Nearly Finished School Excites in Haiti

As part of our Community Development work in the remote southeast of Haiti, we’ve been helping to coordinate the building of a school in Cascade Pichon.
Now, the school is partially open and should be completed before the year is out.

CP School #1

We recently featured this school and our development work underway in Cascade Pichon, along with the impression this new school is having on the children of this community.  Here are a couple of excerpts from that story:

10-year-old Deswin says to me, “This is going to be the best school in all of Pichon.”   I thought to myself, “Well, that can’t be too difficult… the school you have now is a tiny one-room building with overflow benches outside under a tarp that has seen better days. The school is so small that hundreds of children don’t go to school because there is simply no room.”

In 2013, the Cascade Pichon Federation decided it was time to start addressing the next big need – Education.  The federation purchased land for the school and then, through building partnerships, Heart to Heart International helped to facilitate the building of the school, working in coordination with the Haitian government which has agreed to send teachers to instruct the children.

Two classrooms are finished and open to students and four more are still being finished. A few days ago, a mini dedication took place for those who are backing the building of the school – an anonymous foundation and the Mid-America Nazarene University – and was attended by a large number of school-children who are using, and who will use, this school.  Check out all those kids in the photo below!

CP School Children Walking

According to Wes Comfort, our deputy director of programs in Haiti, “The community is beyond excited, the kids are smiling ear to ear, and families are excited that their children will be able to get a sound education in a proper school without having to leave the community to go to Belle-Anse, Jacmel, or even Port-au-Prince.”

This is progress.  This is good.

 

 

In Haiti, A Future Shines at the End of the Road…

At the end of the road in Cascade Pichon, Haiti, a little bit beyond the Heart to Heart International clinic and just past the “hotel” there is a path heading to the left, away from the waterfall.

cascade pichon   5I recently took this path to check on the construction of a new school building that sits atop a hill, overlooking a valley and more mountains.  I was in Cascade Pichon, this time, showing a colleague around Upper Pichon, where the clinic is located.  Following us up the hill were four boys who are always together – Antionne, Alex, and brothers Deswin and Fresno.

I’ve developed quite an appreciation for Deswin.  He’s very bright and carries little notebooks with him that he uses to teach himself English, French and Spanish.  This 10-year-old is an immense help and is always eager to let me practice Creole with him and to teach me new words.  Besides Fresno, Deswin has two older brothers who walk a few hours to go to to school in Belle Anse and a sister that lives and attends school in Port-au-Prince.   Deswin and his brothers live in Cascade Pichon with their mother. Their father works across the border in the Dominican Republic.

Deswin says to me, “This is going to be the best school in all of Pichon.”

On this particular day, while my colleague tried to find a cell signal at the top of the hill, Deswin says to me, “This is going to be the best school in all of Pichon.”   I thought to myself, “Well, that can’t be too difficult… the school you have now is a tiny one-room building with overflow benches outside under a tarp that has seen better days. The school is so small that hundreds of children don’t go to school because there is simply no room.”

Instead, I said, “Oh really? Will you go to school here?”  Deswin responded, “I may go to school here or in Belle Anse, but I would like to go here.”

I asked him why he would prefer to attend the school in Cascade Pichon and his reply surprised me. He said that he would prefer to go to school in Pichon because of the volunteers that come there. He explained how it gives him the opportunity to learn more English that will give him more opportunities later.

In my head this is where the work that we do in Haiti comes full circle. Heart to Heart International’s development work in the southeast of Haiti started in Cascade Pichon with a federation, just like all of our work.

A federation is essentially a community civic organization. Federations take ‘ownership’ of the needs in their communities and HHI works with these federations.

The first essential need the Cascade Pichon community wanted to address was healthcare. The federation donated the land for our clinic in Cascade Pichon a few years ago. Once built, the clinic was staffed solely by ex-pat volunteers.  Now, a Haitian Medical Team works in the clinic and is supplemented by volunteers.  Since the clinic is owned by the federation, the federation keeps half of the consultation fees incurred from patients coming to the clinic.

In 2013, the Cascade Pichon Federation decided it was time to start addressing the next big need – Education.  The federation purchased land for the school and then, through building partnerships, Heart to Heart International helped to facilitate the building of the school, working in coordination with the Haitian government which has agreed to send teachers to instruct the children.  Hopefully, the building will be completed, staffed and operational this Fall.

I think this is what Development is. And it doesn’t happen quickly.  But I can’t wait to see what Deswin is doing in 10 years, to see how he is impacting Haiti because of decisions being made today by elders in his community, supported by HHI and its volunteers.

A few years ago, Deswin’s future certainly looked different. He didn’t have access to healthcare, he didn’t have access to a school in his community, and he didn’t have access to volunteers coming to his village to widen his world-view and let him expand his own horizons and quite literally alter his own future.  Now he does.

– Julie

HHI Uses “Ripple Effect” to Provide Supplies to High School Clinic

Bulldoc_Clinic_13This week, program staff with Heart to Heart International (HHI) delivered medical equipment worth more than $30,000 to a free clinic established inside a Kansas City area high school.

Bulldoc_Clinic_6The BullDoc Health Center occupies a handful of old classrooms in a corner of the historic Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas. The name is a clever play on words as Wyandotte High is the Home of the Bulldogs. The clinic operates one morning a week on Wednesdays and according to Robbie Howard, a Wyandotte High health sciences teacher, when it is open, 25 to 35 students will be seen by the volunteer medical staff.
University of Kansas medical students staff the clinic along with a rotation of KU Hospital doctors who specialize in family medicine.  Several of Howard’s students work in the clinic as well, gaining exposure to a ‘real world’ health clinic environment.

Bulldoc_Clinic_4The BullDoc Health Center is just one of a several free and safety-net clinics that Heart to Heart supports around the greater Kansas City region.  The recent delivery for BullDoc consisted of stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and other basic items to outfit and properly run a clinic.  The equipment comes from medical equipment manufacturer Welch Allyn through its Ripple Effect program.
Ripple Effect works like this:  Medical students around the country purchase specific discounted Welch Allyn products; Welch Allyn then gives credits to HHI based on the sale;  HHI then uses those credits to acquire Welch Allyn products and deliver needed items to clinics.

 
ripple effect MED STUDENTS! Click the photo above to learn about Ripple Effect and enter to win a humanitarian trip with Welch Allyn & Heart to Heart International!

Click the photos below to see a slideshow of the delivery to the BullDoc Health Center at Wyandotte High School (email subscribers please visit the blog to view slideshow).

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