It was an interesting year indeed. Chikungunya disease swept through northern Haiti, including the orphanage/school, but left little destruction in its path. With a great proportion of the population now immune, we hope that this mosquito-borne illness (also termed "dengue light") will become a minor problem in the future.
Currently, massive flooding is occurring in the north of Haiti where your project is located. Schools are closed throughout the area, shelters are open and deaths have occurred. The school, orphanage and elderly compound are all OK right now. We can only pray that a cholera epidemic does not rear its ugly head again as a result. What misery will be next?
Growth for the Greater Good
It has finally happened. The new, beautifully designed secondary school is about to become reality. Construction will begin in December. The Building Goodness Foundation has funded the entire project with special help from an anonymous philanthropist friend (say that 10 times fast) of our foundation and donors like you. They will provide an American project supervisor to oversee the work being done by our Haitian workforce. It is a wonderful employment opportunity for the community.
A new small duplex has been built in the compound to house the supervisor while work proceeds. This cottage will be available should American teachers or others choose to spend some time "interning" or teaching at the schools in the future.
Motivated College Students
Remember the three orphan young adults (Lovely, Fecknel & Pedro) who have enrolled in the colleges in the city of Cap Haitien? Lovely has entered the RN program, Fecknel will study science in order to qualify for medical school, and Pedro will study to be an engineer. Their motivation and determination is an inspiration — young people with no family but themselves, pledging to return to their community in Grison-Garde and to pay back what has been given to them. They are but one of the hopes that created the dream that began this project 12 years ago. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers, please.
Another Successful Fundraiser
Announcing the Mother of all yard sales! The "Friends of the Robert Ford Haitian Orphanage & School Foundation, a non-denominational group of Albemarle County, Va. residents" raised (trumpets please) over $14,000 in a two-day yard sale last month! We're guessing they have started working on next year's sale already. The hundreds of volunteer hours they contributed are amazing. It is just exactly what an American community will do for those in need.
Team Member Introductions
We now introduce our project coordination guys who make things happen at the orphanage/school by keeping us in constant contact with the committee of ownership at the project. They are:
Dr. Maklin Eugene, whom you already know from past newsletters, will continue to help guide us through the sometimes difficult terrain of their unique culture. He is also the main "energizer guy" of northern Haiti in battling cholera and malnutrition. His work to provide clean water for all has been successful, and is endless.
Many, Many Thanks!