Supplies from the US help Haiti recover

Paul reads his letter of thanks to America. / Teresa Snow

On the last day of Teresa Snow's visit to Haiti more relief supplies arrived.

Two semi-trucks rolled into the compound greeted by dozens of Haitian men eager to find a job unloading them. But American volunteers heading to help the patients were unsure whether what's inside will actually help them.

That's because the Hospital Sacre Coeur in Milot, Haiti has already received too many donations to count. But some of the items sent across the ocean are old, dirty and outdated.

Volunteer Clair McCormick from Lancaster General Hospital in Pennsylvania explains what will happen to one box of medicine, "Now this expired in January of 2010 so what's going to happen is we're going to have to take this and throw it out."

In other cases there's too much of a good thing, like a mountain of hand sanitizer.

Clair is looking for nutritional supplements like Ensure, and vitamin C pills.

In the pediatric unit Suzanne Strathman, a nurse from Mid-Missouri is hoping for something else. "I would wish that there would be plenty of diaper wipes."

After digging through the supply rooms another volunteer found what she needed, more canes. "I'm pretty sure everything we need is in there if we can just find it."

Any day now the hospital is expecting a huge donation from US doctors. CRUDEM Board Member Charles Dubuque points to a concrete pad that will be the site of a prostetics lab. "It's a 40-foot container, that's been retrofitted with flooring, lighting, air conditioning and all the equipment that will be needed to build prosthetics on site." US volunteers will also teach Haitian staff at the Hospital Sacre Coeur how to make them.

But remember these women concerned that getting a new leg was just the beginning of their journey to a new life? The hospital plans to send patients off with enough money to buy food for a week's journey to Port-au-Prince and a new portable home.

Hospital Medical Director Dr. Harold Previl is looking for camping tents that could hold three to four people.

They are so important because these patients could live there for the next year. But Dr. Previl says that's a good thing because the patients still fear the concrete of the buildings that fell down around them. Previl believes donations of camping tents will be psychologically life saving.

In a country where people have so little, they freely give their thanks, like 12 year old Paul who is learning to say it in English. His letter to America reads like this: Hello, my name is Paul. I would like to hope that God bless you America and I thank you for your help. If it is wasn't for God and America we would not be here. America is a good people. Congratulations. Thank you very much, Paul.

You can help the people of Haiti by joining in a local fundraiser. "A Taste of Haiti" will be June 3 at the Columbia Blue Note.