Linden 2018

OMAT Responds To A Need At The Linden Center For Special Needs

In 2018, the usual OMAT medical mission to the Linden Hospital included a special community project.  The medical team stationed at the hospital consisted of the OMAT President & surgeon, Dr. Stephen Carryl (Lindener); Dr. Rupert Thompson, Urologist; Dr. Leon Lewis, Obstetrics/Gynecologist (Guyanese); Errol Liverpool, psychologist (Guyanese); Dr. Stevie Reynolds, dentist; Dr. Jim Ervil, dentist; operating room nurse Dawn George (Lindener); and medical student, Leigha Carryl.

The other members of the team, JoAnne Williams-Carryl, LMSW (OMAT volunteer coordinator/secretary), Merle Liverpool, Rosemarie Williams, & Samella Carryl worked on the project at the Linden Center for Special Needs (formerly known as the Handicapped Center) along with Linden International Reunion Association (LIRA) volunteers and local center personnel.

As usual, the theater (operating room) was busy for the entire week with cases scheduled by local physicians as well as emergency cases.  There is never enough time to meet every need. The dentists were busy with evaluations, extractions, fillings, and education of patients. Errol Liverpool, the OMAT psychologist, held clinics and assisted the local psychiatrist with assessing patients. Much was accomplished…. still more to do!

Fr. top left:  Rosemarie Williams, Samella Carryl,
Leigha Carryl, Dr. Stephen Carryl, JoAnne Williams Carryl,
Dr. Jim Ervil, Linda Felix (WOMI), Dr. Errol Liverpool,
Merle Liverpool, Dr. Stevie Reynolds, and Dr. Leon Lewis.

The Linden Center For Special Needs has a history all its own. Three insightful women who saw the need for education and social interaction for children with special needs established it in 1973. The center was in grave disrepair – the roof had begun to leak and the classroom walls were falling apart due to an infestation of wood ants.

The LIRA appealed to the OMAT for help with renovating the center. The OMAT stepped in right on time and adopted the center for its community project, donating $5000 USD to repair the roof and transform the wood walls into concrete.

Linden Center for Special Needs.

Donation check of US $5000 presented
to Linden Center for Special Needs.

Fr. L to R: Mrs. Janice Gibson, President,
Mrs. Loraine Butcher, Treasurer
Waneka Arrindell, Mayor of Linden,
JoAnne Williams-Carryl, LMSW OMAT Secretary/Volunteer Coordinator,
Stephen Carryl, MD, OMAT President.

In spite of its physical condition the center serves 25 students and has won trophies at sign language competitions in Guyana for the past five years. Troy Scott and Ulancy Emanuel (pictured below) are two of their champions.

OMAT volunteers worked feverishly to paint the remaining two classrooms to get them ready for the upcoming school year. Our volunteers may never see the impact that those long, hot hours of painting will have on the lives of the students, but the volunteering itself brings its own rewards. Here are testimonials from two of the volunteers who painted at the center.

Volunteer Natalie (Merle) Liverpool: “I accompanied my husband on an OMAT medical mission to the Linden Hospital in Guyana, South America. It was a much-needed break from my fast-paced lifestyle in Michigan.
When I arrived, the OMAT Volunteer Coordinator informed me that there was an adjoining project outside of the hospital at the Linden Centre For Special Needs. It soon became clear that they needed volunteers to help complete the work of painting the classrooms. I readily accepted the challenge, and spent the next few days working alongside Mrs. Carryl, her daughters, her mother, the center chairperson, Janice Gibson, and Izola Amsterdam to do what was needed to accomplish this goal.
Despite the heat in this tropical country, we had a most rewarding time working, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It was a pleasure to lend a helping hand, and it brought personal contentment to know that the little we did in brightening the classrooms would make a big difference in uplifting the spirits of the staff and students at the center.
I was thankful for the opportunity to be involved in this project, and give credit to the OMAT for expanding their work and adding a community project to their service model.”

OMAT Volunteer Nathalie Liverpool 

Joining Janice Gibson, President, and Loraine Butcher, Treasurer were other OMAT volunteers Samella Carryl, JoAnne Williams-Carryl, RoseMarie Williams, and local volunteer Izola Amsterdam.

Teen volunteer turned painter donates funds to get new chairs.

“I was honored to have the opportunity to paint the classrooms at the Linden Center for Special Needs.
While working I noticed that the wooden benches were falling apart, I was moved to raise funds to help purchase new ones. I had planned to attend a music festival in Europe, which was unfortunately cancelled, leaving me with funds to return to donors who had sponsored me to go on the trip. I asked the donors if they would allow me to reallocate their donations to another cause. All of them consented and I decided to start by donating the $1750 I had collected to the OMAT for purchasing new plastic or metal chairs for the center.”
-Samella Carryl, College student/OMAT Volunteer

Thanks to her time spent volunteering to paint the classrooms the center will benefit from new chairs and Samella will have made a contribution to children with such great need and so little resources.

The OMAT’s plan is to help renovate the entire building. Two classrooms remain with wooden walls and if nothing is done, the walls will soon be destroyed by the wood ant infestation.
(Below left): Samella Carryl
(Below right): Current benches in a classroom

We appeal to you to join us in repairing the Linden Center for Special Needs.  Donate today! 
Every donation counts for this special project to benefit children so greatly in need.