FSRL as a translation factory!! Wau and Wow!

So long since I’ve written!  So many directions to go in for this update.

First, thank you to those who have been reading.   I have had some good reflections on this document of adventures, via my email.  I have a new email address now, as the St. Catherine emails address (joflynn@stkate.edu) will be phased out in May.  The new address is dean@haititrehab.org.

I don’t know if “why I haven’t been writing” is a legit (or appealing) subject for a blogpost, but anyway here is a window into why.  I think that here at FSRL we are overwhelmed with success!  Last year I could post every two weeks at least, and in a similar vein I was going to the beach every few weeks, and taking walks, and never missing meals…that was when our first-year students were in the nursing courses, with our responsibility for teaching limited to one course per term – Intro to the Rehab Professions.  This year we have a full program of courses to support for the sophomore students, and we still have the first-year light load as well.  The sophomore courses are taught as intensives: two weeks from 8 until 3 or 4 every day for a three-credit course, and four weeks for a six-credit course.  These are heavy courses, with daily content of up to 200 Power point slides (well, that is ONE proxy for measuring how much material the students need to absorb!).  Anatomy II (musculo skeletal), neuroanatomy, kinesiology, Physiology of Human Performance, etc.

We have dedicated (meaning committed-to-the-cause) faculty in the US writing the syllabi and lectures.  We have devoted (meaning bending-over-backward to make it happen) instructors, some here in Haiti (Thanks Rhonda, Ashley, and Rachel!) and many from the US (thank you all!) who come to campus and teach.

The most time-consuming factor that keeps me from posting to the blog, from the beach, from walks, and sometimes from sleep is the TRANSLATION!  Every document that comes in English (99% of our documents) needs to be translated and printed for the students to use in class.  We (our trilingual admin asst, Miselene Lafleur and I) produce every day at least a 45-page document, in French, and print the durn thing (working patiently with a touchy printer and intermittent electric current): five copies.  Basically, we are making the textbooks as we go.  I have started providing three ring binders to the students, and the one-inch thick ones won’t do it for a full course anymore.  Printing front and back.

Then we have daily quizzes to publish, and final exams.

I think FSRL is in the publishing business.

The process takes a long time, every day and on weekends too,  even with the excellent (and kind of incredible) help of Google Translate.  We always drop the English text into Google Translate first, but then we still have to review the documents word by word, and correct them.  The most common corrections are word order (modifier and nouns end up badly rearranged) and mis -translations of abstract terms.  (For instance, in a lecture on cardiac stroke volume, the translation always used the word for “stroke” meaning brain damage due to blockage or bleed from an artery).  (But sometimes the G. T. program does other strange stuff as well.  I think the medical content is actually slightly MORE accurate than general content:  maybe a lot of medical students have used it!)  By the way, I think it is helping my spoken French improve, to everyone’s relief.

Another casualty of this push to translate is that once each course is done, it is too tempting to jump into the next course’s content to try to get even a day ahead on translating.  HOWEVER, that means that now I have several completed courses that have not been completely graded, nor have the results been submitted to the registrar.  That can’t go on for too long!


So that might mean that next year it will go easier because the translations of content will be done. – But, wait!  We will have another whole set of new classes, for our third year (junior) students!  Yikes!


I am feeling a little freed up today, to post, because we have two days of translation done in advance, and I am in the plane on the way to the AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) conference.  Our OT academic committee will present a short course (one hour only) on Friday about the international inter-university collaborations that are making FSRL possible.  Here are our presenters; Diana Honorat, me, Kate Barrett, Jami Flick, Patty Coker-Bolt.  We’ll have an occasion for all FSRL OT faculty to meet up while at conference, for which I’m grateful!  One of the real pleasures and motivators for faculty at a university is the opportunity to interact with remarkable colleagues.  In the case of FSRL, the faculty come in sequence so most have not met each other.  This will be fun.


I may be able to take advantage of this little lull to post some other things that will be, I promise, REALLY interesting!  Stay tuned!


Bon Bagay – good stuff! Good stuff coming along, piling up, running over…

Oh, my.  So much happening, and all good, but it is hard to keep up!  I have found a few photos that show how much!  Stacks of supplies, gatherings of people.


Mary Jo Wagner and Merry Kaulbach, with a STACK of wheelchair cushions!

We had a well-received continuing education workshop last week, offered by two friends of Sammie Wakefield and Tamara Kittelson-Aldred of Eleanore’s Project, Peru!  It was on Wheelchair Assessment and 24 hour Postural Care.  Our five PT students attended (all the sophomores) as well as representatives of three clinics, and also five students from a French Canadian university, the U. de Sherbrooke, AND their two supervisors!  Most participants stayed over in the Guest House, where there was also an evening sewing session to learn how to make postural support cushions.


Rehab technicians, students, and Merry Kaulbach, in the middle of sewing!

Then, here’s another picture of a LOT of something in one place:


Huge baskets of veggies on the floor in the kitchen

I don’t know if you can tell how huge these baskets are.  For one thing, the carrots are huge!  Hmm. Maybe I have another picture too.  This is what you need to buy for 140 students AND their hungry professors!  The FSIL cooks are wonderful.  (We only have 13 of those students – still a small group.)



More groceries!

This is a good view too.  Lookit the plantains!   The box in the bottom right has, I am pretty sure, sugar cane for a dessert treat.


Bounteous gifts in the OT/PT office!

This has been neatened up a little, but I am posting it because it shows some other parts of our program coming into reality. You can see the FSIL skeleton, George, sitting in a corner chair that came from our Cardboard Carpentry labs.  The plastic bag in front has some Days for Girls kits made by Clauricianne and Genie, graduates of St. Vincent’s.  The zebra stripe bag has therapy supplies given by Shirley Celestin, OT from the US.  We have crutches and a walker!  We have toner!  So much good stuff!



I had a seat in the front at this commemoration of the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake. President Privert is at the podium, and our Episcopal Bishop, the Rt Rev Zaché Duracin, is to his left.


At the commemoration of the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, thanks to a visit from our wonderful friends, Joan and Richard Fleming, I was able to shake the President’s hand and hear these dignitaries speak, AND enjoy some orchestral music.  The ceremony took place outdoors in an amphitheater in Port-au-Prince, near to the UNEPH campus.  Some friends from St. Vincent’s were there also: Pére Fanfan and Maille!


Five sophomores, all PT students, wearing scrubs and heading out to their first Clinical Education experience, in January 2017.

And here is ANOTHER first:  our five sophomore PT students, ready to go in the van to the town of Grand Gôave, where they had their first clinical education week.  Linda Robinson, PT, supervised; Jami Flick, OT and Clin Ed Developer, accompanied; Angie Shepherd, director of the Missions of Hope clinic, hosted!

Sometimes it is just hard to get to the laptop to post. But I don’t want to hog all this remarkableness to myself…so I promise to write again soon!

A flood of THANKS, for deluges of BLESSINGS!

The end of one year and the beginning of another gives a chance to look backwards and then forwards.  My experience of the past year has been almost entirely looking forwards!  The next thing, then the next, then the next TWO things, then the next THREE, until I am always like the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, running as fast as I can to stay in the same place!

But these quiet snowy days here in our home in Kalispell have given me an opportunity to reflect and to realize the many many things we have to be thankful for.  All those urgent efforts were for good reasons:  showers of blessings, snowfalls of opportunities, floods of visitors all bringing good resources, good will, good prayers, good energy.   I am deeply grateful.

I want to say THANK YOU!

First, I want to thank my family: Donnel for everything, including living at FSRL last year and teaching English; Chase for teaching English too; and Aidan for working many hours on the website, brochures, and Facebook page.

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ESL – English as a Second Language – faculty: Donnel and Chase!


Photographer Aidan in Santa Cruz, California


Here’s Aidan again, working on our website!


Thank you to the selfless creativity of Janis Handte, president of HRF.  Janis caught the vision immediately several years ago and began to make it happen.  The answer to “Do we have the resources for X Y Z?” has always been, “We’ll have to find it somewhere.  Send in the request.”  When you ask Janis why she works so hard on this, she says that it is for Love:  she asks, “And who would NOT love the sweetness of these students?” 


Janis’s name in stones in the courtyard, signifying the students’ wish to honor her dedication to FSRL by inviting her to be the patron of the first entering class.

Thank you to Vice-President Hope Lennartz: Hope and her spouse Solange who decided to take a personal risk, lending HRF $10,000 from their retirement fund so that we could have a little room to move forward, in this first year and a half of tight money! 


Hope and Solange hamming it up at the Haiti Connection 2013 conference!

Thank you to the faithful behind-the-scenes work of Treasurer Judith Straub, and Secretary Tom Tamlyn.  Thank you to the HRF Board members:  Renee Brown, Marjorie Dimanche (Gabby), Catherine Manx Feintuch, Monique Germain, Yves Roseus, Sabrina Salvant.  Thank you to the remarkable Joseph Balogun, retired from the HRF board this year.


Thank you to the esteemed members of our very new governing board for academic oversight! The Governing Board has only met in full session once, but the formative members, all of those on the FSRL Advisory board, have been meeting and supporting this infant program since Feb. of 2014 (and, informally, even earlier).  The first advisors and Charter Members were Dr. Bernard and Dr. Joseph ( the Rector and Vice-rector of UNEPH), the Rev. Dr. Frantz Casséus (of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti), and Dr. Hilda Alcindor ( dean of FSIL).  All of those Advisors are now part of the Governing Board  They are now joined by myself (President of the Board), the Rev. Sadoni Léon (Treasurer), Mr. Richard Romage (Secretary, and also president of the Societé Haitienne des Physiothérapeutes, SHP),  the Rev. Frantz Cole (director of St. Vincent’s Center), Mme. Autumn Marshall (president of the Association Haitienne des Ergothérapeutes, AHE) as well as our academic committee members, Dr. Kate Barrett, Dr. Julie Booth, and Mme. Jami Flick. We are honored to have the Rt. Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin on the board as well, ex officio, as the diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Haiti.

A special thanks to Dr. Hilda Alcindor, Dr. Robert R. Joseph, Père Sadoni Léon, and Père Frantz Cole (Père Fanfan) for individual counsel that has been very helpful in the past few months.


Janet and Mme. Alcindor, in 2014 at the Haiti Connection conference.


Presidents of the OT and the PT associations, both participating on the FSRL governing board!


Dr. Bernard (second from left), Dr. Joseph, the Rev. Dr. Casséus, and the Rev. Sadoni Léon, at the Haiti Connection conference in 2013.


It is impossible to over-estimate the generosity of our donors.  Every one of them has had to accept on faith that the potential of this new program was strong and would be worthwhile:  that the needs of the people with disabilities in Haiti in fact are genuine, and that the path to addressing them lies through the method of building capacity by academic education of Haitian therapists.  And, in a vote of confidence, donors have accepted that the people pulling this effort together are both well-intentioned and well-prepared.  Our donors are visionaries, people who see what can be, even when it is not yet evident.   I think our donors are unusual people.

I love a little story that appears in the well-known account of Paul Farmer’s work in Haiti, written by Tracy Kidder, called Mountains Beyond Mountains.  The most generous and consistent donor for the medical work once said to Paul Farmer, “I think I should leave my company and come to Haiti, to work directly with the people who really need the help.”  “No”, said Paul, “For you to move to Haiti would be a sin.”  Ha!  The reason of course is that by staying in the US and running a prosperous company he was powering this life-changing effort.    

I don’t want to say what is or isn’t right for each of us to do – I don’t have Paul Farmer’s confidence!  But I really see his point, that the power source is as essential as the action on the ground.   You can’t do any work at all if you have no power source. I am grateful to all our donors, of large and small amounts, one-timers and repeat givers, with stipulations and without! You are on this team, making history!


Anna Marie Walter Faulstich, the mother of Dr. Ginny Shiller, for whom a scholarship has been given. Ginny and Bob Shiller have been early and generous supporters of FSRL.


Mary Elizabeth O’Dowd, grandmother of Maureen Jesuthasan, in whose honor a scholarship for an Episcopal student, a member of Ste. Croix parish, has been given.


I am deeply grateful to our core group of faculty members who have formed the nucleus of this curriculum for years now, starting in 2012.  Dr. Julie Booth has written the PT curriculum (and re-written and re-written, as needs and opportunities become clearer). 

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An informal English lesson: PT vocabulary! Julie with students from Quinnipiac and FSRL.

Dr. Kate Barrett has written and re-written the OT curriculum, holding to the big picture while making the changes needed for the practicalities of supporting learning needs of our initial very small group of OTs. 

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Dr. Kate Barrett holding Haiti flag, Fleur with Jamaica’s flag, Gabrielle with Canada’s, and Nedra who is from the UK with the flag of Barbados.

Mme. Jami Flick has designed and re-designed the clinical education curriculum, first for both OT and PT, but now assisted by Mme. Ruth Cross, PT from England, who shares the role of PT clinical ed developer.  [Jami!  Send photographs!]  


Ruth Cross, our PT clinical ed developer, at home in England.

 Dr. Patty Coker-Bolt reached out to FSRL in her capacity as a Fulbright Specialist, and has become essential to the team as she has undertaken the huge task of matching the volunteer faculty members with the specific courses to be taught.  Patty has also written our first successful research grant application: thanks to her, FSRL is now engaged in public health research that will be presented at the Yale Global Health conference in April 2017!  These faculty members epitomize service:  all of this focused and dedicated effort is above and beyond their already demanding jobs.  And they epitomize selflessness, leaving behind any issues of ego and entering into the spirit of “can-do” collaboration.

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Dr. Patty Coker-Bolt and Dr. Rick Bolt, on their first visit to the FSRL campus – taking a well-deserved break after serving Thanksgiving dinner in the cafeteria!

And then we have met so many new volunteer faculty members!  We have been blessed with generous course authors who have gone out of their way to take time away from their own work to write curricula, write course syllabi, and write lecture notes and power points.  Some of these senior faculty members have also made time to come to the FSRL campus to teach for a week during their own course sessions.  We have had courses written by Dr. Jack Thomas, Nazanin Karegar, Dr. Patty Coker-Bolt, Wadson Michel, Dr. Renee Brown, Dr. Christine Kasinskas, just in the past year of 2016! 


Anatomy II – Dr. Jack Thomas demonstrating structures of radial border of forearm


Our OT professor from Canada, Nazanin Karegar, watching the talent show at the Féte de L’Integration in October 2016.

More are currently in process.  We have had in-class instructors who have come to campus to present the courses, in the form of one-time seminars, two or three course sessions, a full intensive week, or more than one week!  The list is long and marvelous:  starting with Rose Bertha Baptiste, Haitian PT and assistant instructor, last fall and spring; Magda Cadet, Dr. Julie Booth with Courtney and Deanna, J.P. Aubourg, Dr. Teresa Plummer and the Belmont group, Consuelo Alzamora, Ashley Kahila, Sally Todd, Lydia Deputy Buisserith, Autumn Marshall, Rosie Flammang, Dirk and Karen Martin, Judith Roeder, [I’m going too quickly (not catching all the visitors!)] to Dr. Claudia Medeiros, Dr. Rhonda Nisbett, Dr. Rachel Zimmerman, Ruth Cross, Dr. Marc Pierre, Dr. Jean Dornevil, Linda Robinson – working with translators Steeve Auguste, Jonathan Auguste, Samuel Romelus, and our wonderful assistant Miselene Lafleur, who now translates as needed.  I KNOW I’ve missed faculty members names here – so sorry in advance!  You have been the highlights of our time at FSRL – I need to go back through this very active time to pull out all the names and all the gifts that have been given here!


Anatomy II – Dr. Rhonda Nisbett, students, and Jonathan Auguste, translator


Miselene Lafleur and Wadson Michel, perching on the edge of the pick-up truck for our ride to the Health Fair.

And then we have even more staff!  Starting with Rebecca Moise, who was our first and very personable administrative assistant here on campus, before the students even came, with the early and generous welcome of Evens Joicin.  Our staff now includes many of the FSIL staff who work with us, FSRL, for a few hours a week:   Mme. Shirley Dieuveille Mathieu, Mme. Guerlande Leriche, Mme. Dieuline Vincent, Mme. M. Dominque Laurent, Mme. Fabiola Lamothe, Mme. Paule-nise Stinful, and  M. Jean Rony Pierre Louis.  And our drivers!   M. Jacques Durandisse, M. Patrick Dumond, M. Eddy Nicolas, M. Mario Lauremy, M. Abner Lorries, M. Mitch Tercius.  And the many FSIL staff who help us all the time with kitchen, cleaning, gardening, and repairs, mentioning especially Mme. Dominque Etienne.  And the chaplain of FSIL/FSRL, the Rev. Sonley Joseph, who is also a friend and guide.

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M. Muracin Alcindor, (no relation to Dean Alcindor),  gardener


I want to thank the Mission Board of the Episcopal Church, especially David Copley, Elisabeth, Grace, and Yanick, for their vision in supporting this very specific kind of mission work.  Thank you especially for including us in the training with the wonderful group of missioners in the Young Adult Service Corps – rays of sunshine, every one of them!

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Janet and Donnel O’Flynn with Alan Yarborough and Eliza Brinkley, YASC missionaries to Haiti in 2016.


I am so grateful to friends here in Haiti who have gotten the vision early and have helped us remember why we are here – to the young women of St. Vincent’s who are themselves ambassadors for people with disabilities; to Gabby’s family and friends, Joel, Ritchy, Johanna, and Evarita too;  to Frantz Charles, rehab tech; and to Mr. Stevenson Millien, president of the Association of the Handicapped of Léogâne.


Janet with Judith, Clauricianne, and Dieumene, at the Fête d’Anniversaire de FSIL, January 2016

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Evarita, Rehab technician and friend, and Gabby’s son Richard, generously showing off Léogâne’s sights!

Thank you so much to Mr. Gerald Oriol, Jr., recent Secretary of State for Integration of Persons with Disabilities, and now the patron of our new upcoming first-year class!

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Dr. Gerard Oriol, Secretary of State for Integration of Handicapped Persons


Our students are the best.  They are bright, dedicated, humorous, flexible, persistent, and determined.  Thank you for your hard work on your studies!  For never giving up when things seem confusing, for pushing ahead to learn the next lesson, for going back to tie it all together.  Thank you to Roosevelt, the major of second year:, to Amendocia, Jean Laurent, Merly, Micza! 

Thank you to Emerson, major of first year, and to Bergedia, Nirva,  Sainfolia, Stephyole, Nicholson, Sam Paul, and Boaz.  With your hopes and your thoughts and your commitment, we will all be successful in this moment of making history!

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Micza and Merly with a marvelous infant!


Five second-year students, all in the PT degree program, kicking back for a moment in the lobby!


Our wonderful new first-year students, wearing the early-in-the-year uniforms in November, full of hopeful smiles!

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….?” Maybe yes, maybe no?

It’s been hard to remember that Christmas is coming!  I have been following the readings from the Common Lectionary which are all about the prophecies of the coming of the Lord, and those are especially powerful to hear in this place.  The messages from the prophets saying that the Lord will not tolerate the oppression of the needy by the wealthy have that definite ring of relevance.  But the idea that cocoa and Santa Claus and Christmas stockings are just around the corner is in fact something I forget for hours at a time….until I walk around the corner and see the lobby at FSIL/FSRL!  A beautiful tree, and a wreath!  I love this!  The tree went up the last week of November.  During the week it’s lighted.  Sometimes a tinny musical selection of carols plays as well.


A flashback to Dec. 8 LAST year, with Donnel by the Christmas tree in the lobby, so you can see just how tall it is. A beautiful and unexpected reminder, on a hot and sultry evening!


And here it is, this year, in the daytime.

The students here are also getting ready with gifts.  The nursing and rehab students will put on a health fair for local children in the neighborhood (and their families) on Saturday, the 18th of Dec.  Each student is charged with finding or buying a children’s outfit of clothing, a pair of shoes, and a toy.  The items were meant to be delivered to the secretary’s desk at the end of the past week.  Here’s a picture of the nursing faculty unpacking the huge box with the new dresses and the little pairs of trousers hanging over the edges.


Two nursing faculty members sort and count the outfits for children, overflowing from the box, in preparation for the Christmas Hope (Nwel Espwa) health fair on Saturday.

The fair is called “Nwel Espwa”  which is Kreyol for Noel Espoir, or Christmas Hope. Last year at the fair we did not run a station, but even so the nursing students identified two children who had very pronounced developmental delays.  We were able to write a referral for those two students to Respire Haiti, a rehab provider in the next town (Gressier) for evaluation and treatment.
This year, FSRL will have a table or a station, where children can be screened to see if they are meeting their developmental guidelines.  We’ll have a pediatric PT (Dr. Julie Booth) and three pediatric OTs (Dr. Patty Coker-Bolt, Mme. Shirley Celestin, and myself) to run the screenings.  Students of FSRL will be able to observe, and may be able to participate too.
Then, on the 19th of Dec., thanks so much to the Episcopal Mission board, I will be flying home!  I am guessing that cocoa and Santa Claus and Christmas stockings will suddenly seem plausible, on Tuesday the 20th of December!  We will have all our family in one place:  a great luxury these days and not to be assumed…..hurray when it can happen!
I will have two weeks in Montana, in the snow and in our new house, at home with Donnel.  Hurray again!
I wish for all of you a blessed time with family and friends, if not on the 25th of December then sometime, while we are still on this earth!
Merry Christmas!

Janet gets to give a mini-sermon!

3 December 2016:  International Day of the Handicapped

Our school, FSRL, together with two other organizations    (AHL, Association des Handicaps de Léogâne, and OISUH, Lafleur’s organization) presented a festivity: a fête, on Saturday at the AHL clubhouse. 

Many of the members of AHL have amputations, following the earthquake of 2010.  There are people without vision, and with hemiplegia, and a couple of members who are deaf too.

I am tickled to say that I was asked to give a brief talk, and since the FSRL students REALLY LIKED IT, I am reproducing it here!  (It was given in French, and Roosevelt translated it into Kreyol.)

“Good morning, and welcome to the Féte for the International Day of the Handicapped, which is celebrated in all the countries of the world!

Greetings to the president and members of AHL, the president and members of OISUH, the students of FSRL, and citizens of Léogâne.

I have a very important question today for all of us to consider.

The question is, “WHERE is the location of human dignity?”

Is it located in our right leg, for instance?  Or in our left?  Is it in one arm or the other?  Is it perhaps in our eyes, or in our ears, or in our nervous system?

No?  Then where?

It is located in our breath, in our very breathing, in our life itself, because we are made in the image of God, our Father.

Does God the Father have arms, legs, eyes, ears, and a nervous system?  NO!  But God does have breath.  God’s breath is the Holy Spirit.

So we all have human dignity, as God’s creation and his gift of life.

Congratulations on the International Day of Handicapped Persons.  Enjoy it, and may God bless you!”

What is coming along, in the new year?

It’s time to talk a little about how this academic year is developing, and what the second half will look like!

Donnel and I have decided that it is premature for me to move back home for good.  FSRL is still in the process of having “first-time-ever” events, and a degree of improvisation is still required!

Also, we did not succeed in making the transition to leadership by a new dean, as we had hoped in October (see earlier post).  Dr. Eugene has returned to his other work.  As he is not at FSRL anymore,  I have returned to my role as “Acting Dean” for the time being. I will be here in Léogâne for the full academic year, at least through mid-July 2017, with trips home as often as feasible.

I want to thank the Mission board of the Episcopal Church for supporting this work by paying for several round-trip airfares:  a very welcome help!

We have volunteer faculty from 14 universities, in the US, Canada, and the UK, assisting us in writing courses and coming to teach.  To orchestrate all that activity, Dr. Patty Coker-Bolt is back in residence for the month of December.  (She first came in June and set up the match between faculty and courses for the first half of the year and most of the second half too. She came back with her OT students from the Med. U. of South Carolina in September, for activities associated with the Days for Girls research grant too!)


Patty Coker-Bolt (in green) and her OT student, Harmony, here in Sept. 2016 for the Days for Girls research grant.

Second year students will have their first clinical experience in January, God willing!  Linda Robinson, PT from Pennsylvania, will be the clinical supervisor at Missions of Hope International nearby, in Grand Gôave.  Jami Flick, OT clinical program developer, will be here in January too!

Dr. Julie Booth, PT program developer, will be here in Léogâne on Dec. 15th!  And we will have a Skype meeting with Dr. Kate Barrett, OT program developer, while Julie and Patty are here. We are so very lucky to still have this team that has worked well together from the beginning – now making the dream become a reality!

We’re hoping to have an HRF (Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation) board trip to Léogâne in March – just starting the planning now.  We are open to planning more than one trip, if other people beyond the board are interested in coming as part of a structured program.

A long-delayed update!!

I am SHOCKED at myself for such an unconscionable delay in posting the news from Léogâne!  How did the time fly by so fast?


  • We have had some very interesting guests here, for one thing.  Back at the end of October we had a day visit from a group of nurses from Wisconsin, connected with the Haiti Project of the Episcopal Church there.  The visit was arranged by Ethan Casey, author and publisher, who wrote Bearing the Bruise: A Life Graced by Haiti.  Donnel and I had read the book after we visited the Secretary of State for Integration of Handicapped Persons, Gerald Oriol Jr., and received a copy as a gift.  The book gives an inside view of recent history, some of which is connected to the Episcopal network between parishes in Haiti and in the US.  I was glad to hear about the good work the nurses are doing with reopening and refurbishing a clinic that has fallen into some neglect.  A very pleasant visit!


    Three Nurses from Wisconsin, with the FSIL nursing student they sponsor (on the right side of the picture). Ethan Casey, author, is wearing the hat, in the back row. This photo also shows Mr. Wadson Michel, second from left, our instructor for Teaching & Learning.


  • During that same week we had a visiting instructor named Wadson Michel, psychotherapist and clinical social worker, who taught the first week of the course on Teaching and Learning, authored by Dr. Patty Coker-Bolt.  Watson was born in Haiti, and now lives and works in Boston in the public schools.  He’s helped to sponsor two students here, so it was something like having family come to stay for a week! The students are still commenting on the class:  for instance, when the review for one exam was taught in a game show format, a student said, “Behaviorist!  You are using behaviorist theory!”
  • Dr. Rhonda Nisbett, PT from Texas who lives in Haiti now, has come back to teach two days of our Neuroanatomy intensive.  She is a popular person with the second year students, who enjoy her depth of knowledge and her good humor.
  • Mme. Ruth Cross, PT from England, has been here for two weeks to present talks for our first Clinical Education conference (Nov. 17 and 18) as she is now the PT clinical program developer.  (Jami Flick is the OT clinical program developer.) Ruth has also taught another week of Neuroanatomy.  This is her second time with the students and they are happy to have her back in the classroom.


  • (When we don’t have a visiting instructor, the in-class lesson plans are taught by….me!  I have loved the teaching days, which is good because they have been many.  The group of second-year students is so small (five students)  and the students are so motivated that it is a pleasure to participate in their learning.)


CLINICAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE!  Happily, we had representatives of seven different clinical programs here on Nov. 17 & 18 to learn about the objectives and evaluations for clinical education for our students.  Lectures were written by Kai Kennedy,  PT faculty at Mary Baldwin College, and by Jami Flick, OT at U. of Tennessee Health Sciences Center.  AND for a special cameo appearance we had six students visit from the U. de Sherbrooke, Ottawa, Canada, along with their professors.  The Sherbrooke students (French-speaking) each explained one section of the eval form their University uses to mark progress. FSRL and U. de Sherbrooke are hoping for a more formal university partnership to provide clinical education with our students together!


Six French-speaking therapy students (3 OT and 3 PT) from the U. de Sherbrooke, Ottawa, presenting the student assessment on which they are evaluated during their clinical ed experience. Our PT clinical ed developer, Ruth Cross, is at the far table, first on the left.

HAVING FUN IN THE INTRO TO REHAB I CLASS ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON!I realize it can be dry to just read ALL those News updates.  I wish I could convey the liveliness of being inside a university program, day in and day out. 

For instance – on Friday afternoons we have a non-credit Introduction to Rehabilitation I .  The first-year students are eager to come, as it is the first inkling of their chosen professions, in the midst of so many classes with nursing students and faculty.  A couple weeks ago we gave an introduction to ACTIVITY ANALYSIS, a major aspect of OT practice.  That afternoon we tried out two activities used by OT for therapy :  games ( mandala) and crafts (finger-weaving with yarn).  The young women made their craft projects into hairbands, while the young men made theirs into gaudy-looking knitted ties!   It was a LOT of fun – and there were very good insights when we filled the white boards with activity analysis observations (e.g.: “Is this activity more identified with masculine or feminine characteristics?  Does this activity pose a challenge to fine motor skills? How could you modify it for someone without the use of their arms? Is it more relaxing or energizing?  Does it elicit competition?” and so on!)