An extremely early morning in Santo Domingo led us to our transport to the airport shortly after three o’clock in the morning. The party at Andres and Rosa Fortunato together with staff and board members the evening before was extremely successful and friendly and we enjoyed the evening so much. Here Board Chair Maria at my side and Andres and his Board members.
We landed in Port au Prince, Haiti and were picked up most warmly by Gwenael Apollon, The National General Secretary in Haiti YMCA.
Of course the city is still marked by the disastrous earthquake, but the YMCA office is rebuilt and is very presentable and elegant in the city centre of the capitol.
The children are presenting us with gifts and hugs, and since it is carnival time in Haiti now, the city is full of dressed up children and students, and during this weekend the rest of the population will come out participating in the joyous festivities. There has been political unrest the last weeks with riots ion the streets, protesting against the Government, especially because of the price of gas. But Carnival puts riots out of fashion for a while. Such is life!
Gwenael has certainly done a fantastic job with Haiti YMCA, during and after the earthquake, and I am so impressed with the great results he and hist team can show us! Congratulations!
The values of the YMCA spelled out around the place for receptions and festivities outside the YMCA building.
After lunch Gwenael takes us up the steep hills to the top of the mountains outside the city. On our way we pass huge districts with Favela like neighborhoods, very poor indeed. We are on our way to the YMCA community centre on the top of the city.
I am quite o overwhelmed with what I see. This is just such a brilliant example of a new way to solve challenges! A lot of assistance came to Haiti after the earthquake in big containers. The containers were also given to the YMCA and Gwenael had the idea to build youth centres, community centres of the containers. This photo shows the two containers with a light roof construction and some extra walls. And not the least a very elegant floor, with tyles bought on sale for a good price.
Centre Communautaire de Galets, written in Creole language! this is just so very convincing and is an idea for other parts of the world. It cost 15 000 US + the two containers to build this centre, and there are all together seven centres in Haiti.
These two brothers from the neighborhood is very happy playing at the centre, and there are excellent literacy projects going on in the centre for people of all ages, and there is an impressive library as well.
The container centre seen from the inside with kids preparing for the coming carnival.
At the end of the construction there is space for a kitchen and toilet. It is also cool inside, the ventilation works well and the water is coming from the rain.
Above you can see how the rain water is collected from the roof and channelled through this channel to the cistern behind the house.
The water goes through this pipe to the cistern. Below you see the greenhouse that is constructed to teach the children of the centre to grow tomatoes, green pepper and other vegetables, fruit and spices.
Lots of kids are playing soccer outside on the field, and Gwenael plans to develop the soccer field to a grassy, green field.
On our way down to the city we pass many busses like this one, mostly full of people. We are on our way to a dinner with staff and board members and no less than two representatives for the Government on Haiti. Time to find the white shirt and black suit and meet the people from the top of the society here. Hopefully to tell a part of the untold story! Much more tomorrow!
Good night for now from Port au Prince, Haiti!