Dr. Bob’s note on Christophe’s role in our medical program.
One of the most significant and personally satisfying results of our long years of serving in medical missions to Haiti has been the happy and gratifying witnessing of several young people who have crawled out of the poverty and ignorance surrounding them to make something of themselves. With a little help from Betty and I, along with several others who have lent financial support to such youngsters through their association with MOL, we’ve been blessed to have watched as many of these kids grew into mature adults to become medical technologists, nurses, and even doctors. More importantly, they’ve become leaders in a new and modern Haitian culture where voodoo and black magic have been replaced by the saving grace of Jesus Christ and a Christian ethic which is gradually changing the face, the future, the very destiny of Haiti. by young leaders such as these. Christoph Velcine is a perfect example.
We first met Christophe at his mom’s small and very modest home in the sleepy little village of Dufaille, high in the mountains above Port-au-Prince. He was, as I recall, a shy and modest, gangly— even downright skinny— young teenager. He, his mom and his twelve-year-old sister, Yvrose, invited us to sit down to dinner with them when we’d dropped by for a visit at Yvrose’s request. It consisted of a single bowl of a gruel made from boiled “piti-mi”—a local grain similar to milo, the grain we use to feed our livestock. His mom, with pained expression, apologized for that being all she had to offer.
Long story short: we eventually sent Yvrose off to nursing school which she graduated from near the top of her class, and ultimately came to work for us at Clinique Jolivert. She proved to be an exceptionally well-trained R.N., highly skilled in all aspects of medical care including the suturing of wounds and the delivering of babies. While serving as our nursing director under Betty’s supervision, she met an American missionary, Kendall Johnson, also serving at Jolivert at the time; fell in love with him, married him, and returned with him to his home in Winchester, Kentucky where he died prematurely of liver disease, and where she then resided as an American citizen. But the intense needs of her people led her to return to Haiti where she now runs a small medical clinic and a Christian church school of her own, with help from one of the Christian churches in the Lexington area.
Christophe himself won the heart of one of our lady missionaries from the Pleasant Ridge area who committed to putting him through lab school. Soon thereafter, he became an employee of our mission clinic at Jolivert, and the rest, of course, is history. A man for all seasons, Christophe juggles about as many programs and projects as any health professional I have ever met. Apart from his many duties as clinic director, he has headed up our outreach program for sick children in the remote mountainous areas surrounding Jolivert, and is also the director of our highly successful safe water program, now being touted by WHO and other leading relief organizations as being one of the most cost-efficient, yet simplistic water purification programs to be found anywhere in the Third World. It now brings clean and potable water to tens of thousands of homes all over Haiti. He is a devoted Christian family man with a lovely wife—who is also a medical technologist and MOL employee– and three delightful children. We simply could not possibly be any prouder of him.
~ Dr. Bob Johnson