Trinity Episcopal Cathedral has had a long relationship with Haiti. Along with the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, it is a relationship that goes back 25 years. Because of that, Trinity has taken more than a passing interest in events in that earthquake-ravaged country. The Cathedral is at 1100 Sumter Street and the Diocesan headquarters are at 1115 Marion Street both in Columbia.
The Rev. Joye Cantrell is the Cathedral’s Canon for Outreach and Education and has is the Cathedral’s point person on Haitian relief. With two trips to Haiti under her belt, she is familiar with the country, its conditions and its people. She is scheduled to make another trip this spring but that is on hold pending developments on the ground. Cantrell has visited the town of Cange where Partners in Health has established a hospital that is regarded as one of the best in the country. Until the hospital opened 5 years ago, according to Cantrell, Trinity Cathedral sent medical missions there every year. The hospital also has a Tuberculosis center as well and an eye clinic sponsored by the Jervey Clinic in Greenville. “They have services there that you’d be hard pressed to find anyplace else in Haiti.” Cantrell said.
Trinity and the diocese have worked with Father Pierre Lanfontante, an Episcopal priest who has built 17 schools in the country. The diocese and Cathedral have worked closely with him over the years, particularly on a K-12 school in Cange. Part of that school is currently used for a triage area for the hospital.
Cantrell’s main source on the disaster is Partners in Health, an organization based in Boston which has worked in Haiti for many years. She also has been in touch with Jackie Williams, who is a member of Christ Church Episcopal in Greenville and now lives in Haiti. According to Williams, the town of Cange is flooded with refugees fleeing the chaos in Port-Au-Prince. “That will be a continual problem” says Cantrell. “They need to get people out of the dirty inner cities or people will die of infections if they don’t.” She also said that several doctors who work at the hospital were in Port-Au-Prince for the weekend and has been there since the earthquake.
The critical need right now, according to Cantrell is medical supplies, particularly antibiotics. “If they don’t get more antibiotics, they are going to have what (CNN’s) Sanjay Gupta calls ‘the second round of death.’ People are going to die of infections, which they are beginning to do.” Another need, according to Cantrell will be prosthetics, “because most everybody will have a limb gone.”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author is a member of Trinity Cathedral and is a member of its outreach committee which oversees the Cathedral’s Haitian relief efforts.
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