 200,000 births in the whole country. Given prenatals for 10,000 women that covers ~5% of the total. On average there will be 10,000 births in a catchment area 400,000 people. I think that all the people we know serve more than 400,000 people so our capacity is that we can reach more women. I think the new goal should be all of them.
I hope everyone is having a beautiful day. Here are some pictures from the trip, I picked ones that were indicative–truck and boxes:
It’s a fundraiser fraught with extreme danger for to help 10,000 Healthy Baby Campaign reach women of all the corners of the Earth. Caring about women’s reproductive health is cool.
Our friend Ann Turner was going to Cambodia which is one of the best countries in the whole world in August; wanting to help women and babies we bought some prenatal vitamins and so Ann took them to a children’s hospital in Siem Reap, and from there they found their way to the Women’s Resource Center Cambodia. Then we took prenatals to Tracy Haworth of Genesis World Missions in Boise, ID which is something we’ve been doing for a little more than a year, and we found out that the vitamins we’ve been sending have found their way to the regional hospital in Malindi, Kenya, historic port city on the Indian Ocean.
We applied and were accepted as an approved ministry with Kingsway Charities. It was a really big deal. We were going to have a board meeting or committee meeting, but lacking a quorum we just ordered meds. There was a donated order (free) and a purchase order, and so we ended up getting ~$30k worth of medicine which we took to Honduras in plastic tubs. It’s the most we’ve ever brought down. Great order!