I just got back from Haiti on a short but intense trip! As usual we worked from dawn to sunset - there was great fatigue but even greater joy from being there, close to the kids and to the wonderful people who work tirelessly in very hard conditions. These front liners have great courage!
I always go to Haiti with the same spirit that every one of our donors and sponsors has – I am interested to see the progress of the work and projects that we support from Italy. I love hugging and chatting with the children. I also treasure the short moments in the company of Father Rick, who is always working by assisting a sick person, unloading a container, comforting a grieving mother for the loss of her son, implementing emergency measures to save lives and so much more…
I shot some homemade video of what I saw. I hope they can make you feel that you were with me in Haiti for those moments.
In this video you can see the entrance of the little church near the Pediatric Hospital NPH Saint Damien where Father Rick celebrates mass every morning at 7 am: there is so much activity with many volunteers and workers from the hospital. Unfortunately, there are also many funerals. In Port au Prince everyone knows that Father Rick can offer a dignified funeral and burial to all regardless of whether or not they can afford it.
Creole songs are very touching. They have simple and onomatopoeic lyrics that create a union and a magical sensation of positive energy echoed by the great and unconditional love of Father Rick.
I then entered the hospital with Irene and Anna, two young volunteer midwives from Italy who have decided to work for six months for us in Haiti. I met with Doctor Gauthier, director of the hospital and among others I had the pleasure to speak withVillaire, a young Haitian from the operating room team who speaks Italian because of the training he received in Italy.
I immediately went to check on the work of the new wing of the House of Little Angels, the rehabilitation center for disabled kids situated not far from the hospital. The new wing will be named Kay Gabriel and it will host the orthopedic workshop and rooms for physiotherapy and rehabilitation. This leaves more space in the original portion of the house for special schools for disabled kids.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PHOTOGALLERY
I was very surprised, as works had gone very fast. You can see how everything is constructed manuallybut with enthusiasm and energy! There was hope that construction would be finished before summertime provided that hurricane season did not start soon. The goal is to inaugurate the wing in September together with the donors who supported it, especially the family of Cilla Corneo. How wonderful!
I then went to Francisville to see how the diverse units are going forward. There were many fulfilling stories to tell there as well!
In the mechanic workshop I met Holson, the coordinator of the workshop, who says hi.
Holson attended a training course in Italy at E&Y and Mediolanum Corporate University and he is now very proud of his key role in Francisville. He has great responsibility to convey knowledge and train others in a place that truly realizes people’s hopes and futures.
In the video that you can see by clicking here, some kids were working to forge the cover plate that is used to transform a normal car into a characteristic Haitian tap tap which is a means of local transport filling the need for more viable public transportation.
The thing that I am unfortunately not able to convey to you is the amazing smell of freshly baked bread, with the aroma of pasta. So good! I am embarrassed to admit how hungry it made me!
WATCH THE VIDEO OF MY ARRIVAL AT THE BAKERY
I then approached the pasta factory and when I opened the door I was so happy to see what an incredible job they have done: after learning from the Italian technician who came to Haiti to test the machinery two years ago, all the workers function independently in an assembly line. I stop for a moment to take this in! It is really so awesome to think that before there used to be nothing there and, more importantly, nobody had ever had this kind of work experience.
Pasta is a really great social business and we are planning to make the bakery bigger. We are looking for donors and supporters who will help with financial support or machinery donations to reach this objective.
VIDEO 1VIDEO 2Here we are in the Typography Department! How wonderful! Very tidy and full of new jobs! Watch the video shot in the typography
Secondly, I went to visit another important unit in Francisville- the Oxygen Production Plant with its new machine! We are still waiting for the second one that will make Saint Damien Hospital, St’ Luke Hospital and other street clinics, completely independent for their oxygen needs. There may also be the chance to sell surplus bottles as a viable social business.
Here in Haiti every day feels like a month, because so many tasks are completed. There is still so much to show you, I will bring you for a moment with me to Cité Soleil, a very very poor slum area. This neighborhood is considered very dangerous and violent as it is inhabited by those who have almost nothing. Father Rick has been working for 26 years through medical clinics and school for children on the street’s of Cite’ Soleil with strong support from Italy. We also have given a lot of attention to the Fors Lakay “Family Strength”, a project that aims to rehabilitate the community through the construction of new homes. These projects are a peaceful antidote to the desperate violence that hopelessness creates. Almost 100 little houses have already been built and now they are clearing a new area to build more houses!
What a wonderful feeling! Whoever says that people in Haiti don’t want to work is very wrong! They work all the time with night and day shifts! They have incredible energy in spite of the scorching heat. Here all community members build houses for other community families.
I slept in the guesthouse, Villa Francesca that functions simply but very efficiently as a small hotel. I went to visit the children in the Baby House and Foyer S. Louis… volunteers Carol and Gigi also came with me to see the Fish Farm project.
I leave you with this very cute video: in the moving bakery that we donated to this poor neighborhood, we make ten pans of sweet focaccia covered with nutella as a snack for all the children. All kids love this delicious treat!
As always I left Haiti with the willingness to come back and with so much gratitude for all the people who work so hard. I know that all these projects couldn’t keep going without the help and support from all of you who share our commitment. Thank you.