Written by Helen Shaves ’17 and Ray Fitzgerald ’19 to recount Sunday, June 12, 2016:
Today we had the chance to sleep in late, and I even had time to make myself an egg sandwich and a mango! The majority of the villagers in Clory attend church on Sunday mornings. Due to this, we were not able to continue our Luci light and Biosand water filter interviews today. Without much of an early morning agenda, the ‘17s were able to relax and play a game of hearts with Mr. Boland which brought back fond memories from the last two trips. Meanwhile, the ‘19s were given a lesson in Haitian Creole taught by Kelby, one of the translators who has been assisting us with the Luci light distribution and M&E in Clory. It was so much fun to begin to learn a new language and it helped to make communicating with everyone around us a little easier. Soon after the end of the lesson, the ‘19s joined in on the game of hearts with the ‘17s. It was an amazing experience for everyone to get to know each other better, and it gave us a great relief from the overwhelming heat in Clory yesterday.
Mr. Boland, Ryan, and I headed back out to Clory when Mr. Bruce from D&E Green Enterprises (International Lifeline Fund) arrived at the Midwives for Haiti house with the order of clean cook stoves. We drove to Clory and once we parked beside the school, we helped Mr. Bruce and his team unload the eighty cook stoves and stored them there in the
Flower of Hope School until distribution happens on Tuesday. Meanwhile students and other locals gathered at the school to see about what all of the commotion was. Mr. Bruce then set up one of the cook stoves and gave us a very thorough tutorial explaining how they work, what fuel to use, and he highlighted the financial, health, and environmental benefits of clean cook stoves. He also told us about his fascinating business model and the work they have done with other communities in Haiti. It was so gratifying to see all of our hard work for this project finally come together for the community of Clory. Mr. Bruce and his team made popcorn for the observers who gathered and the stove produced almost no smoke and heated very quickly. Mr. Bruce also used green charcoal made from sugar cane to cook the popcorn. These clean cook stoves will burn the fuel slower which has the potential to save over $100 USD for the user over a year, which is a significant amount for rural Haitian families. Also, their limited smoke production will decrease risk of upper respiratory diseases and itchy eyes for the mothers and children who cook the meals. The villagers’ intrigued and delighted faces lighting up at the sight of the stove and popcorn promised hope for their transition into the community and all of the extensive benefits they will bring to the villagers. We are now more excited than ever to introduce the stoves to the community, teach the villagers how to use them, and how the stoves will improve their lives.
IMG_3110: Video of Unloading the Cookstoves in Clory
Around 2pm, the ‘19s, along with Mrs. Hopkins, took a tour of the local government hospital in Hinche. This hospital is the main referral hospital for this region of Haiti, which means any local clinic would refer patients to this hospital if there was need. This hospital was actually funded by the U.S. military in 1925 while the U.S. was occupying Haiti. Since then there have been many partnerships to help expand and keep the hospital up and running, including with Partners in Health and even Ohio State University. Extreme differences between the American hospitals and this hospital in Hinche are easily noticeable, such as patient privacy and family support. For example, many of the wards of the hospital have no doors, and when a woman is delivering, family members are not allowed to come in and visit the mother. As we toured we were able to see the true state of the condition of health in Haiti which really opened our eyes and exposed us to conditions in limited-resource settings. This experience showed us why we are truly here and made us even more eager for the upcoming trips.
Once we came back from the hospital, we had a couple minutes before we loaded up again. We were split up into two groups: Madeleine, James, Kara and I went to the boys’ orphanage at Maison Fortune, where we distributed some supplies and were able to hang out and play with the boys. James and I played some basketball with a few of the boys (we got ‘balled up’ by all of them), while Madeleine sat and talked with a few others. Kara was able to fly a homemade kite around the courtyard and got to know a few of the kids. It was amazing to find that we were actually able to communicate pretty well with most of the kids, using a mix of Creole and English.
Meanwhile, the biosand water filter group consisting of Ingrid, Andrew, Nathalie, and Graham finished up with the Monitoring & Evaluating process for the filter-owning households in Hinche. They interviewed two households and the surrounding neighbors. The first person whom we met informed us that he didn’t have many problems with the filter itself, and he said that it had definitely helped him with cleaning his water supply. However, when we interviewed the neighbors, they didn’t really use the biosand filter because they didn’t want to traverse to the owner’s house or because they wanted their own and didn’t really want to stoop down and borrow their neighbor’s filter. In the next house that we visited, we didn’t get nearly as high quality results. In fact, we didn’t really get results at all. The person who had received a filter during the previous distribution had moved out, leaving his filter in the process. The five families living in the little surrounding community, advised by the technician, had decided not to use the filter because they thought it would be disrespectful and dishonest to use the filter without the owner’s permission. Things have not worked out between the two parties and in short, the families are still unable to use the filter. This was disappointing for several reasons. First, we hoped that our biosand water filters would make a huge difference in the community and be put to good use. Second, it is disheartening to see several low-income families unable to use a water filter that would greatly improve their living condition because of something as simple as a move. Hopefully, the data we have been collecting this week will inform our next steps and a second group of filter recipients will be able to effectively use and share the filters.