Dame Marie, Haiti.. A Collaboration and a New Direction

Back in October, 2011, three of our veterans traveled to four cities in Haiti over a week’s time, and visited ten hospitals. We were looking for a place we could adopt as our own, and then work on a long term basis to help the community learn and grow by teaching Haitian medical staff how to do what we do. This trip is detailed elsewhere on our blog. We were blessed to end up in Dame Marie, Haiti, a rural fishing village on the far Western shores of this country. It is isolated by the difficulties of travel in getting there. A small airfield that takes only small planes is one way, or by boat from Port au Prince, and then to take a truck by difficult roads to finally get to this location. When we left for home after that visit in October, we each felt there was something magical and spiritual in that community of 40,000 people. This was confirmed when we returned there in February, 2012 for our first mission. The community fully embraced our presence, and we were able to restore their operating room to working order, as well as perform thirty plus surgeries that week.

The reason why everything went so smoothly was due to the presence of Pierre Antoine, the hospital administrator, and a firm advocate for his people and town. We stayed in his boyhood home, and he made an awesome attempt to have our every medical need answered as well as kept us safe, and well looked after. His family has lived in Dame Marie for generations, and his moving story of his community can be found in the “News” section of our website. There was an immediate bond between Pierre and our whole mission team, and so when we returned home we decided to invite him and members of his family to join us in Hartford, Connecticut for a dinner, and then the following day a tour of Saint Francis and a visit with our Administration. This visit happened last weekend, and was much enjoyed by all. The two  photos below show his family and some of our veteran staff.


From Left to Right: Christina Antoine, Nina Antoine Hilaire, Pierre M Antoine, Anne-Christele Antoine, Liliane Antoine Aly MSW



From Left to Right: Maggie Levasseur RN, Christina Antoine, Nina Antoine Hilaire, Pierre M Antoine, Michael R Bourque MD, Anne-Christele Antoine, Liliane Antoine MSW, Sister Judy Carey, R.S.M, PhD, and Barbara Bourque RN.



The Antoine family is actually rather large, and Pierre has three older sisters and three younger ones as well. They have a family Foundation that helps to support the Dame Marie community. In fact Pierre has been instrumental in getting a school built, putting paving stones on the main streets of town, and overseeing the rebuilding of the sea wall after the last hurricane. Several of his family members live in NYC and some in Port au Prince. But everyone I talked to, spoke of how their  heart was still in Dame Marie, and every chance they get, they go  back there for a vacation and a renewal of their family spirit.

By the end of the visit here at Saint Francis, we had a clear plan about how to proceed on multiple fronts to try and help this community. We are to return in October of this year to meet with the Ministry of Health and other community leaders on how we can provide an ongoing regular presence. The goal is to have Haitian residents, or specialists in surgery and OB/GYN come and serve with us on the weeks we are there. We are also going to work on finding the funding to support a Haitian surgeon, for that community. Pierre and his family have also made an extraordinary offer of donating land on their former family plantation to help us build a Saint Francis Mission House. This will be investigated further on our visit in October, 2012. This would represent a symbol that our commitment is serious, long term, and represents a partnership between the community of Dame Marie, the Antoines, and our mission program. A great step forward for the better health of this community in great need.



    Looking for partners and organizations interested in investing in fishing and processing of our organic products (cocoa, coffee, breadfruit, cassava, various fruits). Keep me informed with your long term goals.

    Jay McEnroe

    I would like to take the opportunity to thank you guys for the help you have been providing to the people of this beautiful region in Haiti called Dame-Marie.

    As a small rural fishing village in Haiti, Dame-Marie has many issue
    It has many issues such as difficulties to travel there. However, don’t let that fool you. The town has very beautiful. This article at: http://www.haitiobserver.com/blog/town-of-dame-marie.html helps me to understand better the region.

    Your attempt to bring clear water to the community is priceless. God bless you

    I just love Dame-Marie and the people there. Dame-Marie is quite a developed place with well paved roads. A lot of potential is offered by the sea and land. People are involved in a number of professions and trades. The main economic activity of Dame-Marie remains fishing and agriculture. Here is where you can read more about this beautiful region called Dame-Marie: http://www.haitiobserver.com/blog/town-of-dame-marie.html. To make the fishing business more profitable, they need more up to date fishing equipments. The sea there is a beautiful sight with crystal clear blue waters.

    Hello, we have a 15 year old daughter adopted from Dame marie at the age of 3. We would like to go to Dame Marie to visit her famely. Is it safe to go there ? Can we find hotl or something else to stay ? …

    Best regards.


    christophe sully:

    I also a native of Dame-Marie. I was 16 years old when I left Dame-Marie to continue my secondary education. Port-au-Prince was a hell for many of us who left our hometown. Now I am a citizen of U.S.A. Still I am continuing to live the prospect of the beauty of Dame-Marie. Thanks to Pierre Antoine, Jude Senatus and many others. Thank for the works they are been doing. Many more need to be done.

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