Haiti has had heavy rains over the past couple of weeks and there has been flooding in several areas. Our friends in Grande Saline are dealing with damaged homes and standing water. Schneider went to Grande Saline yesterday and had to walk for over a half hour because even the motorcycle he was riding on was unable to travel on the flooded road. Our community garden, which is full of mature corn ready for harvest, is also flooded, but the farmers think that it will be all right once the water dries up. Many other local farmers were not so lucky and have lost everything that was growing in their gardens. Schneider reported that he was surprised to see how bad things were in Grande Saline. He said that many people lost their homes because the walls are made of sand and dirt and cannot withstand the high water. Schneider told me that he is glad he went because he now understands how difficult things are for his brothers and sisters who live in Grande Saline.
The standing water may create serious health problems as well. Dr. Robinson expressed concern about more malaria and the possibility of a serious cholera outbreak due to the standing water. There is also additional worry about zika and other mosquito-carried diseases. Below are some recent pictures from Grande Saline. Health for Haiti team members, I am sure you will hardly recognize Grande Saline in these pictures.
In other news from Grand Saline. Dr. Gary has offered two free medical clinics in Grande Saline, using the supplies collected by Health for Haiti. All is well with the school lunch program and the computer classes. Although school will be out soon, computer classes will continue through the summer and Tida is welcoming several new children to the classes. The garden is doing well and, despite the flooding, we expect another excellent corn harvest. The farmers are now preparing to plant some rice in the garden. Below are some pictures of the garden before the flood and computer students enjoying lunch.
I am sure the 2015 Health for Haiti class remembers Baby Georges (since you helped bring him into the world!). Baby Georges and his mom have not had an easy time of it and have been struggling to get enough food to eat. Because of donations, Health for Haiti was able to arrange a micro-business plan for them and now they have a small business selling food. Thanks to Tida (and Dr. Robinson) for helping to develop the business plan and for getting the supplies. Hopefully this will make it possible for Baby Georges mom to become financially independent and support them both. We certainly consider Baby Georges and his mom to be part of our Health for Haiti family.
We are also looking forward to some new projects in Grande Saline. A team will be spending a few days in Grande Saline in July for water system maintenance, we will be helping the community to begin a sewing school, we will be offering our Harmony for Haiti music camp, and local George F. Johnson Elementary School teacher, Lynn Gilyard, will be offering a full day professional development workshop for the seven teachers in Grande Saline. The teachers asked to learn about some ways to make learning fun. Lynn is drawing from many years as an elementary school teacher and planning a workshop called “Multiple Intelligences and Universal Design”. The workshop will include some activities that draw from all kinds of learning styles and can be used to make learning fun.
While we continue to make plans for the July Health for Haiti trip (and hope that the roads are passable by then!), please keep our friends in Haiti in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with the hardships created by heavy rains and flooding.