volunteer of the month
Tim Melin is a retail pharmacist who lives in Verona, WI. His wife, Liz, and three daughters, Alex, Claire, and Kate, have all been to Haiti. Tim and Liz are looking forward to participating in the June 2019 CHI Medical Team.
How did you find CHI? Why CHI?
I found CHI through my oldest daughter Alex. She was a student at Iowa University when her and some of her Hawkeye soccer teammates decided to start Hawks4Haiti. The effort was spearheaded by Allie Adam (now Dokte Adam!), but together, the team aimed to host a soccer tournament in Arcahaie. They collected uniforms and cleats and even built a soccer field to host the tournament in January 2014. My wife, Liz, went to help with the tournament, and it turned out to be a great success! After the tournament, Liz and Alex encouraged me to join a CHI medical team. Read more about the Hawks4Haiti tournament here.
What trip(s) have you gone on with CHI? What was your favorite part of the trip?
My first trip to Haiti was in March 2016 on the medical team led by Chris Buresh and John Osako. I remember so many things from that week: the sights, the smells, and most of all the graciousness of the people of Haiti. My pharmacy interpreter, Peterson Germaine, is the best! I love watching him effectively communicate to patients how to take their medicines as prescribed. He also catches us when we forget to put a medication in the patient's medicine basket. He takes his job seriously and is a true professional.
My other trip was last August with my two younger daughters. This trip was led by Casey Panko and Holly Senn. I am amazed at how great the trip leaders are. They have so much to do and keep track of, yet they make it look easy! My favorite part of the trip is talking to the people of Haiti, getting to know them, and meeting such great volunteers from the US. I am humbled by how much the people of Haiti know, their strength, and how well they treat people. On this most recent trip, I had a great chat with Danger. He was talking about planting trees and how important it is to reforest Haiti. I am very much involved in environmental issues (especially clean water), so this conversation with Danger has challenged me to ask, Is there anything we can do to help Haiti reforest their country? I love that CHI has pushed me to think like this and think more broadly.
What impact does CHI have on your life?
I remember during one of our nightly team chats after clinic, Chris Buresh talked about how much a person's success is determined by the zip code they are born in. It's something I think about all the time now. Those of us living in the US have so much, so it's only right to give back. Another thing is that once you see extreme poverty, you can't "unsee it". The world is not fair, but that doesn't mean one should not try and make it more fair.
Why did you choose to donate with your time or money?
CHI is a big part of my life because in a world of so many needs, I have seen what great things CHI has helped communities accomplish. I am proud of CHI for all the work they do: Helping Babies Breathe, clean birthing kits, latrines. They have proven that their work is not just about the medical needs, but in making overall life better for the people of Do Digue and the surrounding area. I have a hard time putting my feelings for CHI into words, but I can say CHI is a solidly great organization with some really dedicated, good people. It's an organization that makes a big difference in a very personal way.