This post was written by Hunt Stockwell ’18 and Lawson Montgomery ’18.
The alarm went off at 6 o’clock this morning. We were all tired from the exhausting day before but managed to make ourselves our own breakfast that consisted mostly of eggs, fruit, and Nutella with bread. After that we got our supplies for the day ready and stumbled into Midwives for Haiti’s pink jeep and had a wonderfully bumpy ride to the school in Clory, a rural community about 30 minutes outside Hinche.
We split into our four groups to conduct a needs assessment of the community. We have worked for the past month to design a series of questions to ask community members to assess their needs. The groups were Natalie, Olivia, and Hunt; Ryan, Elizabeth, and Gabi; Helen, Claire, and Lawson; Justine and Graham. Each group was also accompanied by a translator and a member of the local community.
Each group went in a different direction from the school and started their interviews. All of the families we met were extremely nice and very willing to answer our questions. It was moving to see people living in extreme poverty who were nicer and happier than many people living in developed countries. Some examples of questions we asked included: What kind of fuel do you cook your food with? Do you clean your drinking water? If so, how? What do you think needs to be done to improve maternal and child health? If you could change one thing in your community, what would it be? Some of the answers to this last question were a better water system, better roads for improved transportation, better education for their children, and even a bakery.
At the end of the interview we gave them all a Luci Lamp. These lamps are solar-powered and can run for 8-12 hours. They are waterproof and very durable, which will be good for the villagers to use. We distributed 50 of these lanterns and plan to give out more in the coming years. The fellows are working on planning a fundraiser to raise money for purchasing more of these lanterns, and we plan to launch the fundraiser on December 2nd.
We arrived back at the MFH house ahead of schedule and we rested until we left to tour St. Therese, the government/Partners in Health-run hospital in Hinche. We saw the brand-new NICU that was donated by Ohio State and the maternity ward that Midwives for Haiti works in. We came back and purchased some cokes from a local vendor. This was a relief because we have been drinking water everyday. We have collected all of the data from the day and put these in a spreadsheet. We are working tonight to improve the needs assessment for Round Two tomorrow!
Highlights from the day:
Ryan: Seeing people’s face light up when we gave them the Luci Lights during the needs assessment
Hunt: Interviewing this one elderly lady who seemed very cheerful and had a very cute, happy grandchild
Elizabeth: Seeing a different side of Haiti for the first time
Justine: Feeling like I was actually doing something to help make a difference and playing with the girl in the yellow shirt
Graham: Giving the lanterns to the residents and seeing how they lit up as we described the light
Claire: Talking to Gauthier Evane and when the people set up the nicest chairs for us
Lawson: Seeing the women kiss and thank us for the lights
Helen: Personally getting to know Haitians who are all generous, proud, and kind
Olivia: Hiking around Clory and listening to the needs of the people. Also, seeing how thankful they were to receive the Luci light
Gabi: Having this one girl followed around and she came house to house with us.
Nathalie: Talking to Stuart’s curriculum partner, Oxanne.
Stuart: Today was a huge learning experience for me. Working with Oxanne opened my eyes to the long process & the time and work to implement a program in a way so that it is beneficial for the community and also that it is sustainable.
I am so glad to hear that you guys are having such a meaningful time in Haiti! I wish I could be there with y’all. And Stuart, I am honestly so starstruck. You are such a great role model for all of us! Keep up the good work guys!