I recently returned from a nine day trip to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. To spend time in Haiti is like traveling back in time 200 years. Imagine a country that still travels by foot or horse and still has no running water or electricity. Yet, to spend time in Haiti, is to fall in love with the people and their slow, quiet culture.
Two other fellow Hutchinson residents traveled with me; Cindy Haugland and Jonathon Stierman, Vivid Image Programmer. Our time in Haiti was spent in Pignon, a town in the North-Central mountainous region. We traveled through an organization called Haiti Outreach, headquartered in Minnetonka, MN. Haiti Outreach also has an office in Pignon, and is credited for drilling the majority of the wells throughout much of Haiti. Fresh water is a critical issue facing Haiti, and Haiti Outreach spends countless hours organizing communities to formulate a plan to maintain wells once they are operational. Investing in Haiti Outreach means all money goes directly to projects that help people on a macro-level over a long-term.
A highlight of the trip for me was riding most of the day on a gravel truck (on top of a load of gravel) to San Raphael to see a well drilling rig in progress. The day after we left, the well was completed and the rig was back at Haiti Outreach getting ready to travel to La Victoire. Within two days, the Haiti Outreach team and local residents were working hard to start another well in La Victoire. We also got to travel there and watch them start the process, as well as witness a local committee sign the contract to maintain the well. It was truly inspiring to see people excited about having a fresh water supply in their midst.
One of the challenges Haiti Outreach faces is getting all the parts necessary to install, maintain, or fix wells and pumps. Ordering parts from another country, shipping, and getting past customs consumes needless time and money. Their dream is to obtain a 90 ton capacity metal muncher so they can manufacture their own parts, and exceed their goal of drilling three new wells each month. If you know how we can help them get a donated metal muncher (I really won’t claim that I recognize one of these if it was dropped in my front lawn) or financing for one, please let me know. I will handle the shipping, and obtain a tax receipt on behalf of Haiti Outreach. Please don’t hesitate to ask me, Jonathon, Cindy or Steve questions about our trips to Haiti. We are also available to speak/present if the opportunity presents itself.
New Building Progress:
The new building is progressing, and it is fun to see the final product starting to materialize. The painting is complete, all the laminate flooring is done, and the carpeting is nearly complete. The light fixtures are being installed, and it’s wonderful to have light again! We look forward to being able to invite people to visit our new place!