Health for Haiti had another fun and productive (and very hot) trip to Haiti last week. We began our trip by visiting Grande Saline. We spent three days with the community there. We had a team (led by Greg) who performed some maintenance and operator training at the water system. The system was busy and the operators report that they distribute 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of clean water each day. People come from near and far to get the safe drinking water. Dr. Gay and I met with the Water and Power Community to review our plans for converting the system from gas to solar power. We are very hopeful that we will have the funding to complete this project in 2018. We also met with members of the Saint Marc Rotary to discuss their role in the project. This was a wonderful meeting and we are fortunate to have such great partners in Haiti.
We also had a wonderful time doing crafts and sports (kickball and baseball) with the children. We enjoyed watching an amazing soccer tournament (thanks Union Endicott High School for donating their old uniforms). On our last day there were races and dance competitions and everyone had a wonderful time! Prizes were awarded to the first and second place competitors. We even played a game that is kind of a Haitian version of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”, but involves dizzy blindfolded people walking around with scissors. We also were very happy to help to provide a nutritious lunch to the local children each day. Thanks to Daniella D., Daniella S., Eveline and Veronique for cooking and washing all of those dishes! Thanks to Pastor Berlando for excellent organization and to our wonderful security team in Grande Saline who helped us to work safely and effectively with some very large groups of children.
Please be sure to check out our Haiti Dance Party video to see some of the amazing dancing that was going on during our visit.
We visited the community garden and were very happy to see the rice growing there. We also saw the sewing students working hard in class every day. With Dana and Chesnil’s help they are making beautiful blouses and skirts. I was measured for a skirt and I can’t wait to pick it up next time I go to Grande Saline!
We spent one day in Port au Prince where we visited Mother Teresa’s Children’s Hospital and Lambi Orphanage. At Lambi we provided lunch, handed out toys, toothbrushes, shoes and clothes, did some crafts, and socialized with the children and staff. We also were fortunate to have Dr. Pierre Louis meet us at Lambi. She and her staff saw each of the children to do a baseline health assessment and we hope will be working with us to put a much-needed nutrition plan in place for the kids. Thanks to all of the people who donated much-needed clothes, toys, shoes and over the counter medications for the children at Lambi. Your generosity is overwhelming and was so appreciated by the children and staff at Lambi.
Many thanks to Greg, Darlene, Dr. Gay, Tom, John, Ally, Brian, Jack, Michaela, Shea and Tyler for all of there hard work. It was so, so hot. I don’t think any of us have ever been that hot! And our bus got stuck in the mud a couple of times. And it was the usual wonderful, crazy, colorful, Haiti chaos every day. Thanks for working hard, never complaining (especially on those seemingly endless bus rides) and showing so much love to our friends in Haiti. We also thank J.J., Schneider, Brigida, Roosevelt, Patrick, and Jean Frico for their tireless help with everything from translating to pushing the bus out of the mud (even when the wheels were buried or it was sideways across the road). We could not have accomplished what we did without the six of you. Thanks to Stevenson for driving us and keeping us safe on the road. It was an awesome (but very, very sweaty) team!
Professor Hankin and I look forward to being in Haiti agzin this January with our 2018 Health for Haiti class. Interested students should apply now to join us in January. As always, thanks for supporting Health for Haiti!