It is hard to believe another year has passed by so quickly. As we look back we can chart ups and downs in many areas of our work. One group of projects near and dear to us is our Solar Water Wells and School Hot Lunch programs in Haiti.
Still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Haiti was again pummeled by Hurricane Irma this autumn. But they were luckier than other islands that were hit. The majority of flooding and damage was in the low-lying valley floors. While homes and villages were damaged, only one person was reported lost. Unfortunately, most crops were destroyed, increasing the food crisis for the country. The villages where our programs operate were left relatively unscathed.
On the upside, with your wonderful financial support, we have increased the number of children to whom we feed hot lunches. Beginning with this school year, we are now feeding 6,000 children and teachers each school day. We also completed our seventh Solar Water Well. This well posed challenges not faced before. We had to find a suitable source of fresh water then design a pump system to get it up a mountain to the village of Banane. We are blessed with a wonderful engineer, Herbie Rogers, who designed the process and oversaw the final installation. Now another village in remote Haiti has fresh, clean, healthy water in their lives.
This year we experienced an even larger outpouring of love and support for our annual Walk for Kids. We had more participants than ever and your support of this event funds all our programs.
We also joined Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times in celebrating their 35th Anniversary in operation. When you consider how much has changed in the treatment of childhood cancers in those 35 years, our hope is that in another 35 years there will be no need for such a camp.
This year we focused on “Everyday Heroes” – nurses who go beyond just their work duties. We have kept you abreast of challenges of nursing and volunteer opportunities and advances. Nurses volunteer everyday in their communities and neighborhoods, as well as responding to natural disasters around the world.
Sadly, we bid farewell to a beautiful angel who touched the lives of hundreds of children around the world. Betty Kolbeck volunteered on over 20 missions with ReSurge International, one of our partners in our Community of Compassion. She traveled to Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. She also served on Barco’s Nightingales Foundation’s Nurses Advisory Board. We were honored to award her posthumously, the 2017 Barco’s Nightingales Foundation Award of Excellence.
Finally, the feedback we receive from you, our loyal followers and supporters, gives us the momentum to continue forward into the coming year. We will continue to work towards a positive perspective of Nursing, highlighting our everyday heroes. We will continue to feed and hopefully expand the hot lunch meals in Haiti. Solar Water Well #8 is always a possibility and support to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times and ReSurge International will continue.
As we look back over the year, we are truly grateful for all that has been accomplished despite natural disasters and personal losses. We look forward to an even more successful 2018 and thank each of you for your continued support.
~Michael and Frida Donner