We are on the move!

Thanks to YOU, our supporters, our first Unity Makes Strength” benefit dinner was a resounding success!!  We had over 150 attendees and raised over $15,000!  Everyone enjoyed the Haitian-style food, the Haitian art and crafts, the silent auction and the music by De La Buena.  We had guests from Haiti representing the YOUTHAITI board, and our partners from the OJPDD board and Foundation Espoir-Grande’Anse.  Videos were going all night illustrating our work. We are ready to plan for next year – soon we will send out a “save the date”!!  If you are not on our email list, please contact info@youthaiti.org or click on the link to join.

YOUTHAITI is on the move!

Our work in rural Haiti continues at a furious pace. We currently have 4 projects in process or near completion.

First, our partners in OJPDD (Organization des Jeunes Progressistes pour le Development de Duchity) have completed one public dry composting toilet in the neighborhood of Les Caves, with a great turn out of local residents coming to learn about composting toilets and  planning to use the dilute urine in their gardens. (See photos on Flickr.) Our demonstration garden is a little bit away from the toilet, but already bearing it’s first harvest.

In the community of Fon Deron another dry toilet is going into a school  that serves over 250 students.  A visiting volunteer team will help build Arborloos for families in that community as well this July.

In St Louis de Sud we have launched our second project. In an area only accessible by motorcycle or boat, near the southern coast, we will be building 2 public dry toilets and 50 Arborloos this summer!  This is an entire community with currently NO sanitation – not one toilet, which will have complete sanitation coverage by the end of the summer!  Our volunteers  will visit there also, and help inaugurate the first public toilet.  Our staff members, Marcorel Lisius and Gerald Polyte will supervise and provide community education.  This is the most isolated area we have touched to date.

A dry toilet is going in up the mountain from Duchity in the community of Lakadonie, where our wonderful La Hotte Coffee is grown. In partnership with Foundation Espoir-Grande’Anse, we will provide organic fertilizer for the coffee trees, and help increase yields to bring you more of that delicious coffee!!  Contact us at info@youthaiti.org if you are interested in trying or promoting Fairly-traded, organic coffee from Haiti.

This summer we also will finish planning 2 public dry toilets in the city of Camp Perrin, where many people currently use a dry riverbed as their toilet.  When the rain comes, all the waste is washed out, but if the river overflows (which happens when the rains are heavy), it further contaminates the local farms and home steads.  We are working with a local group called GRAPE, led by our staff Agronomist, Jean Samuel Alteus.

Alteus just returned from a training in sustainable nutrition through Auburn University in Alabama.  He is anxious to apply all his newknowledge to help improve the nutrition of the many peasants we work with in rural Haiti.  In August, Alteus will return to the States to take a Permaculture certification course in Wisconsin.  Those of you who live in Wisconsin, I  hope you’ll have a chance to meet him!  He tells me he sings and plays guitar too, so I hope he’ll have a chance to entertain us all!

In July, 2 teams of volunteers will visit Haiti with us.  We will inaugurate 3 new toilets, and build 50 Arborloos. We will launch a program of public cleanliness in Duchity with new garbage and recycling cans throughout the village.  In addition, volunteers will help test compost for pathogens, work alongside the local doctor in the clinic, teach leadership development to the members of OJPDD and art to some of the younger children in Duchity.  We will have a very busy 2 weeks!  Maybe some time YOU would like to join us!  Contact info@youthaiti.org for more information about future volunteer opportunities that will change your life.

Please watch the website for updated blog entries when we are travelling in Haiti. You can also follow us on Facebook (join our group) and on Twitter @gigipomerantz.