Category: 2016

Rice, Computer Classes, Pancakes and Bowling

After months of growing, the rice in the community garden in Grande Saline is finally ready to harvest. Today the farmers started the process of cutting the plants and separating the grains of rice. There are still a few stages that the rice has to go through, but soon it should be available for student lunches.  Thanks to the farmers in Grande Saline who had to deal with flooding and the hurricane while they were taking care of this rice.

We also have a new computer literacy program beginning in Grande Saline.  Computer classes are now part of the school curriculum and are being presented by instructor Etienne Elysee. Classes began with students learning the different parts of the computer and the function of each part.  The students took turns presenting the information that they had studied.

Our friend Elysee Alcidor also shared an update from computer classes at his school in Cite Soleil. This is the first time his students have had access to computers. He said that they have been working hard and next week the students will have their first computer exam.

Back here in the US we had our first class meeting with the 2017 Health for Haiti team and we have started to prepare for our January trip.  Please consider supporting our class projects by attending one of our fundraisers. All money raised will go directly to support our projects in Haiti.

We will have a pancake breakfast from 8am to 10am on Sunday, November 20th at Applebee’s on Front Street in Binghamton.  Tickets are only $7. Please contact Maureen Hankin (hankinmr@sunybroome.edu), Jen Musa (musajm@sunybroome.edu) or any 2017 Health for Haiti student to purchase a ticket.

We are also excited to host our 2nd annual Health for Haiti Bowling Tournament at 12:30pm on Saturday, December 10th.  The tournament will be held at Midway Lanes in Vestal.  For $25 you can enjoy a fun afternoon of bowling, pizza, and wings and support the projects that our students will work on in Haiti this January.  Please email Professor Diane Kelly to register (kellydm@sunybroome.edu) or click the link below for more information.

Bowl for Haiti!

Thank you for your support!

After Matthew

Hello, Health for Haiti Friends. Thanks to everyone who kept the people of Haiti in their hearts this week.  Hurricane Matthew had disastrous effects in Haiti, but our friends in Grande Saline were spared the catastrophic damage seen in other regions of the country.

Although there is still a serious risk of flooding in Grande Saline, thankfully we have heard that the people are safe. We hope to see the community rebuild damaged homes and replace their lost possessions and the goats, pigs and chickens that did not survive the storm.  The water filtration system and solar panels are still in place in Grande Saline and should (hopefully) be fully operational again soon.

As I am sure you have seen in the news, the already fragile communities in Haiti are facing a devastating shortage of shelter, food, and clean drinking water. They are also experiencing an increased risk for cholera and other water borne diseases. It is a sad and frightening time for our neighbors in Haiti, and they need our encouragement and continued support.

We send our love to all the people in Haiti who are suffering in the aftermath of this powerful hurricane.

Health for Haiti Update and Worries About Hurricane Matthew

We were feeling relieved because the water had finally receded and school was back in session in Grande Saline. However, with Hurricane Matthew heading for Haiti we are once again very worried for all of our friends who live there.  The National Weather Service is warning of torrential rainfall and dangerous flash floods. While we hope for the best and can only wait to see what the next few days will bring, here are some recent pictures.

The sewing students wasted no time in getting back to work as soon as the church was free of flood waters. You can see that they are learning to make a skirt in class. All of the fabric and supplies that the students are using were donated by Health for Haiti supporters.

The rice is growing very well in the community garden.  The farmers continue to watch over the garden and water and weed the rice fields.  If all goes well, the rice will be harvested in the next month or so.  After that, the third corn crop will be planted in the community garden.

Here are some pictures of recent computer classes in Grande Saline. The students are enjoying the new desks.

And we were also so happy to receive these pictures from our dear friend, Elysee Alcidor.  Elysee is the principal of a school in Cite Soleil and his students are beginning their very first computer literacy classes this fall.  Elysee tells us that his students and their families are excited about learning to use the computers.

Here in Binghamton, our own SUNY Broome Health for Haiti 2017 class is coming together and we are excited to make more plans for our January trip. Please check back for information about our upcoming fundraisers and events.

But most importantly, our thoughts and prayers and hearts are with all of our friends in Haiti as they prepare for the approaching storm. We hope that all those who are in the path of the hurricane have adequate shelter and will be safe. We will post updates as we have them.

Challenges

It has been a difficult couple of weeks in Grande Saline.  School was supposed to start on September 5 but has been postponed indefinitely because of serious flooding in the community.  Our friends in Grande Saline are dealing with significant standing water, even in the classrooms and in the church.  As a result, it is not currently possible for the children to attend school, or for the community to hold sewing classes and computer classes. The standing water has also resulted in damage to homes, many more mosquitoes and flies, and has made travel in the area very difficult.  Health for Haiti is working closely with the community to find ways to deal with the flooding.

As if the flooding was not enough of a challenge, the compressor that runs the pump for the water system failed.  The community was left without clean water for about a week while the Heath for Haiti engineering team worked to help figure out what the problem was and how to fix it.  Thanks to Greg Cempa (Pall Corporation), Tom Collart, Dr. Robinson, and our friends in Grande Saline who worked so hard to resolve this problem. Late last week local electrician, Etienne Elysee, was able to fix the compressor and the water system is back up and running.  This is especially important for the community because all of the flooding is associated with increases in water-borne infections. A small Health for Haiti team will visit Grande Saline in October to provide some water system upgrades and to work on a plan to have spare parts available that can prevent a prolonged system shut down. In addition, we are still very hopeful that we will have success with our Rotary International Global Grant project and that we will be able to convert the water system from gas to solar power. Many thanks to Jeff Smith, president of the Endwell Rotary, for his leadership and dedication, to the local Rotary clubs who have pledged support and to the Saint Marc Rotary in Haiti.

Another bright spot is the community garden.  The rice is growing very well (and does not mind the extra water).  The recent pictures of the rice growing in the garden (thanks, Schneider) are beautiful. If you look at the garden pictures from the last post, you can see how much the rice plants have grown.

If all continues to go well, the rice will be our third harvest from the community garden. That is pretty impressive considering that it has not quite been a year since the community garden project started. As with the corn and beans, the rice will support the school lunch program.

Thank you to all of the Health for Haiti supporters who have shared time and resources to support our friends in Grande Saline at this very difficult time. We are working closely with our friends in Grande Saline to find the best ways that we can help, and the generosity of the Health for Haiti community will make that help possible. We have heard from the community in Grande Saline that our continued friendship and commitment has been a comfort as they deal with the devastating effects of the flooding.

We are also very excited about the applications that we have received for the 2017 class.  We have some amazing students who are interested in working in Haiti in January and we know that they will do amazing work. We are currently accepting students and welcome additional applications.  We are working with the communities we serve in Haiti to put plans together for our 2017 projects. Together we will continue to do our best to meet the challenges and celebrate the successes.

 

 

Water, Rice, and Sewing News from Grande Saline

Greetings from Health for Haiti!  During these hot days of summer in upstate New York, most of us have a pretty easy time finding a cold drink when we need one.  Cold water may not be easy to come by in Grande Saline, but the water filtration system is busier than ever.  People are spending quite some time waiting in line for water. Having access to clean water reduces exposure to the germs that can cause typhoid, cholera, chronic diarrhea, and other waterborne diseases. After about a year and a half with access to clean water, along with Health for Haiti efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene, there is no doubt within the community in Grande Saline that they are experiencing better health. As more and more families come to the system for clean water new challenges arise. The community in Grande Saline recently had a meeting and elected seven people to serve on a Community Water Board.  The Board will help to manage day-to-day operations at the water system and will address comments and questions about the system from the community.  For example, the Board is working on some guidelines about how many containers a person can fill at one time, and they are helping to keep the land around the water system clean.  In October a small Health for Haiti team will visit Grande Saline to perform some maintenance and upgrades on the water filtration system and meet with the Board to discuss future management of the system. We also hope to begin the process of converting the system from gas generators to solar power.  We see this transition as a critical step in the process of making the water filtration system self-sustainable.  Helping to provide continued access to safe drinking water is central to the Health for Haiti program and we are grateful for the donations that have made this project possible.

Next we go from water to food. The re-planted rice seedlings continue to grow in the Community Garden.  It takes a lot of effort to keep the rice plots irrigated and weeded. Over the next month the farmers will continue to weed, water and fertilize the rice. If everything goes well, the rice will be harvested in a couple of months and will be used for the school lunch program.

And we are happy to tell you that sewing school classes continue for the thirty sewing students in Grande Saline. The teachers asked for a some tables so that the students could work on patterns.  Wood is expensive in Haiti but we were able to help with some supplies for the new tables. The students are learning to sew seams and make patterns. Thanks to the sewing teachers and to the people who have worked so hard to get this new program off to a great start.

Soon it will be time for school to begin again in Grande Saline.  This year we hope to be able to help to build a kitchen/storage building for the school lunch program in Grande Saline and to continue to support the ongoing education programs.  Below is a picture of the structure that the community would like to try to build. The building would serve as a storage place for the food from the Community Garden and as a place to prepare and serve lunch.

Kitchen

Finally, Professor Hankin and I are very excited to put together the 2017 Health for Haiti class!  The 2017 team will work with our partners in Haiti in January to provide health clinics and education and to continue to build on the other Health for Haiti efforts. Interested students can visit our home page for a link to the 2017 Fact Sheet and Application.  Thank you!

A Graduation in Cite Soleil, Classes Begin at Amazing Grace Academy, and much more….

BridgetoHaitiLogoWe have some exciting updates for you from Haiti. Mr. Benjamin Ousner, the computer teacher at Pastor Vincent’s Centre D’Etudes Professionnelles de la Fondation Bon Samaritain (CEPROF-FBS), is proud to report that some of his students graduated from the computer literacy training program on March 18th. The graduates are: Dorvilier Getro, Francois Merveille, Charlene Lucide, Leblanc Resilienne, Jean Pierre Marie Florence, Georges Jessinska, Noel Berline, Francois Samuel, Amilio Amilcar, Florison Nadie, Cineas Andrei Dejan David-Ocevic and Frederic Jean Edwige. Please see below for some pictures from this special day.

Congratulations to Mr. Ousner and his students for their hard work and for their accomplishments! The computer lab at the Good Samaritan Foundation in Cite Soleil is open to school children in the morning and to young adults in the afternoon. Mr. Ousner writes that this program is so important for training the youth in Cite Soleil and will help to reduce unemployment.  He and his students would like to thank the Health for Haiti team for the laptops and for their support of CEPROF-FBS. Although electricity, salary and Internet are often not available, Pastor Vincent and Mr. Ousner have persevered and have demonstrated great dedication to providing this educational opportunity to their students and community.

We are also very happy to report that Amazing Grace Academy (AGA) opened for classes on April 2.  Our friend Jean Frico reports that he has two classes of 50 children. Half come in the morning and half in the afternoon.  He has 117 children who want to participate in the computer literacy and English classes, but he is starting with 50.  Jean hopes to be able to accept more of the children soon.  Jean says, “The children are smart and hungry for education.” He said that everyone came for the first day of classes and even though they had to sit on the floor, they were excited for class. Jean plans to paint the school, hopes to be able to purchase chairs and tables and a chalk board, and is in need of more computers, but AGA is off to a great start!  Thank you for all of your efforts to create and open AGA, John Frico.

Computer classes also continue in Grande Saline.  The new solar panels and classroom and the additional computers we brought in January have enabled Tida to grow this program to 190 students. The students continue to work hard and we thank Tida for his continued commitment to this program.

And we are sneaking in one community garden update. Upstate New York is cold and snowy this week but it is hot and sunny in Grande Saline. The community garden was cleared after the harvest last month, replanted and is growing well. The farmers will be installing some extra pipe this week to help with watering the growing garden. The school lunch program is going very well and we are excited to see more food growing in the garden.

We would like to say thanks once again to all of our Health for Haiti friends for following our progress and for your support of these projects! We would also like to thank and recognize the teachers in Haiti who demonstrate such dedication to their communities under difficult circumstances.

And finally, we would like to issue a special thank you to the parishoners of the Church of the Holy Family in Endwell, New York and to the Poverty Busters Giving Circle  (http://povertybustersgivingcircle.com/) for their significant donations. These generous donors are helping to support our existing projects and are making it possible to explore some exciting, new, community-driven initiatives in Haiti. We look forward to updating you as these projects progress.