October 19, 2009

Damien House's Story

Whats been keeping me busy at work...

In 1987, Annie Credido went to Guayaquil, Ecuador to teach pre-school at the foundation school Nuevo Mundo. Although she found great joy in the classroom, Annie was introduced to the patients living in an abandoned Hansen’s wing of the Infectious disease hospital. In seeing the horrendous conditions and disheartened spirits of the patients, Annie immediately felt God’s call to be a presence and advocate for those otherwise forgotten by society.

As it was found, the wing demanded immediate changes. The nearby disposal of hospital trash caused serious rat and roach infestations. The sewage pipes were eroded and damaged, leading to flooding in the patients’ bedrooms during the rainy season. Screens and windows were missing, and the hospital was rarely cleaned. The little food offered was often contaminated. Patients lived without dental care, resulting in worn down gums and difficulty eating. Due to the lack of water and nursing care, bed ridden patients were often dealing with scabies, lice, and bed sores. Basic medical care was nearly impossible to receive. Even worse, if a patient complained, they were asked to leave.

Annie did what she could with limited resources and prayed for help to meet these extensive needs. Her prayers were answered when she met Suzanne Belz over a cup of coffee. Suzanne asked “What do you need?” After that gesture, she then wrote the bylaws and handled the legal work with her husband Ed Belz, and Damien House Inc. was founded.

When donations started coming in from the US, the hospital wing began to transform. The plumbing and sewage was modernized to guarantee clean water while preventing flooding and rodent infestations. A nursing team and an Internist MD were hired and finally offered patients the medical care they deserved. Broken bed frames were repaired and new mattresses purchased. Clean bedding was provided for every patient. A nutrition program was initiated to ensure the food was clean, healthy, and appetizing. Visitors came, and started to paint vibrant murals over the grey walls. Flowering plants started to fill the empty hallways. Little by little, the patients’ spirits were uplifted. A newfound joy came from knowing that others cared about them and they were not abandoned. The positive atmosphere was contagious and evident to all. Meetings were held where the patients could speak freely about what their needs were, without the fear of being asked to leave. The patients were finally given a voice!

The non-profit organization channels tax exempt donations to Ecuador. All donations are used for the 24 hours a day, seven days a week, holistic care of the patients. The doors never close, and no one is ever turned away! Through the balance of wonderful friends and partner foundations, Damien House has become the home and refuge for our friends affected with Hansen’s disease.

1 comment:

AnonyMoose said...


A great story about how caring and determination can change the lives of so many. The link below provides more information and how donations can be made. well done Dan...