Friday, December 04, 2009

Hopital Albert Schweitzer, Haiti

While on the topic of Hospitals, I feel compelled to share with you the story of another truly amazing hospital, this one, in Haiti. Back in 2001 I shot a job for Health Volunteers Overseas. One of the locations that I photographed was HAS or Hopital Albert Schweitzer (yes, it’s Hopital not Hospital). HAS was started 50 years ago and the story behind it is one, that I think, you might be interested in.

HAS was started by William Larry (Larimer) Mellon, a member of the wealthy Carnegie Mellon family of Pittsburgh. Larry fell under the spell of Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel laureate, physician and humanitarian who started a hospital in the African country of Gabon. Following in Schweitzer’s footsteps, Larry Mellon, well into his 30’s, enrolled in medical school, became a physician and built a hospital in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Mellon’s story and the story of HAS is told in the book “Song of Haiti”, which should be on Oprah’s must read list.

I’ve had the opportunity to shoot for HAS many times and my visits there are always eye-opening and inspiring. The work being done there by HAS’s crew of dedicated humanitarians is astonishing. Have a look at the HAS website to learn more about this amazing institution. I produced a rudimentary video for HAS, but since I made it quite a while ago, a plug-in required. Sorry.

While in Haiti, I usually make it a point to spend at least one night at the Oloffson hotel in Port au Prince. It’s one of those places where journalists hang out, and  one always meets interesting people there. Here’s a short piece I did about the hotel and it’s colorful proprietor, Richard Morse.

Have a great weekend, and I'll try to post on Monday.


Daryl said...

Years ago, in college, I made fiends with a young woman who spent some of her chiuldhood in Haiti during the construction of the hospital. Her father, a Mellon cousin, was the architect of that amazing hospital.
I am sorry but the name of the architect has faded from my memory bank. He should be praised for his design, and overseeing the construction of that hospital. Obviously it has withstood the massive earthquake, and is the only functional hospital in Haiti!

Karl Grobl said...

Hi Daryl, thanks for your comment. Yes, Hospital Albert Schweitzer is an amazing and wonderful place! If you remember the architect's name, just drop me a line. Cheers, Karl

Suzann said...

I spent two years in Haiti - 1999/2000 - working at the American Embassy. I LOVED the Oloffson Hotel and spent so much time there. Richard and his family became such good friends. My favorite memories... many nights at RAM, wonderful meals on the balcony, rum punch. LOL Your photos are fantastic and took me back to that wonderful place. Thanks much. Suzann