Coach House Geography

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Haiti Diary: 15 August 2010

Posted by Lindy on August 22, 2010

Hurricane Wilma was the twenty-first named storm, twelfth hurricane, and sixth major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atl

The streets are cleaner now than they were on the last trip, but over half the populace remains largely in tents. Little new construction, and what little can be seen seems to be being built in the old style. The style that collapses and kills one-quarter million. It’s simply cheaper and easier than building smart.

We are headed to Orphans International Worldwide’s three projects in Leogane, epicentre of the quake. OIWW has partnered with the only large structure that survived January 12 in Leogane – Ecole de la Redemption.

With 700 students still meeting in tents as the building awaits repairs, our programs there consist of orphan family care for 100 orphans, leadership training and college preparation for another 100 high school graduates who are being trained to mentor our orphans, academic scholarships for an estimated 100 orphaned students enrolled at the school.

To get there we pass acres of tent cities, negotiate beggars on the street, and see one man presumably drunk pass out in the middle of the clogged road (“national highway”). He was dragged, bloody, to the side of the road. We see virtually no signs of the massive donations made for reconstruction. Disaster relief, I think to myself, is so often little better than a scam.

Eighty percent of schools here are private, and the few public schools are overwhelmed and underfunded.

Hurricane Wilma was the twenty-first named storm, twelfth hurricane, and sixth major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atl

Why Zafèn?

Zafèn is a community of experienced and first-time lenders/donors who believe in the power of enterprise to foster sustainable economic development in Haiti. Your contributions will allow Haitians to create jobs, promote sound business practices and demonstrate a path to self-sufficiency for new entrepreneurs. I have sent out a loan to Zafen to help a farm buy a pair of breeding pigs and also to support the set up of a community store. In 12 months the money will come back and I will be able to re-use it for some other microfinance loan – maybe this is the way to go? (They do have some projects that are for donation only – I would prefer to recycle my loan and choose again next year!)

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