Monday, 8 April 2013

The Logistics of establishing a Baark! Clinic at a remote Family Island of the Bahamas, a snapshot.

      I’m reminded of the Television commercial where the guy talking to his boss says, I can do that, I can do that, I can do that…heavy sigh… am I going to do that? When first asked by Laura Kimble, Chairman of Baark!, about the possibility of expanding Baark!’s outreach to Mangrove Cay, Andros I was hit with the flood of thoughts of how we would overcome the logistics? Each clinic thus far on Andros has added additional planning and execution challenges not experienced during the preceding clinic.

     Planning and organizing a clinic in Mangrove Cay added the additional challenge of the location being remote, only accessible by water or air. Most of the organizing would have to be done from afar. There are three primarily critical aspects that initially must be overcome in order to consider mobilizing a MASH type clinic to a remote Family Island of the Bahamas: Clinic Location, Lodging for Volunteers and Transportation. Arranging the three without benefit of being physically at the location can be daunting. 

Preparing and sending out a solicitation for lodging at local hotels, lodges and resorts was the first step. We had two gracious offers from Joan and Mickey of Seascape Inn ( and Ms. Cheryl Bastian of Swains Cay Lodge ( Rooms were available on the 15th and 16th of March, the date was set. Reaching out to a good friend, Mr. Jeff Jolly, a resident of Mangrove Cay, proved instrumental in coordinating, arranging and planning for the multitude of intricate details including additional transportation for the team, which was generously donated by Ms. Liz Bain of the Mangrove Cay Club ( Mr. Lionel Rolle of Mangrove Cay, the individual who planted the initial seed of a clinic in Mangrove Cay while on the inner city streets of Nassau during Operation Potcake, suggested that the Catholic Sister’s Center in Little Harbour would be a suitable clinic location and arranged for it to be used. It was perfect.

     Having set the date, organizers both on Andros and New Providence could further advance the planning. During a scouting visit to Mangrove Cay, I happened upon the M/V Lady Katherina moored to the Government Dock at Lisbon Creek. Transportation for the Baark! Truck, traps, crates and supplies from Nassau to Mangrove Cay is the fourth critical detail. I seized the opportunity to speak with the Capt King of Lady Katherina to solicit a donation of transport for the truck and supplies. He tentatively thought that something could be arranged but said that I would have to speak with Katherina’s owner, Reverend King (his father) of Mangrove Cay. After explaining to Rev. King what we intended to do and asking him to donate passage he smiled and said “I don’t have a dog” which was initially discouraging, but he added that something might be done for discounted transport. Stephanie Kesten met with Capt. King at Potter’s Cay in Nassau and negotiated the discount down to donated full fare passage to and from Mangrove Cay.

     Baark! Volunteers descended on Mangrove Cay on 15th of March and quickly set up the clinic. It was clearly obvious that what was learned from previous clinics on Andros and volunteer’s participation in Operation Potcake was put to use and even more would be learned from this clinic. Baark! far exceeded the goal of 50-60 procedures by completing 101 procedures in the equivalent of two working days. A resounding success!

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