Thank You GFJ Elementary and More Photos From Grande Saline

SUNY Broome Health for Haiti would like to extend a sincere thank you to the students, staff and families from George F. Johnson Elementary School in Endicott.  The GFJ community has been partnering with the Bridge to Haiti project for the past two years and have helped to enhance educational opportunities for children their age in Haiti.  At an assembly on Monday more than 600 students listened attentively to an update about the school in Grande Saline, and then showed us on what they have worked on this year. Wow! Not only have the students worked to raise a substantial amount of money to support the school in Grande Saline, but they have also created educational materials to share with their peers in Haiti. Last year they created over sixty beautiful PowerPoint presentations and this year they created several books that will be the start the very first library in Grande Saline. The books are wonderful and I know that the children in Grande Saline will love them and be very proud to have them in their new school! All of the educational materials created by the students were translated into Haitian Creole by Pastor Mike Willis from the Vestal United Methodist Church.  Pastor Willis has been working in Haiti for decades and has been a tremendous help and resource for the Health for Haiti program.  Thank you, Pastor Willis, for being so generous with your time. Kindergarten teacher Lynn Gilyard has coordinated the Haiti project at GFJ and will be traveling to Haiti with us next month. Thank you to the entire GFJ community for your kindness and generosity. Your donation will help to support the school lunch and educational programs for children like you in Grande Saline.  You are truly global citizens and we are inspired by your enthusiasm and willingness to help the children in Haiti.

(Assembly Photos by Linda Myers, UE Communication Coordinator)

Meanwhile, things in Grande Saline are still very wet.  Below you can see some photos that were taken yesterday. You will see that many families are dealing with flooding in their homes.  The homes are made of sand and dirt and you can see that the water is actually eroding the walls.  However, although the road is still under water, the water filtration system is running and the people have access to safe drinking water.

From Dr. Robinson: “Despite the flooding, the operators are still working, like good soldiers.  I am so proud of them.  May God bless everyone in the US and Haiti who supports this water filtration system.  You can imagine how the life of this population would be without the water system.” The operators and people must wade through water and mud to get to the water system. But imagine the alternative, with no sanitation the flooding makes the water quality even worse and the people are at an increased risk for infection and disease.  I think these pictures will give you a renewed appreciation for our easy access to clean, safe drinking water. After all of this flooding, we are very fortunate to have a Pall engineer traveling with us to Haiti in July to check on the water system. Thank you to our friends at Pall for your continued commitment to support this water filtration system.

Even with the clean water, there is also a lot of worry about mosquitos.  From Tida: “As you know, the situation in Grande Saline is very bad, We are not too worried about good water because the water filtration system continues to do an awesome job.  But my heart is broken to see the people. We are very concerned about malaria and zika.  We are worried for the pregnant women.”

The standing water will make the mosquito problem worse.  This is a very difficult and sad situation because the people have little or no protection from the mosquitos. Health for Haiti will bring anti-mosquito spray and netting in July, but this is such a small response to a huge problem.

Hopefully Haiti will have a lot of sunshine in the next couple of weeks and dry up the standing water.

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