Rachel Belt is the Volunteer and Logistics Coordinator at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She has an extensive history of helping others. Before joining Project Medishare, Rachel worked for Doctors Without Borders in New York, World Health Organization in Geneva, The Medical Research Council in Uganda and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative in New York. Rachel was born in Connecticut but lived in England and on an island off of Washington State. She is a graduate of Columbia University and had been looking to move her job abroad when one of her friends sent her the job description for the Volunteer and Logistics Coordinator. She flew down a few days later for an interview and moved to Haiti only three weeks after seeing the job posting.
After joining the Project Medishare staff in March, Rachel has relocated her home to Delmas 41, the staff house, which is a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. She shares the apartment with Brittany, Chief Nursing Officer of Pediatrics. Rachel usually wakes up around 6:00am to coordinate transportation at the hospital in via telephone. Most days the staff of Hospital Bernard Mevs travels together to work, which is about a 20 minute drive, and arrive at the hospital around 8am. Upon her arrival, Rachel makes sure the food has been distributed, answers questions and checks emails. Most of her work is coordinating the arrival of people with the Project Medishare staff in Miami, dealing with the needs of the volunteers currently on the ground, organizing transportation and showing visitors around the hospital. She spends a lot of her day answering questions as there are roughly 30 new people at the hospital every week. The weekends are particularly busy with the arrival and departure of the volunteer teams on Saturdays.
Rachel oversees approximately 35 to 50 volunteers each week at the hospital. The Project Medishare volunteers range anywhere in age from 18 to 65 years old and they come from everywhere. Many of the volunteers come from New York and Florida but Rachel said that they are now seeing more volunteers from Canada and the West Coast. Aside from her regular job responsibilities, she likes to play with the children around the hospital and feed babies in the Pediatrics ward. Each day she leaves the hospital between 7pm and 8pm. After work, Rachel goes home and cooks dinner. She then either studies, listens to the radio, reads or visits with other members of staff in the house. She normally goes to bed between 10pm and 11pm.
In Her Own Words
“I really like the mission and the staff. I just extended my time here to return to school full time in 2012 rather than in September since I felt I was learning so much from the managers I work with here at Project Medishare in Haiti. There is so much work to be done and encouraging people to engage in work to help others is a powerful way to change the way the world works. Making a good experience for the volunteers is a way to help widen the network of people willing to help others. The experience leaves a lasting impression on you and one that makes people’s families and friends more aware of the needs here and in other places. The people that come to volunteer are inspired by our Haitian staff and by their fellow volunteers and go on to engage coworkers, family and friends in their own efforts. I love the enthusiasm and perspective that people bring every week.”
When asked what the most pressing needs are in her department Rachel said to donate “time! Come join us for a week or two. We need medical and some non-medical staff.” If you are interested in volunteering with Project Medishare, please click here!