Monday, February 28, 2011

Details details details

Hi everyone,

With the next trip to Haiti coming up this weekend it is just astounding at the level of minutiae that has to be managed.  WOW.   One of the great challenges of working in rural Haiti is that essentially every little thing that you might need to do your work has to be brought with you.   And getting all those things out to Pestel is not easy either.

This is going to be a different kind of trip for me.   We'll have three separate activities going on simultaneously:
1.  I'll be down in town doing health worker training
2.  John Lane will be driving around up in the mountains exploring water sources
3.  Johnny Zook will be with Sisters Fidelis and Jo as he demonstrates his CharRocket stove.

We'll all connect up together at the end of the week for a boat road out to the island (Section 6--the poorest area).    

Some more really neat developments:

1.  I've been invited to talk at another local church down in Dillsburg.  They've invited me to do two Sunday School sessions!
2.  Issues related to water in Pestel are really heating up (starting to boil/simmer?  Nicely done, eh?  :)   John Lane has connected up with Steve Krupa, and both have expertise in water issues.  Beyond that, we just learned that a team with Engineers without Borders is putting together a proposal for a possible micro hydroelectric power generator far into the mountains (Duchity).   I literally just got this email.  They too are interested in potentially collaborating for Pestel.   Thanks to my friend Odelin for this connection!!
3.  Heifer International is moving forward with putting together a proposal for 400 individuals in Pestel.  They will have this ready when we visit them next Monday in Haiti!
4.  The maps for Pestel (using fancy software) are coming along nicely!  Thanks to Novneet for his great work!  I'm attaching an example to show you where some of the villages are located.  Much more to come!

This is a very strange time for me.   I would ask for your prayers and to help me discern God's will.  Truly, the challenge for me (I think) is not to be distracted from God's call.   It is SO easy.   From March through the end of July I have the following:
March--Haiti Trip
April--two consecutive conferences (one in New Haven, CT and one in D.C.)
May--trip to China  (yup--that JUST came up....crazy stuff)
June--trip to Haiti
June--trip to Ecuador (though I'm hoping I can find a replacement)
July--potentially 3 week course in Boston

So it is a lot, and it is a lot of time away from Jen and the kids.   And it is all good stuff.  Or rather, it all appears good.   While something may appear good to do, it may not be right to do.  And that can be a very tricky thing.   

This is a neat verse from Isaiah:

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

I love that image

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update on Heifer

Hi all,

I got off the phone with Anna from Heifer International.  I'm quite excited about where this will be going.  And I think she sees some really good potential here as well.

In short, they have agreed to a pilot project in Pestel on the order of 16 months.  The project would include 400 beneficiaries with a focus on improving nutrition through agricultural production!!  Livestock, gardening....maybe goat cheese production!  

This will be a really neat experience, in my estimation, because they are eager to see efforts overlap with ours.  We will do training in key nutritional topics (as we did in 2010, but we'll expand them over the next year), and there is likely to be opportunity to co-develop training materials for example, to help ensure that we're on the same page.

I also think there will be need to install more Chateaux Deaus or cisterns in key locations where Heifer is working in order to help ensure that the livestock have enough water....

I am hoping to meet again with one of the in-country reps on my next trip to Haiti.  Johnny and Steve will be with me for that visit in Les Cayes as well.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Should have waited a bit longer before sending that last one out....

I JUST received this Fantastic News from Anna, who is the director of the Americas projects for Heifer International:

A collaborative project to carry out nutrition/food and income security support in Pestel with your team has been approved. 

I cannot adequately describe the potential of how wonderful this can be!  Please check out Heifer International:

I will talk with Anna this week to learn more about the plans, and then I will let you know.   This is a wonderful gift from God to the people of Pestel, and to all who have been praying for the people of Pestel.  

I'm pretty jazzed up about it!   

February Updates

Hi everyone

Just want to share a couple of developing items:

Agriculture/Nutrition:   waiting for a final report from Heifer Intl about their site visit to Pestel.  The emails I've received from different people seem very positive!!

Water:   lots developing in this area.  A key component of our next trip (in early March) will be to scout out water sources and start to develop a strategy to provide clean, safe water to different areas of Pestel.  I've connected up with another group that has similar interests for Pestel.   This is likely to develop along a series of potential solutions (as opposed to a single solution).  

Health:  thanks to all the volunteers who are inputting data!!!  We're going to get more data soon.  We're also going to try having the workers collect data on cell phones in March.  That could eliminate the need to do data entry, and expedite our ability to analyze the data.  
We'll be running the Vitamin A/Albendazole campaign in March/April.  Then in late May I'll return to train them on some new material, including an Anemia Campaign to be piloted on the island.  If anyone is interested in helping with the May trip just let me know.  

Administration:   we're in prayer at this point about discerning issues related to administration of this effort.  I'll keep you informed.   In the meantime I'm VERY grateful to learn that two friends will be helping me by off-loading some of the administrative work!  

Finally, consider how these two very different scriptures might connect together [thanks to Paul Nisly for this]:

From Isaiah 58

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?

7Is it not to share your food with the hungry

and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—

when you see the naked, to clothe him,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousnessa will go before you,

and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness,

and your night will become like the noonday.

11The LORD will guide you always;

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring whose waters never fail.

12Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

and will raise up the age-old foundations;

you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

AND Psalm 127

Unless the LORD builds the house,

its builders labor in vain.

Unless the LORD watches over the city,

the watchmen stand guard in vain.

2In vain you rise early

and stay up late,

toiling for food to eat—

for he grants sleep toa those he loves.



Saturday, February 5, 2011

Data entry....volunteers needed!

Hi all,

We have a bunch of data from a household survey that needs to be entered.   Would you be willing to work on entering some data?

The data was collected in October/November by the health workers in Pestel.  It includes a tremendous amount of really important information including items such as # of people living in the house, educational levels, income, nutritional information etc etc.

With Heifer Intl and Water Missions involved now, this data will be very valuable to them as well to help determine whether their efforts are making positive changes in specific areas.

The data we have so far (we're expecting more soon) has been scanned into the computer.   I can either send you the PDF or the original papers.  

If interested, you would be sent an excel file with instructions.   I could then send you a number of survey response sheets to be entered in.

The survey contains about 128 questions, so it is going to be more time-intensive than the last survey.  I would probably send you about 10 response sheets at a time, depending on your willingness.   

Thanks as always!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Update from Water Missions International

Hi all,  
I thought I would pass along this report from Julio of Water Missions International.  He recently surveyed the island (Cayemite) which is the 6th Section in Pestel.   The needs on the island are very dramatic, as I've mentioned in the past.  

I am very impressed by the care and precision of this report, and this is a recommendation of where the Water Missions purifying unit, being funded by Variety International, is to be installed.

Photo is of Julio speaking with Dr. Seneque (in all brown shirt) at WMI in Port-au-Prince

Dear All,


On January 25th I visited Pestel and the island of Cayemites. On my visit to the island I was accompanied by Dr. Philippe Seneque and the Mayor of Pestel.


After 1 hour trip by boat from Pestel to the island and a very long walk to the "only" existing water source in the island with a population of 21,000.  The water source is an open shallow well with a constant visible quantity of 2000 to 3000 liters of water and is located in the village of Fontas. This well serves a total of 10,000 people in this village and the neighboring village of Boucan Philippe. This well is over 100 years old and it never dries. During the approximate 30 minutes I was at the well conducting tests and talking to the residents, over 30 people came to fetch water and each one carried a 5 gallon bottle or bucket on their heads for 300 to 400 meters to their homes.  The majority of the people carrying water were girls from 11 to 16 years of age. I did not have equipment to test the recovery capacity of the well but according to the residents using it for years, they say the well always maintains the same level and it overflows during the rain season.   


The terrain throughout the island is mainly rocky and the only usable water source is this well. The other existing option is to truck water to Pestel and then by boat to the island. This option is very expensive and out of reach for the poor people living in Cayemites island.


Dr. Seneque said that 20 cases of cholera have been confirmed in the island and this statistic is increasing. It is assumed it comes from the water source but I am certain it comes also from the great lack of hygiene found in the island.


I observed the school children passing by singing a song about washing hands to avoid cholera but their little hands were very dirty and they were eating without washing the hands while touching everything can could.  


While we were at the water source Dr Seneque received a phone call with two cases of severe diarrhea which he believed it was cholera. This call was coming from the other end of the island. He told them to put the sick people on the boat and take them to Pestel for treatment.  Cayemites island has only a very small clinic with one nurse.  


While we were in the island there were also two Cuban men doing fumigation of homes and other open areas to apparently disinfect and kill germs as they said.


After completing the assessment and the water tests, the bacteria test shows high contamination, conductivity is 950 and turbidity is 1.34



An additional note to keep in mind is the city of Pestel. We were unable to assess the water situation there but I received information that their situation is precarious. There is not water sources in Pestel and the water they use is solely from rain collection. The water is of course very contaminated due to the ways it is collected.  Their water has never been treated and only now because of the cholera epidemic, the UN delivers water to the hospital only.



Let Go and Let GOD



Julio Paula

Country Director

Water Missions International

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Changing Lives Through Sustainable Water Systems

Haiti Blog