Haiti Team Returns!

Port au Prince

February 29, 2912

The Endeavour in Haiti crew: Dave Hope, Soumare "Sam" Barker, Shane MacInnes, Paul Adlaf, Tina Therrien, Jean-Paul "JP" Efford, Megan Carter

Here we are… departure day for the Endeavour group. I’ve had such fun with these guys – I’ll miss them. I feel really blessed with the group who came on this excursion. They are resourceful, hard working, talented, and a lot of fun to boot. Going into this endeavour was definitely an unknown for all of us – not knowing exactly how we would gel, what projects would really unfold, whether or not people would be able to handle the sometimes tough conditions in Haiti. They definitely rocked it out, and pulled off a lot of projects in our (relatively) short time here.

 

Starting with our time at Haiti Communitère and making the Ubunto blox cleaning station and the new hen house, to going to Deslandes and finishing the compost toilet building to painting the earth block school, the group jumped in enthusiastically and met their challenges. We were only sorry that Centre Inspiration Jeunesse (CIJ) couldn’t get wood there for us in order to make doors for the washrooms. Alas, we finished all that we possibly could.

Our work day would start somewhere around 8 or 8:30 am until around noon – early morning is one of the cooler times of day. By noon, the heat was generally unbearable (highs of over 30º every day, with little to no shade cover. We worked straight through the first few days (with a lunch break!), but soon found that we needed a mid day break, and would break for two or three hours, returning to work by late afternoon and working until dusk. This proved to be the best way to survive, and was by far, the coolest time of day to work.

Our jobsite had constant spectators; mostly youth, but also some adults. Kids were keen to help out. Haitian kids don’t have a lot of toys, and are content to spend long periods of time just hanging out with adults. I think they especially enjoyed spending time with us, as we gave them lots of positive attention. Many kids pitched in to help with various tasks at the jobsite, such as collecting straw for plaster, mixing plaster, painting, and cleaning. They are extremely observant, carefully watching how you do a task, then picking up a tool (without being asked) and replicating the job. It’s uncanny how good they are at that!

The community in Deslandes is really appreciative of our work and our interactions with them. We were the first invited group to go to Deslandes (who weren’t funders), so we were testing new waters all round. There are recommendations and suggestions from us and from the folks in Deslandes for how to improve the experience for future groups- but we sure were treated well there.

I feel like our venture was successful: beyond achieving building goals, it was about being integrated in village life for a couple of weeks, of laughing with the community, of playing with kids, of knowing what water shortages are like, what extreme heat is like, and having to accept that there are always going to be hungry people in such a community, and that we can’t help everyone. We have completed an 8-stall composting toilet facility that is desperately needed in the community, and this model is being replicated in some of the poorest areas in Port au Prince, so we can be proud of the little bit that we have done while here. The lasting impressions of the beauty of the Artibonite River landscape, the smiling faces of the children we saw daily, and the beautiful people we connected with won’t soon be forgotten.

-Tina Therrien, Endeavour in Haiti project leader

 

 

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