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Local Doctor Says Haitians' Resilience, Religion 'Will Sustain Them'

Many Americans are watching and listening to the ongoing news coverage of aid workers getting down to work in Haiti, where a strong earthquake hit Tuesday.

One person who’s been helping the people of Haiti for over a decade is Dr. Judy Dasovich, a medical doctor who works in Strafford and Springfield. She’s been to Haiti over half a dozen times to treat skin diseases, pneumonia, and malaria, as well as to help support nutrition programs there.

She joined KSMU's Jennifer Moore earlier by phone to talk about her thoughts on the people of the island nation, and why she kept going back.

Dasovich says Haiti is a fascinating country with a warm and lovely people. She says it is an interesting experience to be among people who have so little and yet do so much with it. Their spirit, she says, is resilient. She says she learned more from them than vice versa.

According to her experiences, Haitians have a very spiritually and culturally rich tradition.

“There’s a joke about Haiti that says it’s ‘80 percent Catholic and 100 percent Voodoo.’ Voodoo is a very misunderstood religion. It’s a monotheistic religion that has deep roots in African religious traditions. And that has been sustaining for people,” she says.

That is what’s gotten them through tough times before, she says, and that is what they will rely on to see them through the current crisis.

Dasovich says she personally believes that helping other nations in times of crisis is important because “human beings are human beings, no matter what their nationality is.”

Again, that was Dr. Judy Dasovich, a local physician who has been to Haiti numerous times to do volunteer work, speaking to me earlier by phone.

She said for people wanting to support the relief efforts, the three organizations she recommends donating to are the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and Partners in Health.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.