Our 4th Annual Fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday, November 20th at Original Benjamin’s in Myrtle Beach. To find out more and to support Carmel and Per Val please plan to attend. You can purchase tickets by responding back with a request for more information. Thank you for your continued support!
Carmel Valdema is the director and nurse at Lespwa Timoun in Croix-des-Bouquet and the wife of priest Per Val. Carmel graciously answered some questions to provide a better idea about who she is and what she does. CHAP is proud to support her clinic and to help her better her community.
What is your job title?
My job title is “Founder and coordinator of LespwaTimoun (Hope for Children)”.
2. How long have you held this position?
I started a similar program in La Gonave and I worked there for 14 years. In 2013, I moved to Croix des Bouquets; I have been working with Lespwa Timoun for 11 years.
3. What certification/education have you received in order to have this position?
I received my certification from the National Nursing SchoolHUEH (Hospital de L’ Universite d’ Etat D’ Haiti). Diploma de specialization in community Health at Institute of Haitian Sante Communautaitre INHSAC. Certificate of Completion, Transformation for Health training of trainers (Global Health Action in Atlanta). Certificate of participation, International Health Management Leadership Program at Global Health Action. Certificate from Haitian Institute of Children for the activities of the expanded program on immunization and epidemiological surveillance.
4. What do you enjoy most about your work?
My work is my life. I enjoy being strong for my community. I am someone my people can come to for anything. Most of the time I help with healthcare related problems. Other times we just kneel and pray. My heart melts when I see the kids who were going to die because of malnutrition able go to school and have dreams to change their community and give back to others. This is what my job and my life is about. Transformation.
5. Tell us something that makes your country and the people of your country unique.
Haitians are very hopeful. We rely on God for everything and we rely on each other’s strength to grow. Most of the time a “no” or a closed door opens a new opportunity so we tend to be just okay when our plans do not work initially. With all the challenges in the country, we enjoy everything that brings joy to our lives.
6. Describe an experience while working that has influenced the way you provide care now.
Marna who is now 15 years old was going to die at the age of 3 when she came to our nutrition program. With God’s love and with proper medical care, 9 years later Marna is a beautiful young lady in 7th grade and with big dreams to be become a nurse and to help her community. Marna lives with me and she is a miracle!
7. What are some specific concerns you have for your country and its people?
Haiti is changing slowly. Slow progress is better than none. We have political, social, and educational problems, but we lift them to God every day because they are out of our control and we continue to do what we can to improve the condition of lives in the communities. This is the only way to deal with that.
8. Tell me about raising children in your country and how it is different from what you have observed of children in the United States.
Raising children in Haiti is hard. If the children survive after birth, keeping them nourished and healthy becomes a challenge. Later, supporting the children to go to school is the next challenge. Sometimes the children have to work either by farming or just becoming a vendor in the streets to help the family live. Our kids grow up building survival skills and become responsible at a young age. That is problem, because they skip the stage of just being a kid.
9. What are some ministry needs for your programs?
My programs are always growing. We need prayers for God to continue to give us strength to continue the work. We need financial help to support our staff and to function. In the new clinic, we need medical equipment and furniture. We need more teams from USA because we learn from them as much as they learn from us.
10. What misconceptions do you think there are about what you do?
I do not think there are misconceptions. We are surrounded by positive people in the villages and at the clinic at all times. Our work, the many successful stories and lives we save and change daily leave no room for negative thoughts.
11. What part of your work do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy community transformation and education.
12. What has been your greatest disappointment and greatest success in regards to your work?
My greatest success has been to be working and living to see my dream and vision come true. My dream since I was 8 years old was to become a nurse and to take care of my community. I am living my dream now. I have not been disappointed yet. It has been a long and slow journey, but it is unfolding so beautifully that we are fine with the pace.
13. What are some attributes that a person has to have to do the kind of work that you do?
This person has to be in constant, honest communication with God. She needs to enjoy working with people and enjoy helping them without ever expecting anything in return. She has to love everyone the same way regardless of where they come from or what condition of life they have. Some background in medicine is helpful too. I feel like these are the foundation to keep going forever and to enjoy what I do daily.
14. How has your life and work improved by working with mission teams?
I could not have reached my dreams without the mission teams. I thank God for each mission team because without them and their help my dream would have stayed a dream.
15. What are your hardest struggles?
My hardest struggle now is to help Lespwa Timoun become self-sufficient and to become a NGO.
16. Describe a typical day for you.
I usually wake up at 6am and I pray. I walk for about 45 minutes before I have breakfast and get ready for work. I go to Lespwa Timoun and sometimes I have to attend meetings for the clinic. We see patients all day until 5pm. I go home after and spend time with my family.
17. What have you learned the most about while providing care to your people?
Helping my community, which has become my family, keeps me human and very humble. It may seem like my team is always the one helping, but we learn even more from the people we serve. We have an active mutual loving relationship.
18. Where do you see yourself and programs in 5 years to 10 years?
In 5-10 years, I pray that God provides strength to me and my staff to continue His work. I pray that God will send us new, young brains to further this journey with us.
19. What is an item that you have had while in the United States that you enjoyed and cannot get in Haiti?
I enjoy walking with Pere Val in the beautiful parks in USA. We do not have any parks in Haiti.
20. What is your favorite bible verse or story?
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who gives me strength”.
We thank you again for your continued support and look forward to seeing you on November 20th for our 4th Annual CHAP Fundraiser.