Lise Betteridge delivers a suitcase to Jibacoa

” These pictures from our recent trip to Jibacoa, Cuba. I am so happy that we had the opportunity to bring a suitcase of medical supplies with us. It made the trip much more meaningful and interesting. We went into Havana one day with our own driver and guide; through her, we were able to connect to a small community called Canasi, about 15 minutes’ drive from the resort . Our guide had relatives in Canasi, to whom we were able to deliver some other (non-medical) donations. She told us that there was quite a lot of mental illness in that side of her family, and her young niece had Type 1 diabetes. I assume that they go to the clinic, which was, I think, the only one in the town.

It was striking how poor the community was. Several people at the resort told us it was very, very poor. I should tell you that our experience was very shaped by the fact that we have recently been painfully involved with the acute care medical system here in Canada as my husband died of acute leukemia at Grand River Hospital in June 2014. The contrast with the Julio Rufin Hoyos clinic in Canasi was very stark. We arrived there on December 30. We couldn’t help but be struck by the contrast to clinics in Canada of course, and by the almost total lack of medical equipment and supplies. There was a man who was getting oxygen pretty much from a tank and a tube. The Director of the clinic (shown in the photos) was initially very suspicious and didn’t want to accept the suitcase. I think she was a nurse, and there didn’t seem to be any doctors on site at the time we visited. Fortunately, our guide and the driver of our car were able to explain what NJTT was, and she then softened quite a bit – although she was pretty stern throughout the visit. She did say that they were very grateful. It was very, very obvious that the supplies were needed. We took the pictures very quickly because she was reluctant to have any pictures taken, so I’m sorry they’re not clearer.

Despite her reluctance and stern demeanor, it was obvious to us that the supplies were needed and appreciated, and that they will be used. The day after we made the delivery, one of the staff at the resort approached my son to thank him and to say that they were very grateful. Apparently he had seen us when we were delivering the suitcase.

I have told several people about NJTT and hope that they will consider doing what we did. We are very impressed by your organization. It was such a fortunate coincidence that I happened to be listening to Metro Morning the week before we left. Thank you for this great opportunity to make a small but meaningful difference.”

– Lise Betteridge, Jibacoa,Cuba

Thank you to Sunwing Airlines for the baggage allowance!

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