As you probably know, two CSS volunteers (Quang Nguyen and Hai Pham) have flawn to Haiti, accompanying Operation Blessings personel in distributing the water filters to the population there. We received the following email from Quang:
From: Quang Nguyen
Subject: Productive Day in Haiti
Date: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 6:57 PM
Today was great. We did a lot and actually helped a lot of people. The day is still going on, because tonight Operation Blessing is having fresh Tilapia fish from one of the fish farm projects (w/ Carribean Harvest – Dr. Valentin Abe) they are supporting. This project is by far one of the greatest achievements I have seen happening here. These farms can provide thousands of fish to the villages that maintain and need a source of nutrition, let alone food. The village (near Lake Azuei) we visited is literally miles away from any market where food and water are available. They are unable to grow their own vegetables since the salt from the nearby lake has bleached the soil to be infertile. We distributed 43 Lifesaver Jerrycans to this village. Before our arrival, villagers would need to walk 3.5 miles just for water. The Jerrycans will serve very well for the prosperity/economics of the village. All donations from Compass/Lifesaver are going to a good cause.
This morning I had Haitian breakfast, which is actually spaghetti. We went into one of two Operation Blessing warehouses to pick up Lifesaver Jerrycans while also taking some time to talk about the value that the cans will be to the villages/orphanges that we would visit later. We went into the village that I wrote about earlier. The road to it was extremely rural and many miles away from Port-au-Prince (40 minute drive). This area is much more proverty-stricken in comparison to what I saw in Port-au-Prince – it was literally stick and mud huts. After some demonstrations and talking with the villagers, we collected some fresh fish that the villagers had grown through the fish farming project that Operation Bless and Carribean Harvest have partnered for. I’m currently grilling them for the group right now – can’t wait to eat.
We also went into an orphanage where nursing mothers were in need of fresh clean water. These mothers received Lifesaver bottles. We took a short tour around the old and now collapsed orphanage that the children used to be in. Like the schoolchildren we visited on the first day, many of their classmates were killed when their building had collapsed on top of their friends. From what I have gathered, the buildings here were constructed poorly and with cheap materials. To cut costs, buildings here have less reel bar and have cheaply-made bricks (using mostly sand and saltwater to create concrete). The mothers and the children at the orphanage, as well as the volunteers were extremely intelligent and warm-hearted.
It’s currently raining now, and everyone is pretty hungry from the long day. Dr. Abe just brought in a large amount of chickens for the Operation Blessing group. They are all running around right now as I write this email. Today, overall was very productive, I will write more when I get back. Can’t wait for the fish!