May was a month of catch up for the U.S. contingent of HHN as we continue to stand side-by-side with the people of Haiti. Rosedanie returned following six months spent in Haiti and, later, on St. Croix where she took an intensive course in Permaculture in a climate closely related to that of Limbé. While there she made a number of helpful contacts with professionals working in various aspects of agriculture, including aquaculture.
These contacts and the cooperation they engender help to reinforce our goal of cooperation among the many ngo’s working in Haiti. This, too, is a side-by-side effort and one that will make the best possible use of the resources we all have available to us. One example of this has been a contact Rosedanie made with World Water Partners, a group within Engineers Without Borders. They are donating two high capacity water filtration systems, including shipping and supplies for one year. One of these will go to a Haitian owned and operated clinic in Limbé where HHN has a connection forged prior to the cholera outbreak and reinforced during joint efforts to stop the spread of the disease.
We had to acknowledge that the cholera outbreak had slowed progress on projects which have been underway since our beginnings in January 2010. However, work at the HHN Center continued. As the all important base of our operations in Haiti, the center became the hub for volunteers working on cholera education outreach and a place to teach such things as the making of chlorine and of rehydration solutions. It hosted after school snacks liberally sprinkled with nutrition education (malnutrition was a key factor in the Haitians’ susceptibility to cholera) and the opportunity to speak the English they are learning in school. It continued to provide a venue for the work of the Tambour Creole Collective whose art classes, poetry readings, and performances were a welcome respite from the suffering just outside the door. It hosted a Haitian Independence celebration January 1st which helped to lift spirits and to inspire change.
The center is, of course, the home of the HHN Haiti Committee who are the local driving force behind all we are doing. In addition to staffing and overseeing operation of the center, they are currently working on a plan to establish a badly needed internet café on the premises. Although these are all volunteers, a significant portion of our resources in this first 17 months has gone toward the establishment and maintenance of the center which is a leased facility. There were repairs to be made, the perimeter to be secured, an alternative power supply to be arranged, drains to be cleared, clean water source to be supplied, a food garden to be established (The garden will soon be home to the fry ponds which will supply tilapia stock for the Masabiel Farmers Cooperative Aquaculture project. Professor Wm. Mebane of Woods Hole, MA recently visited the site and provided valuable information on the next steps to be taken on this project), and on, and on. Of course, without the center there is no HHN. It is well situated and very adequate for our needs. Our long range goal is to purchase the property.
Slowly, step-by-step and side-by-side we move forward. Please walk with us.