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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Women’s Day and Update – March 8, 2024

Dear friends-  

You have no doubt heard the news coming out of Haiti in this past week about the greatly heightened level of insecurity especially in and around the capital of Port-au-Prince.  

Airports are closed, the main shipping port is closed, and the country is in a state of emergency for another month. The Haitian Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, is reported to be unable to return safely to the country as local gangs coalesce in calling for his resignation.  

Locally, even very basic movement around the capital is risky. Up until 2 days ago we were able to transport our staff to our second site. Yesterday and today, that has not been possible, due to dangers inherent in just driving on the streets.  

Our staff is safe. Both our main Lamp for Haiti Health Center in Cite Soleil, as well as our ancillary second site, are intact. We are glad to report that news.  

Today we mark the “International Day of Women”. At Lamp, today especially, we stand with our sisters and our brothers in Haiti who are enduring yet another extremely difficult period. We at Lamp remain grateful for your continued friendship and involvement in this important work.  

We will continue to keep you posted as best we can.  

In solidarity,

Jim, Henry, and Kelli

jimWomen’s Day and Update – March 8, 2024
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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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Reflecting on Martin Luther King Day

Health, Partnership and Community

A Message from Dr. James Morgan

It seems appropriate to send this first message of the year on this January day, a day that we mark the birth of surely one of the world’s most influential figures of the past century, Martin Luther King, Jr.. King didn’t start wars, or invent any new technology. Instead he responded to an age old yet still burning issue of his day, inequality, and that response continues to resonate. King asked difficult questions to colleagues and friends, politicians and ordinary people. He organized, he marched, he stuck to his conscience, he never gave up.

In his speech in Memphis, the day before he was murdered, King spoke movingly about the crucial need to stay together with an organized plan in order to effect change.

Further, in recounting the biblical parable of the “Good Samaritan”, King notes that the Samaritan intentionally left himself vulnerable to attack by robbers, or even worse because of the question that he asked himself. While others posited “what will happen to me if I help this poor man?”, the Samaritan instead asked the inverted question of “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” and he then acted on his conclusion.  King next extends that same inverted question to the plight of the sanitation workers of Memphis, on whose behalf he was lobbying. 

Our staff at Lamp ask a similar question when they enter Cité Soleil each day. You see, to many of their friends and colleagues, they themselves are “inverted” or “tet anba”. Others are clearly puzzled when they see our staff willfully going into a potentially dangerous place to care for the sick and the injured. The question “what will happen to this community if we don’t participate?” is answered resoundingly with action itself. It is an action borne out of the tagline of Lamp for Haiti: Healthcare, Partnership, Community.

This year, in our communications with you each month, we’d like to highlight examples of these basic tenets of our work.

In the arena of healthcare, the country has seen a continued “brain drain” of doctors and nurses leaving Haiti, trying to escape unsafe living conditions, especially in and around Port-au-Prince. (The Lamp for Haiti health center is on the margin of the capital.) All health facilities have been impacted, including Lamp.  In the past three weeks we have interviewed three very qualified doctors to fill one of our empty positions, and we continue to work to get us back to full staffing soon.

For now, we continue to provide quality care. We have been able to return to Cité Soleil, and have been seeing patients there.  We will continue to organize, to work , side by side with the marginalized in the direction of, and at times explicitly manifesting King’s notion of, the Beloved Community.

We at Lamp remain grateful for your decision to stay engaged in this work. Both your work and your friendship is life sustaining for so many.

My very best to you and your family in this new year-


adminReflecting on Martin Luther King Day
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December 20, 2022 — Haiti Update

2022 was a difficult year in Haiti.  The government was unable to restrain the activities and conflicts of various gangs so that security issues became paramount for ordinary citizens, especially in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, where the Lamp Health Center is located.  In September, gang control of the fuel supply, and their decision to cut off access to this fuel, caused a crisis across Haiti.  Transportation of goods ceased, electricity was unavailable, and economic activity of all sorts came to a standstill. 

Happily enough, the situation was partially resolved in November, and fuel became available for general use.  At the same time, due to political interventions, gang conflicts were very much reduced. 

The reduction of gang activity was critical for the Lamp, since our health center is located in an area that was directly affected by those conflicts.  Since the beginning of December, we have been able to provide services at the Health Center without disruption, and the long term prospects are relatively good.  

Our advantage, as an organization, is that we are intimately acquainted with the day-to-day reality of life in Haiti.  It is a very unsettled period in Haitian history, but, because of this knowledge and the trust of the community, we are able to provide desperately needed health services in a timely and straightforward way. 

The constancy of our supporters is, as always, the key.

[The photo shows one of the mobile clinics that the Lamp was able to operate during the lock-down period.]

adminDecember 20, 2022 — Haiti Update
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