Haiti, January 28, 2012
We saw some improvements in Port Au Prince (PAP). There is reconstruction going on at the airport building, which was badly damaged during the earthquake. There are more refugee camps with new prefab houses and fewer with tents. We also noticed fewer clusters of tents from the air. And, definitely, there is a cleaning up campaign going on.
The airport was flocked with foreigners. A trend that has accelerated since the earthquake. While we were in line to clear immigration, an airport employee handed us out a glossy brochure on Tourism in Haiti. A well done and expensive piece put together by the Ministry of Tourism.
We find things going well in Ile A Vache. On Sunday we have lunch at Lambert's house and we review with him the administration of the school.
We share with him our interest in cleaning up the island. Few years ago we implemented Kakok Prop, a program of volunteers coordinated by the school administrator to clean up the village and the beaches. But it failed…. Then, over a year ago, Lambert devised his own incentive program to involve the villagers to clean up. It consists of a competition to create the biggest pile of non-organic collected garbage. The participants are paid based on the size of their garbage pile. Lambert runs it every 6 weeks. He inspects the piles, measures them, burns them down and then pays the participants. We liked it and decided to join forces with him to expand the competition.
We spent Sunday afternoon walking around the village and talking to people to enroll them in the expanded competition. Besides rewarding the biggest pile of garbage the competition will also reward the cleanliness of the surroundings of the pile. This way people will have an incentive to collect garbage from neighbors’ yards also and to keep the area clean.
Some of the women who already participate in the competition had huge piles of garbage stored and guarded in their yards. Garbage has become valuable if collected! We established 10 areas under the leadership of 10 neighbors that would cover most of the village.
On Friday we will walk around to inspect the piles and to determine the rank of winners. Everybody who collects garbage will receive payment.
Sunday afternoon we also visited the three-bedroom hut shared by six of the school teachers. They all come from Les Cayes, on the main land, so they have to stay over in Ile A Vache during the week. Last September we paid for repairs and painting of the house. Still, I'm shocked to see the living conditions of these teachers.
Dispanse Kakok – The Clinic
Surzie is running the clinic well. Since last November there have been THREE teams of healthcare professional visiting the clinic. One team from Spain and two from the USA. One of the teams with Dr. Link comes with a Dentist and a generator! They can do dental care, but mostly it is extractions of carious pieces… They saw close to 1000 cases during their stay in Ile a Vache.
We are very excited that the Dispanse is used as a base for Medical Teams and this way we ensure continuity in the care, since most of the times after a Medic Team is gone there is no continuity of care…. Kakok Dispanse stays after the Teams are gone and patients are followed up!
For one of the US groups this has been their fourth stay at the Dispanse!
Besides the hundreds of patients that they treated at the Clinic, they also travelled to other areas of the island guided by the Clinic staff. This January one of the groups went to run a one day clinic at Grand Barrier, the farthest point of Ile A Vache from Kakok.
Xavier visited fewer patients than usual since a lot of cases had been seen by the Medical Teams… over 100 patients were seen in the days we worked at the clinic. The most common complaints had to do with a small flu epidemic in Ile a Vache. This triggered asthma attacks. Thanks to our electrical power we were able to give inhalation treatment for shortness of breath. What a relief for the patients…and what a gratifying experience!
We also treated our regular hypertension patients and the many aches and pains and skin conditions and rashes. We were able to provide relief of pain and cures for infections. There were, many, many just born babies; we had diagnosed multiple cases of malaria (thanks to our Microscope from Valencia) and one abdominal aneurism. There were treated various lacerations and a couple of schizophrenic patients that had continuity in their treatment, no longer hallucinating and able to function.
On the building front, the clinic has a new roof and a new coat of paint. With the help of Lambert we were able to get finally the wind power tower moved to a better location and to a higher level. It was working by the time we left the island.
Also we got all the batteries we were missing from the new power system delivered before we left!
Etoile du Matin – The School
We had a meeting with Alexy and Mari-Anne, the Administrative Team. The school is getting help for the food program from CRS for a multiyear plan (2008-2012). We pay for all the salaries (teachers, director, cooks, and cleaning staff) and the books and materials are financed by the Fundacion Jose Palau Francas foundation from Barcelona. The money parents pay for the year inscription ($400 Gourds -$10 US) is kept by the administrators to cover other expenses including paying themselves.
The situation is stable and the school keeps on graduating few kids every year to access higher education.
Konkou Kakok Pwop - Garbage Competition –
We spent Friday afternoon running the garbage competition. A total of 17 teams participated. We visited each pile, measured it and burned it down. We checked the cleanliness of the surrounding areas to add to the winning parameters.
The pot to distribute among the participants was $10,000 Gourds ($250 US). We split the cost 50/50 with Lambert.
On Saturday we travel back to Miami. On Monday we already had the competition rank for each participant and Lambert has paid everyone according to that. The winner got $1650 Gourds ($41 US) and the last of the rank got $300 Gourds ($7.5 US)
February 13, 2012
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