Almost a month in to her placement with our team in Haiti, University College Cork (UCC) student, Johanna Murray, tells us of some of the ongoing work on the small island of Île à Vache off Haiti’s south-west coast, where many of our projects are based.
After the events of last week’s Volunteer Programme, Sandra, our new Programmes Manager, and I took a well deserved break back in Port au Prince. This rest did not last for long, however, as on Tuesday, Damien, Sandra, Nadine and I headed down south to begin work on Île à Vache.
Haven has a huge amount of ongoing projects on the island – these include Vizyon Pam, our new business development programme, which began in January. We also have developed eight wells on the island, with one more to be added over the coming months, which provide fresh water to the local farms and gardens, which we also support through our Forestry Programme.
My main task here on Île à Vache is to visit each project and assess various aspects of the programme, such as its key activities, developments and problems. Once these reports are approved by our Country Director, Damien, they will be uploaded on our case management system, so that everyone working for Haven can access these reports. Therefore, if anyone in the Dublin office needs to check on or evaluate progress, they can simply open my fortnightly reports to show how the project is developing.
I have really enjoyed going to the various projects on the island. What is really nice to see is the likes of the sewing project in the Income Generation Programme is filled with both women and men. There is also a new road being built to connect the main village Madame Bernard with the airport and to the rest of the island. It is fantastic to see so many women truck drivers transporting the necessary materials to and from the quarry.
The people on the island are very friendly and love to chat. I’m really enjoying living and working here. I can’t believe I’ve been here for almost a month: my time here is flying. I hope the next two months will be as good as the last.