Our clinic director and my dear friend Grace is leaving us to take a position as a project manager in Cap Haitian, on the north side of the island. We are excited for her opportunities there but very sad to see her go. Cody Smith, an American nurse who lives in Jubilee with her husband and 2 teenage daughters, has taken over as clinic director, and she organized a good-bye party for Grace at Klinik Jubilee.
I brought the music and the funny hats.
Most of the staff gave speeches, expressing their appreciation for Grace. Two staff members, nurse's aide JB and nurse Wisline, refused to speak because they were so upset. The worst or best part, depending on how you look at it, was when Katie arrived with 7 kids representing the elementary students at Jubilee School. They had made "thank you" cards for Grace and ceremonially presented them to her one by one. One of them, Ifocoeur, was very sick on Grace's first ever visit to Haiti, and since then, he has held a special place in her heart. When it came his turn to hand over a packet of cards and hug Grace, I don't believe there was a dry eye in the room.
Of our original staff from our opening in 2012, none are working full-time for us anymore. We sent Vesline, our nurse, to midwifery school, and she now works for another NGO and does teaching part-time at Klinik Jubilee. Oscar is our new clinic assistant director, but we are sponsoring him to nursing school, so he is only around during school vacations or after hours. Samuela left for personal reasons, and Valmy has simply gotten too busy with the English Institute that he co-founded. However, as Grace always says "Staff, current or former, are always welcome," so we often have former staff popping in and out, bringing a little extra enthusiasm and excitement to an average day.
It's funny - when you start out to build a health care center, like Grace did, sometimes you get more than you aimed for. She got a health center, but she also got a large Klinik Jubilee family.
Nice work, Grace. We will miss you!