Lamp Providing Full Service!

May 15, 2024

We have delayed this update in the hopes that the ever-impending re-opening of our health center would in fact take place.  And it has!  We have now been open, providing full services at our Haiti Communitere site since Monday.  Our services are desperately needed and it is a great relief to break through this barrier!

Our staff, who have been chafing at the bit, are very excited to provide direct service once again.   We look forward to a long and busy summer. 

Over this past period, our staff has faced, and still faces, many difficulties due to insecurity, lack of electricity and shortages of all types.  But we are happy to report that none have suffered any extreme event.  We have been lucky and can direct all of our energies toward assisting those that have been much less fortunate.

At Lamp’s main site, in the part of Cité Soleil known as Bwa Nèf, renovations continue at a slow but steady pace.  Flood control renovation and preparations for a major upgrade of our solar energy system are going ahead despite the virtual lock-down of the area.  That we are able to do this is due, most certainly, to the fact that we have always prioritized local labor for any Lamp building projects.  Thus, we have three construction foremen and a large pool of labor available within Bwa Nèf itself, right now.  We are able to truck in building materials because our trucker is also a local person, who has an understanding with the local gang leader.  Other than Lamp, it is fair to say that not many others are engaging in building projects at this time! 

In conclusion: Thanks to all of you that have continued your support!  We have taken the stand that we will continue to pay our staff full wages despite the constant disruptions – not only because it is fair and humane, given the privations that everyone is facing, but also because we must be prepared to mount a full and active response whenever there is opportunity to do so.  As we have mentioned before, hidden beneath the political crisis in Haiti is an enormous health catastrophe that will take all of our energies to combat.  Now, an opportunity has arrived and we have jumped back into the fray.  We are ready to take on any additional tasks that will lessen the suffering, at whatever scale our resources allow, and ask for your help to make that response a meaningful one. 

Kenbe Fèm! as the saying goes in Kreyol.  Keep the faith!

In friendship,

Henry, Kelli and Jim 

adminLamp Providing Full Service!
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Lamp for Haiti update April 11, 2024

This is the fifth in a series of updates from Lamp for Haiti on the current crisis in Haiti and how it is affecting Lamp and the people we serve. To view earlier updates, please go to our web site – – and scroll down to the Blog.

Here’s hoping that the crisis will be over soon, but the pace of change is not fast. We will update you every two weeks, going forward!

I had a lengthy conversation with Lamp manager Benoit Florestal yesterday on the situation in Port-au-Prince and prospects for the future. The following update reflects his opinion on these things.  

Benoit had just arrived at the Lamp office/depot. He reported that roads seemed safer; the increased number of vehicles showing that gang activity has lessened. 

Most businesses, however, remain closed. Banks have greatly reduced the number of days that they are open each week. There is a $200 limit on withdrawal of US dollars. Schools have not, in fact, opened, despite the fact that the Ministry of Education issued a schedule of final exams last week. (Schools are open in most of the country outside of Port-au-Prince.) Benoit tells me, though, that some schools have opened but have told their students to dress in casual clothes since their uniforms might attract too much attention (!) The airports (local and international), the ports, and the land border with the Dominican Republic remain closed, and this has led to shortages of every type, including fuel. Many businesses simply do not have any products to sell. Electricity is available for an hour or so per day. People that previously invested in solar power systems, such as Benoit (and Lamp!), are in a much better place than their fellow citizens. 

On the political side there is predictable in-fighting as all political actors in the country struggle to have their representatives included in the transitional council. Meanwhile, various gangs have formed a coalition called Viv Ansamn (Live Together) and are threatening a coup, under recently returned leader Guy Philippe. 

For the Lamp, concern centers around activities related to the international airport, since our depot and both service sites are close to the airport. Police – acting as a virtually independent agency — are making a concerted effort to increase security around the airport. Part of that effort, unfortunately, includes the destruction of makeshift homes all around the airport perimeter.

Nevertheless, for Lamp, the importance of the airport means that our sites are in an area in which order will be imposed as a priority. Benoit suggests that the airport may be re-opened soon and this would greatly assist in the normalization of activity in this part of the city. 

Lamp has a large quantity of medical supplies, purchased before the recent crisis, and can resume full services at any point.

I know that not everyone is interested in the details of the situation in Haiti. Our next update will be focused more on the Lamp itself. One thing is certain, however: Lamp is accumulating unmatched local knowledge which has allowed us, and will allow us, to provide critically needed services with effectiveness and discernment in this challenging environment.

Take care everyone,

Keep Haiti in mind!


adminLamp for Haiti update April 11, 2024
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Update #4  April 3, 2024

Dear Reader!

Life in Port-au-Prince remains precarious.  Gangs continue to control much of the city.  But political activity is beginning to occur.  CARICOM (Caribbean Community) is a grouping of 20 Caribbean nations that have taken the lead in enabling a 9-member “transitional governing council” – composed of Haitian political leaders, as well as private sector, civil society and religious leaders.  The council would have the task of selecting an interim president and prime minister, who would in turn lead the country to a general election.  That group is not yet finalized but steps are being taken. 

On April 2, the US installed a new ambassador to Haiti, Dennis Hankins.  The post had been vacant since 2021.  Remarks at his confirmation hearing centered on the need to fill the role in order to “help coordinate, once the Kenyan-led multinational, multilateral security support mission is in place”.  The mandate of the military mission will be to protect the council and the transitional government, and facilitate the election process.

At Lamp, our staff remain safe and very eager to once again provide direct medical services.  However, Ms Mondesir, the Director of Haiti Communitere — where Lamp’s second site is located — feels that too much risk remains, and has asked us to be patient.  Last week, there was an attempt by gangs to take over the local police station.  The effort failed, but the area remains dangerous.  At our primary site in Cité Soleil, I am amazed to report, construction continued on flood control improvements and preparations to upgrade our solar energy system.  Local labor is being used and Lamp Manager Benoit Florestal is monitoring the activity on a day-to-day basis.   

Overall, gang conflicts are somewhat reduced and – although I fear this may not be a good idea – schools are set to resume next week.  Note that Lamp’s school sponsorship program continues, despite the constant disruptions, and has been of tremendous assistance to the children, families and schools that are involved.

In hope,

Jim, Henry, and Kelli

adminUpdate #4  April 3, 2024
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March 27 Update

Dear Reader,

This is the third in a series of updates from Lamp for Haiti.

The situation remains tense in Port-au-Prince.  A partner in a major hospital in the capital wrote yesterday that each week is worse than the last.  Schools and most institutions, including many banks, are closed.  Everyone, including our staff, is hunkered down and hoping for relief.  Lamp manager Benoit Florestal went to the office last week but said he was very nervous on the drive.  Streets are empty, there are very few private vehicles on the roads, so that he felt exposed and vulnerable.  Work must therefore continue from home for the time being, even though many areas have no electricity; phone and internet are very unreliable. 

The theme of our upcoming Spring Appeal is, however, Don’t Give Up on Haiti!  The country is in crisis but Lamp is poised to respond in a big way.  We plan to open both of our service sites, for the first time ever, later this year.  The severity of the health crisis demands this response.  Predicting the exact events that could lead to this outcome is not currently possible.  But Lamp has, by now, a lot of experience in responding to uncertain environments.  We continue to prepare ourselves.  A lot of people – our brothers and sisters — are pinning their hopes on us and we remain committed!

adminMarch 27 Update
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March 20, 2024

Dear Lamp supporters,

This is the second in a series of updates on the crisis in Haiti.

Unfortunately, the security situation in Port-au-Prince continues to deteriorate.  Gang activities have greatly increased in the wealthier area of the city, known as Petionville.  There is a strong police presence at the international airport but gangs have not withdrawn and continue to surround the area.  Areas close to Lamp’s service centers are becoming the targets of more activity.  

Unfortunately the rest of the country is also facing a crisis, namely a food security crisis.  All goods coming into the country via the ports, airports, and land routes are now subject to gang control, and many traders are simply waiting for security to return.  In previous times, perhaps 50% of foodstuffs were imported from the Dominican Republic but significant problems at the border have greatly impacted this trade.  In September 2023, the DR government closed the border due to a political dispute (involving use of the river — that comprises the physical border — for irrigation).  Over time, some trade resumed but there are now fears that the border will again be sealed completely.  The DR has greatly increased its military presence at the border crossings due to security concerns.  Even now, the amount of goods coming over the border is a tiny proportion of its previous level. 

At Lamp, we continue to prepare for the day when we can re-open both of our service locations.  We are taking the time to update our electronic medical record system and to review each aspect of our programming.  Dr. Metellus, our In-Country Medical Director, writes: “Despite the security situation we are not idle because we continue to develop our plans in order to provide a high standard of health care to this poor population left to its own devices and facing a disastrous health situation.  Also, we continue to improve our patient registration system to be able to optimize our patient-centered care.  We continue to hope for a rapid resolution of this situation in order to continue serving this population, thirsty for health care.  Haiti will not perish!!”

I will just add, because many have asked, a word about our staff.  As late as two weeks ago, our service location at Haiti Communitere was open and functioning.  Most of our staff were able to leave their homes and travel to work.  But each day, some of them experienced difficulties.  Some of these difficulties were extreme.  Salita, one of our Community Health Workers, had her (tiny) home burned and belongings taken.  Benoit, our Program Manager, was forced to move, as the area he lived in became the center of a gang conflict.  Others have been threatened and robbed.  We are very relieved to say, however, that none has been hurt.  We hope, fervently, that this will remain the case until the end of this crisis.    

In closing, please do consider a donation – either now or when we launch our Spring Appeal in April – because we are determined to mount as vigorous a response as we can to this disaster.  And a crisis like this does not make expenses less.  For example, for more than a year now we have been unable to get donated medicines into the country due to the security situation.  We have, somewhat amazingly, been able to purchase medicines in-country, but those are also much more expensive than in the past.  The need for our services is exponentially bigger than before – we must push forward!

adminMarch 20, 2024
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Haiti Crisis – Update 3-13-2024

Dear Lamp supporters,

It is clear that Haiti is in serious crisis.  Current media reports on Haiti are frightening and bewildering.  Many of you have asked how Lamp is faring in the midst of this upheaval.  As supporters of Lamp’s mission to provide care for the vulnerable, you have shown your concern, in a very concrete way, for those who bear the brunt of each crisis as it arrives.  You have been a positive part of Haiti’s recent history and we want to keep you abreast of Lamp’s efforts.  We would like, therefore, to initiate a weekly “news” post while this crisis persists.  Each Wednesday we will update you on the general situation, the specific issues that Lamp is facing, and the efforts that Lamp is making to counter the deadly effects of the current period. 

We prefer not to show scenes of street violence, but we also do not want to sugarcoat a terrible situation.  We will continue to reduce suffering wherever possible; we will protect our assets and our staff; we will prepare ourselves to be ever more effective when the situation allows.  We know that we are part of the long-term solution and take this responsibility very seriously.

One reason for this weekly update is that things are constantly changing in Port-au-Prince.  Last week, gangs took control of the area surrounding the international airport with the result that the acting Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, was not able to return to Haiti after his visit to Kenya.  The Lamp office/depot and both of our service sites (at Bwa Nef, and Clercine) are close to the airport, so that this gang activity affected us very directly.  At Clercine, we rent space at a partner called Haiti Communitere, which has, very reasonably, decided to close the location until the gang presence in the neighborhood diminishes. 

Ariel Henry has now resigned.  The government of the United States has always had an outsized influence on Haitian politics and when it finally withdrew its support for Henry, the result was immediate.  However, it is not clear who can take up the reins of government.  The US continues to push for a multi-national military intervention, and has provided significant funds for this force.  It is unclear what the effects of such an intervention would be.  A transitional government is needed to allow for elections to take place but the situation in the capital is not conducive to free and fair elections.  The future continues to look very murky.  We will keep you updated!

In friendship,

Jim, Henry, Kelli

adminHaiti Crisis – Update 3-13-2024
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Blog: Dr. Jim Morgan, Port-au-Prince, January 23, 2024

It was another proud day for our Lamp community.  

Yesterday I worked with our medical staff in Port-au-Prince at our newly refurbished, freshly painted, ancillary health center in a zone just outside Cité Soleil, an area called Klèsin (CLARE-seen).  

On our way to clinic, the normally ebullient and cheerful commute with our Lamp staff, a commute that often finds me laughing after just a few short blocks, one marked by nurses ribbing doctors for this or that, people scrunching together to see the latest Tik-Tok video, or bragging about their children and sharing photos on their phone – that commute was instead subdued, anxious even. As our driver pulled out into the street, I saw two young men on the sidewalk ahead of us look in our direction, then head into an alley. I was sure that they were going to jump on a motorcycle, and pull up alongside us to force a ransom. In my brain, truck drivers and taxi drivers became stooges for street gangs. Women selling clothing or vegetables or soap or phone chargers, or anything else, were surely spies for gangs, phoning them of our whereabouts.    

But such was not the case. Despite traffic patterns that make Grand Central Station at rush hour look calm and orderly, thanks to our driver Anglanès, a sturdy brick wall of a man with great street knowledge and some of the fastest reflexes I’ve ever seen, and who has never had an accident with our van in his more than 10 years of navigating the daily commute, we arrived without any incident.  

I inspected our spruced-up spaces, and chatted with Damas, a community health worker whose smile never leaves his face for long, save times for serious talking. This was such a time. Damas thanked me for coming, and said that he was grateful that Henry and I had made it there, despite what he knows are particularly risky times for foreigners and nationals alike. He knew that the other staff were grateful too, and that they were aware of the risk. He said that they understood why we choose to continue with this work.

Too, Damas said that we needed to pay attention to outside friends, who would warn us if we needed to pack up and leave abruptly.  

Patients, already lined up to be seen, were from Cité Soleil, and another area known as “Maïs Gaté”, a very densely populated (think not quite, but approaching, Tokyo subway cars at rush hour) area not far away. Uniformly the patients were effusive in telling us how glad they were to have a place to go for care. And provide care we did. Three doctors working in sync, our nurse midwife seeing pregnant patients, nutrition counseling and treatment underway, and our pharmacy and labs running smoothly. One such woman, 69 years old with a bad heart condition, reported that it had been a year since she was able to access any care at all. I treated another very thin and ill appearing young man for

pneumonia, who told me that he had no money and nowhere else to go.  

With the hot sun just past its peak in the sky, Dr. Metellus came into my exam room to announce that we needed to leave, quickly. “The streets aren’t safe anymore today” he said. I finished with the patient I was seeing, and along with the others, helped to shutter our clinic in a matter of minutes.  

Riding in the van was a replay of our earlier trip. Anglanès, his eyes darting everywhere, his mind anticipating, his brow furrowed pensively, skillfully navigated the streets, always leaving space to maneuver the van, somehow avoiding traffic jams, and depositing each of us safely home. The day, a single day for me, but a way of life for our patients and staff, has left me on edge.  

“This place has blessed me” the young man with pneumonia, looking weak but bolstered, told me as he was leaving our site, a week’s supply of medication in hand and a cure for his malady in clear sight.

I know how he feels.  

And I hope that you do too. Despite these ongoing and often immense challenges, we continue to walk alongside, and we ourselves feel bolstered. We continue to ride in the van with, and somehow feel calmer through that community that rides beside us. We continue to care for, to talk with, to share cellphone photos with, to smile with those whom we see as our extended family, and gradually that vision of extended family becomes real.

Thanks as always, for joining us on this journey.

In friendship- 


adminBlog: Dr. Jim Morgan, Port-au-Prince, January 23, 2024
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Dear Friends –

I’m writing our Annual Spring Appeal letter from Port au Prince, Haiti, a place of 3 million people, most of whom are quite poor by any international standard.  In Cité Soleil, where Lamp for Haiti has its health center, a sprawling and dangerous ghetto, absent reliable clean water or electricity, the situation is even more stressed.

Consider some of these staggering facts: In the arena of healthcare, Haiti spends about 57 dollars per capita annually. In all the Americas the next lowest spending country, Nicaragua, commits over three times that amount per person, while the US rate is about $13,000 ( — 2019).  There are about 25 physicians per 100,000 persons in Haiti, compared to 278 in the US.  Infant mortality in Haiti is 59 per 100,000 live births, compared to the US rate of 5 per 100,000.

Gangs today control large swaths of the capital, and surrounding areas too. There were over 1,200 reported kidnappings in Haiti last year alone, more than twice that of the previous year.

Given these hard to fathom numbers, aren’t further efforts in Haiti just pouring the proverbial water on sand? Isn’t that country too far gone? Oughtn’t we work in another place?  It’s helpful to answer with a bit more data.  In the past twenty years in Haiti…

-Adolescent fertility rates are down over 30%, a cause for optimism since delayed childbearing beyond adolescence is associated with more years in school, higher future earnings, and more stable households.

-Life expectancy has risen by almost five years, to 63. Still low, but progress nevertheless.

-The infant mortality rate mentioned above is actually decreased by over 25%, as numbers of “attended” births by skilled personnel increased from about 25% to nearly 68% of all births in Haiti.

-Overall age adjusted mortality rate in Haiti is down by over 20%.

I have no doubt that this progress has regressed in the past two years, given the overall state of affairs in Haiti.  But progress can and has been made, even in places of extreme poverty.  And while I personally believe that prayer helps, even St Augustine said that God will provide the wind, but we must raise the sails. In this case, the sails are an organized and integrated health system, with well trained committed staff, outfitted with the right equipment and medications.

 To answer my own question, then, a resounding NO, we oughtn’t give up. Life is harsh, at times brutally challenging, in Haiti right now, most especially in Cité Soleil. But for 17 years Lamp for Haiti has not wavered. We remain committed to our mission to provide quality, well-discerned community development, based on the cornerstone of our work — effective healthcare. We will continue to treat the sick, to mend wounds, to feed the malnourished. We will continue to do so not just with kindness but with organized systems.

I hope that you’ll consider supporting our Spring drive this year.  Working together,  we’re  saving lives. On behalf of our Board, staff, and of course our patients, thanks for choosing to stay a part of Lamp for Haiti.

My best to you and your family at this beautiful time of year.

– Jim

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As we move through this year, we continue to explore the layers of Lamp for Haiti’s tagline: Healthcare, Partnership, Community.  For me, Community is really what it’s all about.

Our tagline is not just a series of three nouns, catchy terms akin to Xerox’s “work can work better”, or Guinness Beer’s “Guinness is good for you”. Those don’t really tell you much about their objectives, their values or aspirations. One only knows that those companies are trying to sell you something.

I like to think of our tagline as a continuum, a cyclical process whose momentum is keeping us rolling forward, in both historic and contemporary terms. It’s a process that started almost two decades ago,  with a few of us deciding that we would provide basic healthcare to a forgotten place.  After speaking about our work with friends, family and colleagues, we realized that we needed partners whom we could rely upon, and who felt in turn that we would be reliable too. Out of that partnering has come community.

Going back to those early days, we identified community almost solely in geographic terms; community referred to those residents living in Cité Soleil, in particular those in our Bwa Nèf zone, not far from Lamp Health Center. It was they whom we wanted to reach, and we did.  But our early success in delivering basic healthcare was revelatory, as we quickly and clearly saw the extreme lack of access to quality care for so many of our patients.  With intentionality, we expanded our healthcare services to include pediatrics, women’s health and adult medicine. We added needed equipment, labs, drugs and social outreach.  We began actively seeking out partners on another level -- individuals like you, who wanted to participate and assist in our work, as well other like-minded organizations working in Haiti.

Today, however, a much-expanded understanding of community is the outgrowth of such efforts. We have seen the impact of Lamp spread to encompass a broader geographic catchment area in and around Cité Soleil. (This is even more acutely the case as we have been forced to work at more mobile sites bordering Cité Soleil, given the frequent security troubles in the capital today.) Moreover, community is seen in Lamp’s staff in Haiti, whose families and neighbors are impacted by our economic impact related to their wages, as well as by the positive effects that gratifying employment brings. Community is seen when we talk with a parent of a sick child who has been treated at Lamp health center in the past, and now comes back to request (and expect) more of that same approach to quality care. Community was seen at our latest event in New Jersey, the Montclair Charity Ball, which introduced many new people to Lamp, people who had not previously heard of our work but who nonetheless were inspired as they learned about our work, and wanted to know about ways they might deepen an involvement and become a part of something bigger.

It’s clear to me that the cyclic momentum of our triad tagline will -- if we remain open to it -- continue to push us to think about and to implement new and better ways to deliver quality healthcare to as many as possible. It’s a positive momentum. It’s a great community. Thanks for being a part of it.

- Jim

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This year, we continue to reflect on the importance of Lamp for Haiti’s tagline: Healthcare, Partnership, Community. Last month we offered a perspective on Lamp’s delivery of Healthcare, viewed through the lens of Martin Luther King’s lasting impact on our world.

One striking lesson the pandemic has taught us is that going it alone leads to more of the same – going it alone. In other words, connections make us stronger. Connections help as confidante and counselor when we come to life’s crossroads. Connections encourage us to model right behavior, and follow the straight path as we watch others who, in turn, are often looking to us for the same.

Bill Withers’ classic song has resonated profoundly for so many not just because of its lyrical melody, but because of the wisdom of its lyrics – “… You just call on me brother when you need a hand, we all need somebody to lean on.”

This truism applies not just to us as individuals navigating our own personal journeys, but to organizations, and to nonprofits in particular. Given our limited resources, and overall emphasis on keeping a low reserve so that funds raised are spent wisely in a mission oriented manner, we cannot afford to make mistakes. Having a brother, as Withers suggests, allows us to share learned experiences, and information, and sometimes resources.

One such brother, or partner, for Lamp has been St. Luke Foundation for Haiti (, a great organization that works to provide healthcare and community support in the capital of Port-au-Prince as well as in the South of Haiti.  They save lives not just by providing proper medication and great medical care, but also by providing education, job training, employment, and hands on, roll-up-your-sleeves-and-pantlegs-and-wade-in-the-waters-to-get-the-job-done approach to problem solving.

Partnerships are relationships, and they work best when both parties experience mutual growth. Again, Withers is helpful in singing the truism “I just might have a problem that you’ll understand, we all need somebody to lean on.” For example, recently we spoke to a donor who wanted to provide assistance in the wake of the most recent earthquake in the South of Haiti. We told that donor that while we were not explicitly working in the South, we would help to find a reputable partner in Haiti who was already working there, and we then connected St. Luke Haiti with that U.S. donor. 

In turn, St Luke has been for us like a trusted older sibling, assisting us in concrete ways like the implementation of our digital x-ray system. They trained our radiographer, Denold, a local resident of Cité Soleil; today he is a skilled x-ray technician, still working at Lamp. They have advised us on topics like how best to procure pediatric drugs in Haiti, or manage our medical waste, or grow our solar power system.

Partnering with other like-minded organizations has been a key part of Lamp’s success, just as partnering with others is for most individuals. Partnering requires the right combination of leadership and humility. Illegitimate organizations tend not to partner, because they don’t want others to scrutinize their processes. On the other hand strong organizations actively look for ways to integrate into a shared mission, not duplicating services but instead complementing, filling in gaps and furthering the work.

We are proud of our emphasis on seeking out and working with great partners like St. Luke Haiti, and you, our Lamp for Haiti family. Together we comprise a part of a greater world community. It’s a community that shares an emphasis on working with and for local Haitian residents, understanding that in doing so we also strengthen ourselves. It’s a community that sings out “Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on… For it won’t be long, till I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.”

St. Luke's Hospital
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