Connecting FODH with J/P HRO
On Thursday I went down the FODH (Friends of Deaf Haitians) with a woman from the J/P HRO (Jenkins/Penn Haiti Relief Organization) tent city. We went down to see the possibility of J/P taking FODH over in management. If this happened J/P would bring water and food and try their best to meet the needs of FODH. It was still unclear to us exactly how FODH got the land they were on. They were surrounded by open, empty land on both sides. There were red stakes in the ground, we knew they meant something; we just weren’t quite sure what yet.
Widler and Mckinson, who are onsite co-managers of the camp, the J/P representative, Julie, and myself had a meeting in the “office”. We tried to sort through some things such as who had been to FODH with help and aid. We knew Water Mission International had come and set up the water system, but they had not been back since to re fill it. This meant that FODH only had water when it rained. The latrines had the markings of the French Red Cross, but no one knew the last time they came to empty them. Food for the poor came in June or July and left food, but had not been back since. A few people in the camp had jobs outside, but for the most part they worked together as one to survive. The cleaning of the latrines was on a volunteer basis, as was the maintenance of the entire camp. There was a security guard I had seen a few times as well. It was clear this was a community that stuck together. No one was out for themselves, they were a team.
The land is flat with no shade from the beating Caribbean sun. When the rain comes, the tents flood. These were all things that we discussed during our meeting. Julie discussed with the committee about getting help for the people of FODH. Jobs that could be created within the camp; food and water that could be delivered. Providing more tents for the community; even the possibility of bringing some tarps for shade. It was amazing experience for me to be a part of this. I was in the meeting both as an interpreter and as my personal goal in mind of helping the Haitian deaf community.
When we left it was decided that the people from J/P would return soon with more tents. Julie was going to talk to those in charge and get a decision on whether or not they would be taking over FODH in management. Although none of this had much to do about the school, I didn’t feel as this was a distraction from the purpose in Haiti. I am starting to realize that my purpose in Haiti is to just be in Haiti, to be involved with the deaf community here. Those who live at FODH have one thing more now than they did before, and I feel blessed to be a part of that.