Today’s post, to recount Monday, June 13, 2016, is written by Nathalie Danso ’17 and James Hood ’19:
Early in the morning, we headed off to Clory to finish our Luci Light distribution and monitoring and evaluation of the biosand water filters. The roads were washed out after
the torrential downpour of the night before so we hiked most of the way to the village from the main road. On our way up, the biosand group stopped to visit some of the houses with filters on the hill. We continued visiting filters for the rest of the morning in Clory and in Pandiassou, a town in between Clory and Hinche. Most of these houses had filters that worked well and seemed to benefit the households. However, there were some instances where the filters had broken or were not being used. One household had tried to move the filter had dropped it on a rock and had broken it in half. There is no way the technician could fix this so the family has been without a filter since September of 2015. It is still being used, though, by a hen that now roosts in its remains. Another house also did not use their filter because they said that they did not trust it. Our monitoring and evaluation of the filters has shown some important lapses in communication, but as we finished collecting the data, we all felt an overwhelming sense that the filters, apart from a few bumps, are part of a successful intervention.
Once we reached the school, the Biosand groups headed off to complete more of their M&E by talking to more families. The Luci Light groups stayed at the school. Ryan and Helen talked with Manno, a community leader, about the upcoming distribution and execution of the clean cookstove project. The remaining ‘19s spent time with the children who had just finished their exams. Ray, Kara, Madeleine, and I used a small book to say
funny phrases in Creole and the children would in turn say unusual phrases in English. Then, after the 7th graders finished their last exam, Ray, Madeleine, and Ryan gave a quick tutorial alongside a translator on how a Luci light works and how to take care the best care of it. At the same time, Helen, Kara, and I asked a few questions to the teachers of the school relating to attendance and whether they thought the Luci lights had been effective before they broke. I could tell the teachers were thinking very carefully about the answers to the questions and after the questions ended, they told us what they thought would be most helpful to their students. Their greatest visions included a library, computer lab, and effective and complete feeding system. It touched me to see that these teachers expressed no concern for their own wellbeing and devoted their whole attention towards the well-being of their students. I am not sure if I could be that selfless in their circumstances. We distributed the rest of the Luci lights we took with us and departed from the school nervous and excited for the distribution of clean cookstoves tomorrow. After a tasty lunch, the biosand groups went to the Azil Malnutrition Center and the Luci light groups went to the Maison Fortune girls’ orphanage in Hinche.
Nathalie Danso: The Azil –
This was my third time at the Azil Malnutrition Center. When we arrived, the children had just finished eating. Bursting through the door to the little outside play area where we were waiting, one little girl in a green dress immediately ran towards Ingrid and jumped on her. The other children were a bit less outgoing, but after five minutes we all had our own little gaggle. Some kids tried to use Mr. Boland as a jungle gym while he pushed a little boy in a toy car across the room. I played with several little girls, who all enjoyed being bounced on my knee, but one little boy stayed with me the entire time. I held him on my lap while I played with the other children and carried him on my hip whenever I got up. When it was time to go he would not let me put him down, and started to whimper as I walked away. Leaving him was heartbreaking, but playing with those children and that little boy will always make a memorable part of my last trip to Haiti.
James Hood: Girls’ Orphanage –
When we arrived, we gave out nail polish, coloring books, and bouncy balls. The smaller girls played patty cake with Kara and Madeleine and also attempted to braid their hair. The older ones brought out a soccer ball and played soccer on the pavement using stones as goal posts with Ray, Ryan, and me. We all had fun and ended up drenched in sweat. When talking to a little girl named Julie, she pointed to my arm braces curiously. Since I had absolutely no way of telling her I broke both of them playing soccer in Creole, I used hand gestures. I said “futbol,” pretended to fall back on my wrists, pointed to them, and made a snapping gesture and sound. She thought that was hilarious and must have imitated my gestures at least a hundred times. She would come up to me, point at her wrists, and make the breaking gesture and sound. Eventually we had to leave the orphanage and come back to the Midwives for Haiti house. We ate dinner, recorded M&E responses and ate cake that Madeleine so generously baked to finish our day.