Those of you who have been to Haiti know that feeling you have when the airplane touches down at Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport and you realize that in only a few minutes the doors will open to the beautiful country of Haiti. Some of you have made this trip once, others many times. One thing is certain–Haiti is a place that cannot be forgotten. This is true for Tom Succop, who has been traveling to Haiti since 2006.
A Love for Haiti with Roots in Reforestation
Tom’s first introduction to Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti was through his interest in Haiti Friends‘ Haiti Timber Reintroduction Project (HTRIP), which is responsible for the planning and management of reforestation activities in 60 communities throughout the HAS service area. As a retired landscape architect, Tom has always had an interest in stressing the importance of environmental education and he is committed to environmental sustainability.
Tom looks forward to his yearly visits to HAS to see first-hand the work being accomplished with his support. His trips occur in March before the annual stateside April Board meetings (allowing him to gather current information and updates) and in November, when the Board meets at HAS in Haiti. His growing interests include hospital infrastructure, family planning and maternal health, long-term strategic planning and the development of management capacity.
Taking Stock of the Situation in Haiti
During his trips, Tom always carves out time to meet with Jimmie Tinsley, Physical Plant Director, to get a tour of the facilities and evaluate infrastructure needs. This past March, very importantly, Tom also visited HAS’ Integrated Community Services Club de Jeunes (Youth Club — providing education to adolescent boys and girls on general reproductive health, contraceptives, and what family planning really means), and met with Rachel Fort, HAS’s Director of Programs, Partnerships, and Quality Improvement. Tom’s hope and reason for his visits are to try to help the organization as a whole take stock of the its operations and to continue to plan strategically for its future. Tom says, “Every time I return from Haiti to the U.S., I realize that I just left reality.”
It is only through the support and guidance of community members like Tom that HAS is able to continually provide outstanding and sustainable care to citizens of the Artibonite Valley. We are grateful to Tom and his family for supporting HAS!