Hear from CHI Haiti Operations Director Wisly Dangé about his experiences with and growth in CHI!
The first time I was called to translate for CHI, it was not actually called CHI. It was Matana Mission. I had to take over for a friend of mine who couldn't make it. It was a great opportunity to meet and work with people like Matt Dowen, Dr. Angie, and Mike.
At first, it was just a part-time job, going to people's homes in the mountains or villages to ask questions and record the data. We were really trying to assess the population's needs and learn about the lives of community members. We collected data about diarrheal cases in children and adults' level of education about safe drinking water. The community told us their great ideas for partnership with CHI, including hosting a clinic, a clean water project, and a recycling center.
The first clinic I worked at was with the medical team led by Casey Panko. I had the great privilege of meeting a man loved by everyone in Haiti, but especially by the people in Do Digue. The people love him for his heart, kindness, and manner of talking and taking care of his patients. He is also the man who later named me Doctor Danger. You know who I am talking about...Dr. Chris!
After being a translator for CHI clinic teams for quite some time, I took on the role of Clean Water Project Supervisor. This job was a great experience for me. The program started before me and was run by Peterson Matthieu and Rolax. We originally thought that the program would be successful if we just put in the hard work. We thought hard work was the key to selling Gadyen Dlo bottles and educating the communities about clean water. However, we quickly realized that we needed to get the important messaging about drinking safe water and treating your water with Gadyen Dlo out to community members. I worked with two girls who lent their skills in marketing and communication. They were so creative and helped us get this program off the ground with their design help. When we first started, we sold 12 Gadyen Dlo bottles each month. Now, we sell 195 each month, and by January we will be selling 10 boxes each month.
CHI has allowed me to meet so many people and learn so many things. I remember when Helen Noble helped us create the payroll system. I remember when Joanna Krajewski designed a powerpoint for us to show what CHI is all about. I remember Brad Jessen spending time with us as an extended-term volunteer. I remember my first time using an iPad and learning to write and send an email. And later, I remember when I taught others how to use their iPads. CHI is my university and these are my teachers...the greatest teachers! I try to be a good student to honor them and to say thank you.
Now, I try to train others so that CHI's programs stay alive and can even improve! As CHI's Haiti Operations Director, I have a great deal of responsibility. I have been able to use my previous experience and skills from my work at CHI to fill this role. I continue to meet many great people and have the honor of attending important meetings all over Haiti. I am so honored that I have been able to work more closely with the board to learn to make sound decisions for the organization.
The work has been hard. But, it pushes me to be a better and more dynamic thinker, problem solver, and leader. A leader will never be loved all the time when they are forced to make hard decisions. It is hard to make decisions for a group when individuals have such different opinions, values, and visions. But, a good leader is not afraid to take on a challenge and make those hard decisions. A leader has to be flexible, always ready to change plans for the benefit of the group. I have learned this from my good friends Stacey Osako, Jill Roeder, and Annie Vander Werff. Annie also taught me a very important word
—delegate. At first, I didn't know what it meant. But I have learned it means that a leader cannot do everything himself. Sometimes, he has to delegate to other people that he trusts. Lastly, CHI has taught me responsibility. Being responsible does not mean that your contribution is not important. On the contrary, it means that you are so lucky to be trusted by the group to make the decisions.
I might have started small, but I have learned big things from CHI. I have told you all of these things to tell you what an impact you have had on me and on CHI's partner Haitian communities. Your heart, your passion, and your collaboration are gifts. I am not a well-educated man, but I have had the change to go to the greatest university in Haiti—CHI. I carry my heart, my passion, and my desire to listen to people so that we can move forward in their best interest. I am ready to learn more and move forward with CHI. Let's put our hands and hearts together to change the world!