We had an awesome day working in Grande Saline. We were up early for a delicious Haitian breakfast of spaghetti and hotdogs by the pool. After that we loaded up our bus and headed out for a very bumpy ride to Grande Saline.
The 2017 Health for Haiti students raised enough money to purchase rice, beans, fish and oil for 200 families. We spent a couple of hours bagging up the food to distribute to the people. Yesterday Pastor Berlando distributed tickets to 200 local families and people came from quite a ways away for the food distribution. The people sat on benches outside of the church until all of the food was packaged. We also had a personal care kit with a wash cloth and hygiene supplies for each family.
Before we started the food distribution Pastor Berlando spoke about how much the community appreciated the gift from the students. After that, the people with tickets came in one by one and the students handed out the personal care kits and bags of food. It was a great opportunity to interact with the community and the entire event went very well.
After the food distribution we all walked to the water system. Greg Cempa explained how the system worked and the students had a chance to see the river that is the source of the water. The system has been running since March 2015 and provides the community with thousands of gallons of clean, safe drinking water every day. The system has had a substantial positive impact on the health of the people in the local community who have no other source of drinking water. We saw many people coming for water and the students also enjoyed playing with the local children.
We also had a meeting with the water system operators and the committee that oversees the daily operation of the system. As a part of recognizing and supporting the important work that this committee does, we brought badges and shirts for them. The committee is the voice of the entire community and makes important decisions about how the system is managed. We hope that soon we will have the necessary funding to convert the system from gas generators to solar power. Everyone is looking forward to this exciting improvement that will make the system more sustainable and allow the system to filter more water each day.
We also visited the community garden where the land is being prepared so that we can plant corn, beans and melons. All of the produce from the garden will help to support the school lunch in Grande Saline.
We returned to the church to start setting up for tomorrow’s medical clinic and then headed for the hotel.
On the way home we were forced to stop for a funeral procession. In Haiti, funerals are often a celebration of life. There was music and many people dancing.
After arriving back at the hotel we had a delicious dinner of rice, beans, chicken and plantains and everyone had some well-deserved rest. Tomorrow we will head back to Grande Saline for a full day of activities. We will have our medical clinic and offer several education programs, lunch for the children and a solar oven workshop. We are so grateful for our translators and for this amazing group of students. They have worked so hard and are really making a difference for the community we serve in Grande Saline. This is an amazing group!
Good night from Haiti!