Thursday, June 2, 2011

The reality of life in Haiti

Terrible pollution

A disgusting polluted river in Cap Haitian
I sadly leave Haiti tomorrow morning, and although this month has been challenging and uncomfortable, is has been completely rewarding. I was wondering if this trip would finally make me fall out of love with Haiti, but on the contrary, I love Haiti even more. I'll never forget the friendships and love shared with me and I will hold them forever in my heart.

I've tried to remain positive throughout the blog, mostly because if one starts writing about all the negative things here, you will get so depressed. However, here are some pictures of the reality of life in Haiti.  Warning, some of the photos may be disturbing for children.

a small home in the countryside

Typical trash pile found everywhere

Bathing with a bucket on the street corner

The destroyed National Palace-I cry every time I see it

The neighborhood trash pile in the way to school from the house

Typical mass transit and graffiti
Several skulls and trash in a destroyed grave in the National Cemetery.  Note-the conditions in the cemetery are MUCH better than my last visit

Heavily armed UN soldiers.  Can you imagine wearing all that in 95 degree heat?

A public water point at one of the thousands of tent cities

Earthquake destruction in Port-au-Prince

Benches, desks, chairs, pencil sharpener

I have just a week left here in Haiti and I will be sad to leave.  I feel like the PECH project has really made a difference at Gentille Hirondelle school.  It was raining this morning while I was at school and I was standing in the center of all the classes pondering what they would have done with no roof in the rain.

Here are some pictures of the things I've used your donations for.  

Although life here can be frustrating and complicated, I feel the month has been a complete success.  Things take an incredibly loooonnnngggg time to get done but somehow life goes on.  Last night we were assembling some combination bench/chair/desks that I purchase with donations, for the children at school.  Prior to this, the children were smooshed 5 or 6 to a 20-year-old bench and there were elbows and knees everywhere.  The screws we had  for the benches were the wrong size so someone had to spend a morning going into Port-au-Prince looking for screws.  The drill bit was too big so someone found a store with another drill bit but it ended up being the wrong size too.  There were no other sizes.  The cord to the drill doesn’t have a plug and instead is wrapped around a live wire with a needle nosed pliers.  There weren’t enough washers to screw on to complete the job.  So we assembled the benches as best as we could, before the electricity went out again.  This morning the 5th grade class and teacher were excited to be the first to use the new, spacious benches that were just their size!  

We also mounted a manual pencil sharpener (no reliable electricity for an electric one) this morning and the children were thrilled by it.  They all lined up to try out this new toy!  Before the pencil sharpener, all pencils were sharpened by knives (I think the parents did it at home). 

Here are also some pictures of the teachers and the chairs I purchased for them with the donations.  

Thank you again for all the support!