Randi W. Cohen of Clintonville will be waiting until her normally scheduled departure date of Feb. 10 to head to the Dominican Republic to once again serve as a volunteer interpreter for the International Medical Alliance.

Randi W. Cohen of Clintonville will be waiting until her normally scheduled departure date of Feb. 10 to head to the Dominican Republic to once again serve as a volunteer interpreter for the International Medical Alliance.

But she knows that even then she will probably be called upon to help some of the victims still recovering from the devastating earthquake that struck neighboring Haiti on Jan. 12.

Cohen knows this because of the news she's hearing from colleagues with the nonprofit relief organization who did head to the Dominican Republic's capital of Santo Domingo following the earthquake and drove five hours to set up operations on the border with Haiti.

"I just spoke to Dorothy," wrote Dr. Lee Kagan, a California physician and friend of Randi Cohen and her husband, Bill.

Kagan was referring to Dorothy Davison, executive director of the IMA, which is based in Knoxville, Tenn.

"She sounds exceptionally frazzled, bordering on tears," Kagan continued. She then recounted why Davison would be that way by quoting her:

"I'm standing here looking at seven coffins and there's no one to take them away. There's a body bag full of amputated limbs. We had three deaths last night."

Randi Cohen, a bilingual psychotherapist, isn't certain how the injured from earthquake-devastated Port-au-Prince are making their way to the clinic that IMA has set up on the border, but they are, according to her friends. Cohen said last week that the clinic has eight beds, and that IMA colleagues reported 2,000 people were lined up to receive treatment at one point.

Cohen, whose command of Spanish would be of little help in aiding the French-speaking Haitians at this point in the aftermath of the disaster, will make her third annual trip under the IMA's auspices next month.

"After things calm down a little, then my skills as a therapist and my language skills will enable me to do more," she said last week. "I'm a gofer and I schlep things. I just do what I can do."

While the finger pointing already has begun that this or that form of aid hasn't been offered quickly enough or this or that aspect of the relief effort has been mishandled, Cohen said her colleagues with the International Medical Alliance have remained above the fray.

"One of the things I like about this group, I haven't gotten any negative talk about how things were handled or were mishandled," Cohen said. "And in fact even when I'm down there, there's no competition. People in this group just want to do good as opposed to badmouth anybody else who's not doing what we're doing.

"It's a very can-do, collaborative attitude."

While she knows many other contribution gathering efforts are under way for numerous programs to aid the suffering in Haiti, Cohen sees another good outlet for charitable largesse from central Ohio as being the IMA. Free donations using PayPal may be made at https://imaonline.org/DONATE_Now.html.


Business anniversary now fundraiser for Haiti

What was to have been an open house celebrating Mozart's Bakery and Piano Caf's 15th anniversary and the 254th birthday of its namesake on Saturday, Jan. 30, is undergoing a transformation.

"More than 1,500 people are expected to attend," according to owner Anand Saha. "What better opportunity to make that into a fundraiser/open house?"

Saha said that Powell resident Tom Fritz, a member of the board of Lifeline Christian Mission, will set up a station to collect funds for victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake that struck Haiti. The Westerville-based nondenominational relief organization is involved in projects in not only Haiti but also Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba and the United States, according to its Web site.

"Although it is my big 15th year anniversary, I feel that doing a fundraiser takes precedence over my event," Saha wrote in an e-mail.

The festival and fundraiser at the caf, 2885 N. High St., will run from noon to 10 p.m. Those attending will be treated to European pastries and canaps, live classical music and coffee, wine and tea.

There will be a break in the music from 5:45 and 6 p.m. for the cutting of the cake to mark composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birthday.