Johnathon’s Story | Day Six: May 2013 Volunteer Programme

Johnathon Cairns took part in Haven’s 2013 Volunteer Programme on the island of Île à Vache.  Here, in his daily update from the site, he shared all the progress and developments from the day.


I met Dou Dou this morning, captain of the local football team that goes by the name of Galaxie.

We gave him a set of jerseys from St Jude’s GAA club in Templeogue, Dublin.  The whole team togged out for a photo.

Some of our crew left for work early this morning (6.30am!) to try and finish the never-ending pathway from the sea to the orphanage.

We held a stretching class for the children in the orphanage, which turned into a disco.  It was mad fun. Linda McConn gave an amazing outdoor yoga session with more of the kids, which also turned into a

Haven renovated computer rooms in three of the local primary schools, and had purchased 15 computers from Camara, a company that uses technology to train people and improve education and livelihood skills around the world.  Ailish O’Reilly is Camara’s Project Manager on the ground here in Haiti, and the three installations in Madame Bernard this week are only a small number of projects she has on the go around the country.

This week saw all the rooms and computers set up by Ailish and in use.  Camara will support the computers and teach the teachers how to use them.  The teachers will go on to teach basic computer literacy to the kids and the wider community.  We saw a group from the orphanage playing some educational games on the computers and they had so much fun.  They are great for sharing with each other: food, toys and time on the computer.  None of these kids had ever sat at a computer before, but, within that session, were all learning how to interact with the mouse and keyboard to solve the puzzles.

Today, we had to say goodbye to the children.  Going home is welcome, just to get out of this heat and to spend some time not being bitten.  Leaving the orphanage was hard though, and there were many tears and upset kids.  Also, knowing there are 800 Irish families vetted and cleared for adoption yet unable to adopt, as Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children, and the Irish Government have yet to make a decision, makes it all the harder.  Haiti has recently joined the Hague agreement, but, as of now, there is no adoption agreement between Ireland and Haiti.

Last night, a few of us went out with John Moore, Country Director and coordinator of all Haven projects in Haiti.  We met up with the man who runs Île à Vache; he is known by many names – padre, mayor, boss, papa, Romeo and Damien Meaney.  Damien is Country Director of Soul of Haiti.  We all headed off into the jungle on a 15 minute trek to a nightclub/disco called DJ Henry.  We danced Haitian style in the outdoor venue, before making our way home, using our phones to light our path.  It was an experience I will never forget.

First light tomorrow, we head back to the chaos of Port-au-Prince and on to Dublin.

Jonathan Cairns


Please note, all views and comments are Jonathan’s own and not that of Haven.
For up to the minute news you can follow Haven on Twitter at @HavenHaiti or Facebook at

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