More Blessed to Give

January 6, 2011 • Haiti

Simon and Ali Moore spent their first Christmas as a married couple giving to others by serving at a Samaritan’s Purse cholera treatment center in Haiti.

The Canadian couple had been married a little less than six months when they decided to answer an urgent call for medical professionals needed to staff our clinics over the Christmas holidays.

“We didn’t have plans for that time, so we thought what an amazing opportunity to go and serve,” Ali said in a story published in the Nanaimo News Bulletin, a newspaper in their hometown in British Columbia. “It’s a gross injustice when people don’t have access to basic human needs like clean water and sanitation. In light of that they end up contracting this terrible, terrible illness. We have the skills, so we have a trade that we can apply to help these people.”

Simon is a family physician in the final years of residency training at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Ali is a registered nurse working on her masters in public health. According to the News Bulletin, a friend had told them about the pressing need in Haiti. Despite complicated logistics and little time, the couple found a way to ensure they could go.

“We looked for reasons why we could go, not reasons why we couldn’t, and everything worked out,” Simon said. “There were a lot of obstacles, but they all seemed to miraculously fade away.”

Simon worked on male patients while Ali worked in triage with female patients. Together, they saw as many as 100 people daily.

“It was a very quick transition from working in North America to suddenly working in a cholera clinic in a Third World country,” Ali said.

Volunteer medical professionals working at Samaritan’s Purse clinics have treated more than 7,360 cholera patients. Over 99 percent of our patients have survived.

“It’s simple to treat and to prevent,” Simon said. “It’s basic hygiene we take for granted here. In Haiti, even basic hygiene is a huge challenge.”

The earthquake occurred on Jan. 12 last year. Simon told the newspaper that as the one-year anniversary approaches, Haiti is in as much need of assistance as the moments after the ground shook.

“It’s so easy for us to lose perspective from desperate poverty and desperate need,” he said.