Dr. Vanderpool of LiveBeyond
Dr. Vanderpool, former Brentwood resident, owner of LAVE MD and CEO of LiveBeyond, sold all of his possessions and moved to Thomazeau, Haiti in 2013 to provide much needed medical support. We were able to catch up with him at the LiveBeyond event in Nashville to learn more about his time in Haiti and how he put his entire life in a backpack.
WS: You made quite an impression when you sold everything and moved to Haiti, what inspired the move?
I know, many people were calling my wife, Laurie, and I crazy. But really this had been long thought out for over twenty years. We would often take medical mission trips all over the world and we knew one day we wanted to make our missions full time.
WS: Do you miss any of your things?
Quite the opposite, I find it very freeing to not have to be attached to things. When we made the decision to move, we sold everything! If it didn’t fit into a backpack, it didn’t go to Haiti with me. I have one speaking outfit, that consist of a blue blazer, white shirt, and khaki pants. In one pocket I keep my red tie and in the other my yellow tie. I will say it was hard to throw out pictures of our children. We did digitize everything so that we still have those memories.
How are your children handling you and your wife being in Haiti?
We have three children. Our oldest and his wife are actually in Haiti with us. The other two are still here in the states. Our youngest daughter plans to join us when she graduates from college. They all see the work we are doing and are very encouraged by what we are doing.
What can you tell us about Haiti?
Haiti is 1 1/2 hours away from Miami It is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. You can often find families of fifteen people living in a 10×10 mud hut. Women give birth alone in their mud hut where their babies entrance into the world is being greeted by mud. Also, women cut their umbilical cord with a rock causing a high instance of tetanus. Tetanus doesn’t exist in the US and could be also eliminated in Haiti with proper immunizations. It costs just $4 to deliver a baby in Haiti and just $40 to perform a C-section. We are working to provide women with education, food, medicine and a safe delivery through the efforts of Live Beyond.
What has been the biggest change you have seen in Haiti?
We are so grateful for our partnership with Brad and Kimberly Paisley who funded the instillation of clean water filtration systems in the Thomazeau region to provide more than 200,000 people with access to clean water. Also, to former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe who during his term reduced poverty from 31 percent to 24 percent, provided free school for 1.4 million Haitian children and was responsible for improved infrastructure of hospitals and schools.
Thanks so much to Dr. Vanderpool for taking time out to speak with us about his work in Haiti. We spoke briefly with former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe who wanted us to know that during his first trip to Nashville he immediately felt hospitality and respect for the Haitian people. He told us, “I have fallen in love with Nashville and the people who want to support my country.” Prime Minister Lamothe even embraced the Nashville culture by telling us he bought his first pair of cowboy boots on Broadway during his visit and he can’t wait until he can visit again.
LiveBeyond is a faith-based, humanitarian organization focused on transforming an oppressed community in Thomazeau, Haiti by providing good health and hope for the future. To help in the efforts of LiveBeyond, visit their website to become part of the movement through a medical mission trip, volunteering or hosting a house party.