Phyll and Howard Robson, UK
When we heard of the disastrous earthquake that struck Haiti on 12th January 2010, we immediately thought that TFT would have much to offer to the traumatized population, after the initial rescue and emergency interventions.
Haiti had already had a troubled history, being occupied by European colonists, the extinction of the native population, and replacement by African slaves, when plantations and logging provided great economic benefit for the colonists, but at a cost to later generations of Haitians, deforestation causing soil erosion and mud-slides. Despite achieving independence over 200 years ago, the country has been marred by violence, instability, poverty and corruption; there is a lack of infrastructure and susceptibility to hurricanes.
When the opportunity to visit Haiti came later in the year, on behalf of ATFTF, we were in a position to volunteer. We were to be part of a mission led by Dr Jean-Murat Carolle (Angels for Haiti), which was part of a larger medical mission led by Dr Charles René.
We immediately thereafter began collecting supplies for the visit, especially as part of the project was to enable the children to express themselves through art; this included pens, paints, brushes, books and paper, as well as some medical and dental supplies and toiletries. We were particularly grateful for the help of our dentist and family and friends.
We were also grateful for the provision of the TFT algorithm manual in French from Suzanne Connolly, which we modified slightly for the local requirements, and printed sufficient copies for our expected training sessions. We managed to obtain a reasonable rate from the airlines for our considerable luggage excess.
Essential to visiting a country such as Haiti is to understand the local culture, attend to personal safety and health (vaccinations and anti-malarial drugs). We attended to these issues as much as possible, to maximize our contribution to the mission and not be a burden. Read more