Headed to Haiti to help where he can

Paul Clark

So this was the idea that Ethan Kadau was presented with – why didn’t he and his mother come to the village his cousin was moving to to help her put on a one-day medical clinic?

It made sense. His cousin, Jessica Williamson, had been a missionary in Haiti and was getting to move there full-time. Ethan, a rising senior at Owen High School, had done missionary work with his church, Black Mountain Presbyterian Church. His mother, Melissa Kadau, is a nurse anesthetist at Mission Hospital and had significant medical experience.

Ethan Kadau's senior project at Owen High School may also help some Haitians to better health.

So Ethan, a life guard at the Black Mountain Pool, said yes, as did his mother. On Aug. 18, they’re heading to Nouvelle Terre in the Haitian mountains to help Williamson, a nurse and midwife, and another woman who is a full-time missionary there, hold the clinic. Ethan, who is trained in basic first aid but won’t administer any of the medical treatments, is coming back Aug. 24.

Other people have conducted medical and emergency missions to Nouvelle Terre, an internet search indicates. The help is needed because the village has no medical center, or electricity or running water, Kadau said. Its remoteness is part of its history. It’s where many Haitians hid when slave traders came to the country, as far away from them as they could get, Kadau said.

The Kadaus will fly into the capital, Port-Au-Prince and get to the village after a nine-hour hike.

“We’ll assess the situation and figure out what this place needs, especially medical needs,” said Ethan, who is participating in part because the trip is part of his senior project at Owen High School. His senior project is a study of the effects of aid on those who receive it.

Kadau is soliciting adult and children’s vitamins, prenatal vitamins, fungal creams and Bengay pain relieving cream. He’s also collecting money so that Linda Sheppard, the full-time missionary in Nouvelle Terre, can buy antibiotics in Haiti (buying them there helps the nation’s economy, Kadau said). He also needs two or three water filtration devices and five backpacks, but he’d like to talk to potential donors of those to make sure he doesn’t get more than he needs. Contact him for all at 828-674-2783.

Kadau will be giving aid, but he’ll be learning things too, he said. He’ll live, however briefly, among people different from himself. He’ll try conversing in French Creole.

He said he feels called to do mission work. His father was in the Peace Corps and served in Guatemala, where Kadau later did his mission work with the group from Black Mountain Presbyterian Church.

“It was difficult,” he said of the experience. “It was hard to see people living in extreme poverty. Sketchy water, failing electricity. Sometimes the houses didn’t have very much more than boards for walls.”

He learned he was lucky to have been born to better circumstances, he said. “So many kids have to work to sustain their families, so they can’t get an education. I’ve been given endless opportunities. I come from a great town and a great family. I have to help people who didn’t just have it handed to them.”

He’s wanted to see Haiti, and this is an opportunity. He’s expecting poverty, he said, “but also beautiful people who can teach me a lot,” he said.