“Women For Haiti’s Future” Club Week 2 Recap

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The volunteers that were here this past week

It was another great week in a beautiful country! There were some very interesting volunteers here this week from Richmond, Michigan and Las Vegas. I really enjoyed hanging out with them. We went out to dinner one night which was a very interesting experience. We ate some very yummy french fries, however, which was a nice break from the rice and beans. I also went for a long (and tiring) run with two of the volunteers, Dr. Alice and Dr. Casey. It was nice to have some extra company.

The girls continue to open up more and more. While it took them some extra time to understand effective communication and what I meant by good and bad character, they seemed to really retain the information and enjoy the various lessons this week. This week was filled with lots of skits, which, to my surprise, the girls were very willing to participate in. There are a few girls at both the orphanage and in Rivage that have some serious acting potential. It continues to be interesting comparing the two different teaching environments. The girls at the orphanage are very smart and comprehend the information much quicker than the girls in Rivage.

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They have become more and more attentive with every lesson–they’ve even started taking notes. They also ask AMAZING questions on the anonymous question slips. A few examples include:

If I kiss a boy who has HIV can I get HIV?

Is it okay to have sex before I have my period?

Why are some boys nice and soft at first and then become aggressive?

Why do some people not use condoms?

Is it bad to have sex with more than one boy?

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Some of the girls’ descriptions of good and bad character.

It is very clear that these girls are thinking about their futures and striving to make the best decisions. Sometimes they ask questions that I don’t even know a definite answer to. I try to give the most objective opinion possible, especially since Haitian culture can be very sensitive, but it has been difficult to navigate the fine line between not saying enough and overstepping my boundaries. My time at the Orphanage was really
meaningful this past week, and I learn something new about every girl each lesson based on her participation in different conversations and activities.

 

Rivage is very different, but in its own special way. The girls in Rivage do not pick up information as quickly, so we spend a lot more time on every conversation reiterating the important information. When they do understand, however, they do a good job applying the various lessons in activities and skits. They also have a lot of heart and a very wide variety of different personalities. They get distracted pretty easily, but they do seem to care. One or two of the older girls try to act “too cool” sometimes, but they keep coming back so they must at least like the curriculum, whether they show it or not. The younger girls are the more attentive ones, and they take notes and participate a lot. There are some sassy girls, some shy girls, some very smart girls, some nice, innocent girls, and some rebellious girls. Each one of them is unique and all of their personalities greatly add to the curriculum. Furthermore, girls in Rivage are known for getting pregnant at young ages, so this curriculum is crucial for them. We started a new rule that says every girl has to give me, Isabelle, and Oxanne a hug before they leave. Those girls give some of the best, most comforting hugs ever. Some Americans really need to take lessons from them. Furthermore, the girls in Rivage started writing a song about the curriculum. They are not finished, but they sang it for me at the end of the last lesson. It was a very special moment. Seeing how much of themselves these girls have put into the curriculum means a lot. They sang about what they’ve learned and how they will be leaders. I can’t wait to hear the finished product.

We have completed 6 lessons and have 6 to go! It is crazy to think that my time here is already halfway over. Monday marks the transition to more health related lessons, so it will be interesting to see how the girls respond to talking about more embarrassing topics like condoms and periods. I am excited to see how it goes!

“Women for Haiti’s Future” Club Continues

Teaching at the girls orphanage

Teaching at the girls orphanage

It has been almost a week since the rest of the Global Health Fellows headed back to Norfolk, and although it was sad to see them leave I am settling in to the house and continuing to make progress teaching my curriculum! Over the weekend I started teaching the curriculum at the girls branch of the Maison Fortunè orphanage, and it has been interesting to compare the success of the curriculum in two very contrasting environments. The girls at the orphanage know each other very well, so the icebreaking activities were minimal. While it is great that they are comfortable around one another, it has also led to some distractions during lessons. Overall, however, they have been very receptive to the information and seem very eager to learn!

Teaching in Rivage

Teaching in Rivage

Today I headed back to Rivage to teach the fourth lesson. I was INCREDIBLY impressed by the girls today. They were much more willing to volunteer in discussions and activities. Furthermore, they did not shy away from uncomfortable topics like sex. It has been amazing to watch their confidence grow so much in only a few classes. During the beginning of the lesson we had the opportunity to reflect on our last lesson, which focused on decision making. The girls seem to have retained the information really well, giving great examples of different good and bad decisions they made over the past couple days. I hope that they continue to be conscious about the decisions they are making! I went into the lesson today skeptical of how it would go. I did not know whether the girls would be willing to participate in the different skits that I planned. However, not only did they participate, they went above and beyond the prompts and my expectations. It was awesome to see. We talked about forming healing relationships, and I asked the girls to identify any harmful relationships they are in or used to be in. I had to push them to share their experiences, but after a little while some girls mentioned that they stood up for themselves when boys tried to force them into having sex. Oxanne (the Haitian woman I am co-teaching with) chimed in, saying she saw one of the girls being pressured into having sex earlier this week by the river. Instead of giving in, the girl said no she was not ready and walked away from the boy to join the rest of her friends. Based on this and other examples, It is obvious that the curriculum has already influenced the girls to make better decisions for themselves, and I can’t wait for them to continue to learn more.

Two of the girls, Cadet Ydonise and Fleura Danilove, showing their contagious personalities

Two of the girls, Cadet Ydonise and Fleura Danilove, showing their contagious personalities

With Oxanne and her Grandson Alexander

With Oxanne and her Grandson Alexander

The parents have also seemed to notice changes in their daughters’ behavior. They all love the curriculum so far and they asked Oxanne if I could create a curriculum for teenage boys as well. I am really considering that possibility and hope to look more into a boy’s curriculum after this summer. For now, however, I am focusing my attention on improving the women’s curriculum. I have already determined a few different ways that the curriculum can be improved, and I have been marking changes as the lessons continue. Oxanne and Isabelle (my translator and possibly future teacher of the curriculum) have been great teachers and mentors for the girls throughout each and every lesson. At the end of every lesson we ask the girls to write down questions on blank sheets of paper. They do not write their names on these sheets as the questions are intended to be anonymous. The girls have been asking questions that are way beyond my expectations. It is very clear that the girls are thinking about important concepts and contemplating what is best for their future. It makes me incredibly happy to work with such an amazing group of young women who have so much to offer and are capable of being influential leaders for Haiti’s future. While I am sad that two weeks of my time here has already passed, I look forward to what the next three weeks have in store!

Fun moto ride with Isabelle!

Fun moto ride with Isabelle!

“Women for Haiti’s Future” Club begins!

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The MFH Mobile Clinic in La Jeune.

Four of the 2018 Fellows were able to travel with Midwives for Haiti on their mobile clinic to the local village, La Jeune, to provide a routine check-up for women by checking vital signs, conducting pelvic examinations, and listening to the heartbeat of unborn babies. We learned about the educational component of the process, in which one of the midwives explains to the patients the importance of nutrition, worrying symptoms, and what to expect before, during, and after birth. The mobile clinic helps women all over Haiti, and it is a wonderful asset to the central plateau of Haiti. While Claire, Olivia, Hunt and Elizabeth were at the mobile clinic, the rest of the group was off to an early start, leaving the MFH house at 7:30 to finish mapping the biosand water filters in Clory, Pandiassou, and Hinche. The group mapped the last 12 filters, making several stops along the way to Clory as most of the houses that were receiving filters were located just off of the road. While the group did not have to do much hiking today, it was clear when they returned that there was no lack of mud to dredge through to reach the houses. After a fun game of soccer right outside of the school in Clory, they headed back to the MFH house. Brian got to meet with one of the head farmers in Clory to discuss future plans for the Chicken Farm project.

Elizabeth and the recipient of the NA French Club's first scholarship.

Elizabeth and the recipient of the NA French Club’s first scholarship.

Elizabeth also had the opportunity to meet the young girl for whom the French Club will be providing a scholarship. She is 13 years old, has two brothers and six sisters, lives in Rivage and loves French. I (Stuart) spent the morning preparing to teach the first lesson of my Women’s Empowerment Curriculum in Rivage. I first became interested in Women’s Health and Education three summers ago when the 16’s took our first trip to Haiti. After learning more about the work of Midwives for Haiti, I returned to the States eager to research women’s health and the impact education has on a woman’s life. I watched two documentaries, Girl Rising and Half the Sky, which details the effect of education on a woman’s life. I was inspired to join this campaign of people around the world fighting to empower women through education. The question became, then, how would I affect such change? Quite honestly, I do not know the finite answer to this question, but my curriculum is at least a first step. I began working on the curriculum three years ago, proposing my ideas at the first annual Fellows Symposium. My second summer I went to Haiti I had two lessons designed, one on goal setting and one on decision making and consequences. I spent the week interviewing women in various communities to determine if they had any knowledge gaps pertaining to women’s health. That week, I piloted the first lesson in the school in Clory where the 16’s and 18’s have been working this past week. From that point forward, students training to become Midwives at MFH taught the curriculum every other Friday to girls in Clory ranging in age from 10 to 35. I would create lessons at home and email them to MFH where they would translate them and then teach them. The lessons ran from June to November. When the curriculum finished, I had the girls complete a questionnaire to determine whether they had retained the knowledge or not. To my disappointment, the results were worse than I expected. There are a wide variety of factors that could have affected the results, but after receiving such poor results I knew that I needed to reassess the curriculum and develop a new plan going forward. Brittany, then the In-Country coordinator for MFH, suggested that I return to Haiti and train one woman to teach the curriculum every week to the same group of girls aged 12-16. I took her advice and headed back down to Haiti this past November. In only three days I intended to train a Haitian woman, Oxanne, to teach the curriculum, translate the curriculum into Creole, and

Oxanne, Stuart Luter '16, Isabelle, and Gampson

Oxanne, Stuart Luter ’16, Isabelle, and Gampson

make sure it was culturally appropriate. I quickly learned that there was no way I was going to accomplish so much in merely three days. Instead, I spent my time making sure the curriculum was appropriate for Haitian culture. Based on Oxanne’s feedback, I returned to the States and made a lot of changes to the curriculum. I also had Mrs. Hall and Mr. Wetmore read the curriculum and give me feedback that greatly strengthened the quality of the curriculum. All that work could not be for nothing, so I had to determine what my next steps were. Throughout this process, sustainability and effectiveness have always been in the back of my head. I do not want the curriculum to run once and never again. I envision it continuing for several years, and evolving as I receive more feedback. After spending a week in Haiti in November, it was obvious that I needed to spend an extended amount of time in Haiti teaching the curriculum. So, here I am, spending 5 weeks in Hinche co-teaching the curriculum with Oxanne.

Stuart speaking with the girls and their mothers about the four-week Women's Empowerment curriculum.

Stuart speaking with the girls and their mothers about the four-week Women’s Empowerment curriculum.

Today I met with the girls’ parents in Rivage, got their approval to teach all of the various topics in the lessons, explained more about the curriculum, met some of the girls whom I will be working with the next four weeks, and played a lot of fun games (in Creole!) with them. After several months of build up, it was amazing to finally meet the girls and really start my work for the next four weeks. I expected the girls’ mothers to be more skeptical of the curriculum, but they were very receptive to all of the lessons and excited that their daughters were going to be participating in the curriculum. One mother mentioned how thankful she was that I was going to teach her daughter such important information. She said that the lessons I am teaching should be taught in school but are not, yet the information is so crucial especially for girls just hitting puberty. In the U.S. we all have sex-ed classes, but that information we learn in 6th grade is something we take for granted as some kids around the world never learn about puberty or pregnancy or STIs. Hearing the mother’s remarks reassured me that what I am teaching is knowledge that is both needed and wanted. Her comments motivated me further to work very hard these next four weeks.

Meeting the girls and playing some icebreaker games.

Meeting the girls and playing some icebreaker games.

Furthermore, as Mrs. Hall has said several times, Oxanne is one of the most sincere women I’ve ever met. Watching her interact with the girls when we were singing and playing fun games was one of the happiest moments I’ve experienced. She was in her element and did not care that she was by far the oldest woman playing childish games. She is dedicated to helping these girls and is a true inspiration for me to be more selfless on a day-to-day basis. When the girls first arrived, they were all very shy. The second we started to play games, however, their personalities came out. I loved watching them open up and become more comfortable with one another. I can’t wait to get to know them and hopefully impact each one of their lives and I know they will impact mine. On Thursday, once the girls finish exams, we will be teaching the first two lessons. Going forward, I will teach three lessons per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I will also be teaching the curriculum at the girl’s branch of the Maison Fortune orphanage here in Hinche.

The "Women for Haiti's Future" group

Some of the “Women for Haiti’s Future” club

My hope is that through the curriculum we will create a safe environment where girls can learn about their health, learn how to make healthy decisions, and support one another through any obstacles they face. I will be making more changes to the curriculum based on feedback and observations from this summer. So, what happens after these 5 weeks? The plan is that Oxanne, having seen how the curriculum should be taught, will continue teaching the curriculum to different groups of girls in Rivage and Hinche. When she is too old, she will train a younger girl to take her place, and the cycle will continue. Ultimately, if all goes as planned (which I have found is rarely the case in Haiti), I will not need to be a part of the curriculum, and it will be managed and taught solely by Haitian women. I am very excited for the next four weeks and know that I will learn a lot and greatly strengthen the quality of my curriculum.

– Written by Stuart Luter (GHF ’16) with additions by Liz Heckard and Claire Cunningham (GHFs ’18)

"Frog killer" our final night in Haiti for 2015

“Frog killer” our final night in Haiti for 2015

Highlights from the day:

Olivia: mobile clinic

Hunt: playing soccer with boys at orphanage

Wyatt: playing soccer with the boys

Aneesh: being able to sit by himself and reflect on trips to Haiti and whole program

Brian: giving soccer ball to kids in Clory and playing with them one last time (their faces)

Lawson: playing soccer in Clory and orphanage

Stuart: finally meeting girls and parents after so much work and starting the curriculum (one of the mothers thanked her)

Gabi: playing soccer at orphanage and seeing Manno’s nice house

Elizabeth L.: whole experience in Rivage, meeting scholarship recipient and talking to her in French, being able to see Stuart do what she loves, and seeing Oxanne

Bridget: going to Rivage and seeing Stuart conduct her curriculum and seeing the girls

Claire: watching the mobile clinic

Liz H.: mobile clinic and experiencing a new part of Haiti

The Day of Rest

Today we truly upheld the time-honored tradition of Sunday as the day of rest, enjoying the luxury of a slow morning until finally leaving at 10:00. The ‘16s headed to the boys’ division of the Maison Fortune orphanage; the ‘18s returned to the Azil feeding center. The ‘16s, including famed Olympian Elizabeth, enjoyed a fierce game of soccer and a slightly more comedic game of basketball with the boys at the orphanage.

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Hanging out at Maison Fortune Orphanage.

Hanging out at Maison Fortune Orphanage.

We returned for a filling lunch of beans and rice before setting out to the waterfall at Bassim Zim, which had hitherto been shrouded in an air of fantastic mystery. It had proved a polarizing idea within our group; some delighted at the prospect of seeing Haiti in a semi-touristy view, while others balked at warnings of muddied water and trash.

When we finally reached the waterfall after a long and sweaty Jeep ride, we were met with an awful sight, in all senses of the word. Its sheer grandeur and magnitude stole our breath; at the same time, we were slightly disappointed to see the dull brown filth of the water and the cesspool of trash that spun upon itself constantly, propelled in a circular motion by the flow of the water.

Bassim Zim

Bassim Zim

But the waterfall itself was not the only attraction. From the base we hiked, accompanied IMG_9840by an ever-increasing gaggle of money-seeking local children, up to several caves, adorned with stalagmites and stalactites and various carvings from voodoo rituals. It evoked from many a Global Health Fellow comparisons to cave-diving in other exotic Caribbean locales. Strangely, we often forget that Haiti is a Caribbean island, as alike in geography to St. Thomas and St. Lucia as it is in society and economy to sub-Saharan Africa.

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It was an interesting day, full of wonders both simple and grand, where we both deeply connected with locals (in speaking the common language of sport at the orphanage) and were forced to see would-be relationships dissolve (as our child guides left us quickly at the waterfall when they realized we wouldn’t pay them for their IMG_9837“tours”).

In a sense, the day itself was an honest portrait of Haiti – of the quiet and manifold moments of beauty, reflection, and disappointment that every traveler experiences here.

– Written by Elizabeth Lilly, GHF ’16

Highlights of the day:

Hunt: Playing with a baby at the Azil for an hour

Aneesh: Playing soccer and basketball with the kids at the orphanage

Stuart: Visiting the waterfall at Bassim Zim since it was better than I expected

Gabi: Seeing the colorful, organized rooms at the Azil and how much care they put into making that place special

Claire: Playing with all the kids at the Azil

Olivia: Playing with the kids at the Azil

Liz: Hanging out at the Azil

Bridget: Playing basketball at the orphanage

Elizabeth: Seeing the newborn puppies at the orphanage; remembering the beauty of Haiti when we visited the waterfall

Lawson: Playing peek-a-boo with the older kids at the Azil

Brian: Playing soccer and basketball at the orphanage

Wyatt: Playing soccer and basketball at the orphanage

Handwashing Curriculum Conversation

Today we woke up bright and early just to gain a new appreciation for “Haitian time.” We planned to depart for Clory at 8:00, but we were finally under way about 45 minutes later. When we arrived we separated into our respective project groups. Aneesh and Hunt went on a long hike around Clory with one of our translators to finish distributing Luci Lights and map out the homes of those recipients. Lawson and Olivia did the same with their translator. They later shared that they enjoyed seeing parts of Clory that they had never seen before. Liz, Bridget, Claire, and Mrs. Hall continued to educate the locals about the biosand filters and their functions as well as map out the locations of their homes.

Trekking from house to house in Clory to map the biosand filter locations.

Trekking from house to house in Clory to map the biosand filter locations.

The biosand mapping group.

The biosand mapping group.

Meanwhile Wyatt, Brian, and Gabi sat down with a few of the teachers of the school in Clory to talk about their handwashing curriculum. They generously came to the school on a Saturday to discuss our plans for the upcoming school year. We had planned for the Tippy Tap handwashing stations to be a big part of our project, but the school had more access to running water than we realized. We did build a Tippy Tap for Theard, a community leader, yesterday so that he could learn the model, and he plans on building a more permanent handwashing station for the upcoming school year. Since the school has pretty good access to a running water source from their well, the curriculum has become the main focus of our project.

Conversation with teachers at Flower of Hope School about handwashing.

Conversation with teachers at Flower of Hope School about handwashing.

In our discussion with the teachers, we explained that our focus was to educate the students about the importance of handwashing and proper technique. The teachers said that they already try to promote handwashing, but they are still interested in our curriculum since it was adapted from the previously successful curriculum created by the ‘16s for Operation Blessing International’s Peru division. The curriculum includes interactive teaching with giving and taking between the students and teachers as well as supervised handwashing. The teachers were especially interested in our posters, which explain in detail the process of handwashing. They even asked for more when we return next year. One of our focuses in the future will be to provide soap because the teachers said that the cost is the limiting factor in educating the children about handwashing.

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In the afternoon we split into two groups. The ‘18s went to the Maison Fortune girls’ orphanage to enjoy interacting with the kids. The ‘16s went to the Azil, a recovery facility for undernourished infants and children. We took great pleasure in helping feed the malnourished infants baby formula. As we settled down for the night, our translator Kelby led us in a very helpful Creole lesson, while Aneesh, Bridget, and Mrs. Hall mapped the biosand filters being installed in Hinche.

-Wyatt Miller and Brian Peecie, GHFs ‘16

Highlights from the Day:

Gabi: Brainstorming with the teachers at the Clory school about future projects

Elizabeth: Hanging out with the kids at the Azil

Claire: Giving a biosand filter to a kind, old man in Clory who took time to pose for his picture

Lawson: Singing in the car on the way back from the orphanage

Hunt: When a man climbed up a tree to cut down a coconut for us

Aneesh: Coming across a beautiful view while walking in Clory and being reminded how gorgeous this country is

Wyatt: The productive discussion we had with the teachers in Clory

Brian: Hanging out with the kids at the Azil; one of the kids called him “Dada”

Stuart: The Azil

Bridget: The Azil and seeing Hinche in a whole different way tonight mapping the biosand fliters

Liz: Walking around with Claire and Bridget today in Clory

Olivia: Getting to see my friend, Sophia, again at the orphanage

Biosand Filter Installation Begins!

IMG_9728The biosand filters arrived yesterday and the majority of them were stored at the Flower of Hope School in Clory. The community members who receive the filters are tasked with figuring out how to transport them back to their houses. The filter as a whole weighs 200 pounds. One method of transportation that struck us as particularly ingenious was laying IMG_9730the (heavy, concrete) filter laterally across two thick sticks. The more families take part in the transport and maintenance of the filters, the stronger the sense of ownership they will feel over them. Each filter takes around 30 minutes to install, and about 20 minutes of education usually follow. The education aspect has five points: how to pour the water in the filter, where you stand when you pour it, the priming of the filtration system, clean water storage, and how to protect the tube where the water comes out. We have chosen a community member to attend the biosand workshop in Jacmel, Haiti, in two weeks. He will learn how to properly monitor and evaluate the filters in the community and how to repair/take care of them, should future maintenance issues arise.

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One of the technicians said, “This community has a large water issue and needs help.” After one filter had been installed, the head of the home that received it said, “Thank you. Water is life; it is the most important thing.” It warmed us, more than words can say, to see so vividly the tangible impact we are having on people’s lives. And what’s more, this project stems directly from the community’s own wishes. This approach – basing projects on evident need — renders a sense of just propriety and meaning unto our work here, and we are already beginning to see the results.

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While installing the filters, we also mapped the houses in order to more easily and efficiently follow up on the next trip. In between installations, we chatted to the gaggle of girls who were following us closely. Wadley, a girl whom we met in November, joined us again throughout the day. We loved the opportunity to see familiar faces again! Claire and Elizabeth developed an especially keen bond with two fifteen-year-old girls at our third house. Once again, we were humbled by the stark contrast between these girls’ lives and ours. They are charged with taking care of the family in addition to enduring the heavy workload familiar to any serious student.

IMG_9742Wyatt, Brian, and Gabi worked to build a “tippy-tap” hand washing station at the school and will work with some teachers tomorrow to implement hand washing as a habit at the school. Lawson, Aneesh, Olivia, and Hunt trekked from house to house to continue to distribute Luci lights to provide much-needed light in the village.

Although the day did not go exactly as planned due to an extremely late lunch, we had a great afternoon. The 18’s and 16’s bonded by grabbing Cokes across the street and playing some raucously competitive games of hearts.

– Liz Heckard ’18, Claire Cunningham ’18, Bridget Dickinson ’16, and Elizabeth Lilly ‘16

Highlights from the Day:

Liz: Installing the biosand filters in the community

Hunt: Handing out Luci lights

Wyatt: Watching the biosand filter technicians installing the filters, how meticulous they were and how they valued their job. Haitians helping Haitians

Aneesh: Distributing the Luci lights

Lawson: Seeing how the Luci lights are impacting the community and seeing their reactions when receiving and learning about them

Olivia: Seeing more of Clory today than I have before

Gabi: Watching the installation of the biosand filters

Brian: Hearing one of the biosand filter recipients tell us thank you and how “water is life”

Elizabeth: Amazing to help the community in ways that they had explicitly expressed need

Bridget: Watching the community members innovate to carry the heavy biosand filters to their homes

Stuart: Continuing to work with Oxanne on the women’s empowerment curriculum and having it go much more smoothly and quickly than last time

Claire: Bonding with some girls our own age in Clory

Project Implementation begins in Clory, Haiti

Today the Global Health Fellows went to Clory to educate and distribute Luci Lights to the IMG_9668kids attending the Flower of Hope School. Using the information we collected from the needs assessment in November we decided that the community of Clory, especially the students, could benefit greatly from the solar powered Luci lights. This trip, we are distributing 500 lanterns to the residents of Clory, and we will bring more lanterns on our next trip.

We reached the school in the morning while the students were finishing their final exams. IMG_9667 IMG_9665The students entered a classroom grade by grade where we taught them the proper way to use the Luci lights as well as the importance of renewable and safe light. These lights will help the students study once the sun sets each day and will hopefully be a factor in increasing academic performance as a result. When we asked the students how many of them had been burned by kerosene lanterns or candles, we were shocked at how many of them raised their hands. At quick glance, probably 95% of each class of students had experienced burns. At the conclusion of the educational session, we distributed a Luci light to every single student and teacher at the school.

Meanwhile other fellows were working on the implementation of the hand washing stations and biosand filters. A huge tap-tap from Jacmel, the home base of Hands Helping Haiti, arrived mid-morning to deliver the 30 biosand water filters. IMG_9664

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Two technicians from the organization accompanied the delivery and will spend the next week or so installing the filters and educating the local community on how to use and maintain the filters. During our visit to the school 3 biosand filters were installed at the school and the location of the handwashing station was decided. After an eventful morning we headed back to Midwives for Haiti for lunch.

IMG_9680 Following lunch we went to the local market in Hinche to buy PVC pipes and soap for the hand washing stations. We headed back home to enjoy a great meal and sat on the balcony taking in the beautiful, Caribbean sunset, preparing for a busy day tomorrow building the hand washing stations and continuing the installation of the biosand filters.

– Lawson Montgomery GHF ’18, Olivia Newsome GHF ’18, and Aneesh Dhawan GHF ‘16

 

 

Highlights from the Day:

Lawson: Distributing the Luci lights at the school

Elizabeth: Playing with the young girls upon arrival at the school

Gabi: Passing out the Luci lights to the children at the school

Hunt: Feeling the gratitude from the students at the school upon receiving the Luci lights

Claire: Reconnecting with a young girl in Clory that I met in November; visiting the market in Hinche

Liz: When the biosand filters arrived in Clory

Olivia: Getting to see the biosand filters in person

Stuart: Seeing Oxanne again and meeting Isabelle, the woman who will be helping me with translation this summer

Bridget: Seeing the biosand filters and watching everyone pitch in to unload them

Brian: Buying the PVC pipes at the hardware store and visiting some local stores

Aneesh: Getting to know the GHF ’18s better; seeing the Luci light distribution come together

Wyatt: Getting to know the GHF ’18s better

Back in Haiti! Day One: June 10, 2015

IMG_9606After an early arrival to the Norfolk Airport at 6:15, the Global Health Fellow classes of 2016 and 2018 began their excursion to the rural village of Hinche, in the Central Plateau of Haiti. We had a slightly delayed departure from Norfolk, but landed in Atlanta just in time to grab lunch and catch our flight to Haiti. The group passed through customs surprisingly quickly, and we were finally able to enter the scorching, humid air, which we had all craved since we last left it.

Once we departed the Port-au-Prince airport, all 14 of us loaded our luggage onto the top of a van, and squeezed in, to begin the 3 hour drive to Hinche. We drove through the mountains, and those of us who weren’t asleep enjoyed a very scenic, nostalgic route where we were reminded of some of our past experiences, but were also greeted with the prospects of making new memories.

IMG_9620We arrived at the Midwives for Haiti house and were immediately greeted by our friends IMG_9619 IMG_9621who, (to our surprise), remembered us from previous years. After putting on tons of bug spray, we were re-oriented to the house and learned about some of the new Midwives for Haiti projects including the construction a new midwifery house and neonatal unit. A dinner of pasta was ready for us when we arrived and we were all very hungry, since we had such a short time for lunch in the airport.

Following dinner one member from each project group (Luci Lights, Biosand Filters, handwashing, and scholarships) had a meeting with Manno and Theard, two community leaders in Clory, to map out the plan for the upcoming days.

They have been incredibly supportive of our projects, and they have served as strong liaisons to the community in which we are working. Then we all convened to go over the details for the next day. As a group, we shared our “roses” and “thorns” of the day and began to organize ourselves for the day ahead of us.

– Claire Cunningham, Gabi Diskin, and Hunt Stockwell, GHFs Class of 2018