We are on our way home, having left early enough to avoid the demonstrations that were planned for today that threatened to close down the airport in the hope of drawing attention to the perceived corruption associated with the Presidential elections. Things will, no doubt, escalate as Haiti draws closer to the February 7th election deadline.
As we sit back in the relative comfort of United Flight 684, looking forward to returning to our families, I am reminded of just how fortunate that we are to call Canada our home. I apologize for the "reflective moment" but those many Langford and area volunteers who have travelled with the team to Haiti before can relate to the understandable emotions one feels as they leave Port au Prince knowing that they have only "scratched the surface."
While our work is perhaps only scratching the surface, it does and is making a huge difference for the children at both orphanages. These last couple of days we were busy doing the following:
- finished off acquiring all the materials for both hen house projects including ordering 6 months of chicken feed and 90 birds. 1 operation will be more like a commercial penned operation, and the smaller project a free run with coop. It will be good to analyze the effectiveness of both types of operations.
- small chairs and tables along with school supplies were acquired for the Baby Jesus Orphanage for the pre-school children and we helped pay for the balance of the school year for both orphanages as a number of children had been sent home from school because of insufficient funds.
- On our last trip the 5 of us helped Enel out by buying him a used tap tap (taxi). This allowed him to find work and give him hope that some day he too could have a home and family. Enel was raised his entire life at the Baby Jesus Orphanage and at 27 he still lives there and helps the sister with the children. His business is doing well and he continues to pay back his interest free loan and has money in the bank.
- Based on this positive experience, and following a couple of late rum and cokes, the team has entered into another micro-loan tap tap project with Enel's friend Stanley who we have worked with since the earthquake. Stanley has been driving a tap tap for many years and a few months back his transmission packed it in. We will be providing the funds for a new transmission from the states and should have him back on the road in 2 weeks.
- Monday we spent time discussing the vision for the new facility. Assuming that our Haitian lawyer finds the land-title to be in order we are anxious to nail down a projected cost for the project so that we can begin fundraising in earnest. Timing is becoming critical as the landlord for the existing location is thinking of putting that property on the market in April.
- We set up an account at a really friendly grocery wholesaler so that the CDN police here in Haiti can drop off money or send it electronically allowing Doris to pick up goods when she needs them.
- In the evening we had a nice final Haitian meal with the team, followed by a meeting with Ricardo the Director of Baby Jesus Orphanage and then off to pack and a 0430 start to next day.
Well that gives you a snap shot of what we have been up to the last couple of days. Thanks again for your support.
Bob, Dan, Russ, Rick, Bruce