Emergency Communications and Leprosy Relief Project

LOTM Executive Director Dale Long made a what may have been a risky trip to Haiti earlier this Spring.  It is well known that in addition to collaborating with and supporting Radio Lumiere, Least of These Ministries focuses on the poor and unmet needs in Haiti.  Before the trip Dale learned that the major leprosy clinic in Haiti had been unable to get medicines for almost two years.  Patients were worsening and experience horrific symptoms.  New patients have gone without treatment.  Dale was determined to try to do something, anything that was possible to address this need, God willing.

Chris and Dale
Chris and Dale.

This was a different kind of trip for Dale and LOTM.  He was invited to attend high-level meetings involving Haiti’s version of our Stateside 911/Emergency communications.  This specifically involved HAM (Hobby of AMateur) radio.  He was met at the airport by an armor-plated diplomatic limousine.  He attended meetings with diplomats, ambassadors and government ministers.  There was one very important official that Dale had known and helped in the past; he found the perfect time to approach him and gave him specific written information about the bureaucratic challenges for the clinic. Happily, the next day the leprosy clinic was contacted by the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland to find out how many doses of medicine that were needed.  We know from the Bible that Jesus had compassion on the lepers.  In the 21st century we like to think that leprosy is a disease of the past.  However, in Haiti leprosy is still a real concern. The success realized, praise God, in obtaining much needed medicine made the whole trip worthwhile. Port-au-Prince is still extremely dangerous; there was continued kidnapping and violence but God provided both security for Dale and his team, and much needed relief for the patients at the leprosy clinic.

After that, Dale’s team traveled to Cap-Haitien and took a side trip to Ouanaminthe.  The purpose was to install an emergency communication station there.  The local contact was a Catholic priest, Father Bourdeau, and it turned out that he was director of a large school complex.  Dale and his partner Chris were able to install the station and had some success, but there was continuing trouble with signal interference.  All was working but the transmission could not be heard very well because of noise. Dale and Chris traveled across the border to Dominican Republic in search of ferrites and a large power supply for an old radio that another priest brought to them.  Dale was able to make good use of his Spanish and after being directed from one person to another, he finally found an amateur radio operator named Ramon.  This was important, because the ham radio guys always know where to find things and also for friendship.  He took a ham radio card to meet Ramon and they had a nice long chat about friendship and ham radio spirit. This new radio buddy accepted Father Bourdeau as a friend and volunteered to help repair the old radio. He also offered to give other help to his new friend.  It was important to have an American like Dale to provide a good introduction between Ramon, a Dominican, and Father Bourdeau who is Haitian.  If some Haitian guy showed up on his doorstep, the friendship may have never developed. 

Fr Bourdeau, Chris, Ramon, and Dale.
Father Bourdeau, Chris, Ramon, and Dale.

After returning to Haiti, the team learned how Father Bourdeau was a real spark plug and he already was quick to trouble-shoot the interference problem.  He encouraged other priests, including his headquarter office. 

This trip was blessed by the prayers of many, and it was very successful.  Dale got to see Peniel who is living with pain. Because his visa had expired (this was anticipated) we are trying to get him to a hospital outside of Haiti where he can hopefully receive treatment. This may be costly, but should be cheaper than bringing him to the USA (if we could even get him Stateside) with no insurance coverage.

After returning from Haiti, a long-scheduled test showed that there was serious blockage in Dale's heart, and he was sent directly to the hospital for heart surgery.  We praise God that this was addressed in time and that nothing happened in Haiti while he was working on rooftops and climbing mountains (slowly). 

Thank you all for your prayers and your support of our numerous efforts to help the needy and abandoned people of Haiti.