We were lucky to have been in Haiti with our medical team and were able to attend a wonderful graduation ceremony for young adults who had completed the tailoring school at the vocational school. Three more of the original orphans graduated and were given sewing machines (treadle-electric), which will provide a reliable income for them. They are able to produce a man’s suit from scratch after their three full years of training!
Sad to say that funding isn’t available for the majority of the future graduating students (more than 190 of them) from the community who attend the secondary school. Their education stops at the 12th grade level. Education is everything: the roads of rural Haiti are lined with idle uneducated young people, anything but lazy, yet trapped by their impoverishment.
Small Victories All Around
It is reported that one of the major causes of illness and premature death throughout the Third World (excuse me, the “developing countries”) is smoke from cooking. Most cooking in rural Haiti takes place using charcoal or firewood in enclosed huts and buildings. Our cooks have propane about half of each month. Needless to say they love propane, but funding allows for no more.
This year our invaluable super handyman and engineer (that would be Grover Reynolds) took notice of the situation in their kitchen. “This can’t be!” He immediately designed and built a cupola to ventilate the structure during charcoal cooking. It worked beautifully, now we’re hoping that success will inspire others in the area.
The roads in northern Haiti are greatly improved thanks to support from various countries including the U.S. Unfortunately, the employment situation is still grim overall. The newly finished Korean/Clinton garment factory near Cap Haitien is reportedly paying $5 or less/day. Transportation costs of $1/day from the city have brought the net pay to just $80 a month. Haitians endure.
Your gifts continue to allow us to drill a new well every 8 weeks (more or less). Safe wells and hygiene education have contributed to the great decline in childhood diarrhea and dehydration that has been experienced in the Grison-Garde area in the last 15 years.
The Haitian elders who have founded and run this project came to us a few weeks ago asking for help for a small (60-student) nearby private school that had lost its funding from the U.S. For a few hundred dollars a month for teacher salaries, those kids could go on with their education, too. Without that chance … nothing. It was a touching act of generosity and concern by our project directors whom you have met in the past. How can we say no?
(Originally published 11/2013)