It may be cold in Binghamton, but the sun is shining on the garden in Haiti!

Community Garden Update:

We had our first bit of snow this weekend but it is warm and sunny in Haiti.  Here are some recent pictures of the community garden. It seems to be growing well and we are putting the finishing touches on the nutrition lesson that we will have for the children.  It will be very exciting to see the garden in person in a couple of weeks!

Tippy Tap: Phase 1

In addition to the garden, we also have another update from Grande Saline.  One thing that the 2016 Health for Haiti students will be working on in Haiti this year is providing some education about handwashing. The CDC reports that diarrhea and respiratory infections are the leading killers of children in the developing world, and that handwashing can help to prevent the spread of deadly diseases (http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/programs/handwashing-developing-world.html).  Now that there is some access to clean water in Grande Saline, we wanted to find a way to encourage and promote handwashing.

SUNY Broome Biology Professor, Dr. Bill Hollister, who is part of the 2016 Health for Haiti team, was doing some research for this project and learned about the “tippy tap” (http://www.tippytap.org/the-tippy-tap). The tippy tap represents a solution for hygienic handwashing in places where there is no running water. Here is some information from the tippy tap website: “The tippy tap is a hands free way to wash your hands that is especially appropriate for rural areas where there is no running water. It is operated by a foot lever and thus reduces the chance for bacteria transmission as the user touches only the soap. It uses only 40 millilitres of water to wash your hands. Additionally, the used “waste” water can go to plants or back into the water table. The first ‘official’ tippy tap was built in the eighties by Dr. Jim Watt in Zimbabwe using a gourd.  Since then, many variations  have come into existence depending on local materials and aesthetics.”

We decided to try to build a big tippy-tap in Grande Saline as part of our 2016 program.The tippy-tap will be close to the school and will provide a way for the school children to wash their hands.  We wanted to build something sturdy that could be used by several children at once. Because our time in Grande Saline will be limited, we wanted to get a head start on the construction, especially the parts that require time for cement to set. We asked Schneider, one of our partners in Haiti, to help us get the project started.   Using donation money that the student’s raised, Schneider was able to purchase the materials, get them to Grande Saline, and build the framework for the tippy-tap. The 2016 Health for Haiti students will finish the construction, set up the tippy-tap, and teach the children about handwashing and how it can help them to stay healthy. Thanks so much for the awesome work, Schneider!  And thanks to those in Grande Saline who helped out with the project and everyone here who donated the bar soap that will be used with the tippy-tap.

This year, in addition to Dr. Hollister, who is helping with our nutrition and hygiene education program, we are also excited to have many other experts join us!  Dr.Tom Bucker, dentist and SUNY Broome faculty member, will enable us to add free dental clinics to our medical clinics. We are very happy to work once again with Dr. Robinson who is the Haitian doctor who will lead our medical clinics.  Dr. Gay Canough, CEO of ETM Solar Works, will lead our solar installation on the new school in Grande Saline.  Mr. Greg Cempa from Pall, along with Mr. Tom Collart, will lead the clean water project updates, maintenance and training. And SUNY Broome Marketing and Communications specialist and adjunct instructor Ms. Silvia Briga will help us to document all of our work.  We are also fortunate to have a diverse and talented group of students who will make these projects a reality by sharing their skills with the communities we serve in Haiti.  Our students have experience with agriculture, dental hygiene, education, engineering, microbiology and nursing….just to name a few.

So thanks from our 2016 Health for Haiti team to everyone who supported our fundraisers and donated to our projects.  We hope that you have a wonderful holiday!

 

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