Monday 16 January 2017

Clodagh McKenna's Haitian video diary: I am simultaneously inspired and overwhelmed

Clodagh McKenna

Published 06/09/2016 | 13:21

Clodagh McKenna at the farmers market in Port au Prince today
Clodagh McKenna at the farmers market in Port au Prince today "with these fabulous women who sell the fruits from the local farmers"

I ARRIVED in Haiti today with Haven charity, which I have been an ambassador for the past four years. I am in Port au Prince, the largest city in the country.

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From the moment I landed in the airport the day was quite overwhelming with many different emotions. Within a few minutes I could see the poverty here is immense. People lined on the streets selling anything they can get their hands on, guys knocking on the windows of the car wanting to sell you bottled water or plantain chips.

The roads are so overcrowded. Brightly painted pick up trucks, with words like love and cristi on the sides struggle to transport the weight. These trucks bring workers to and from the centre of the city and up the mountains. 

There is no waste management system here, rubbish is disposed of straight onto the street, and every few yards people are treading through the trash to find something of use. They try to manage getting rid of the waste by setting fire to the rubbish directly on the street. 

When I got to the hotel, I had a meeting with Haven to learn more about the projects they are working on. One of them is called the Christine Farm. It’s a model farm, where future farmers of Haiti come to learn farming skills, and are given the tools to enable them to start their own farm.

I was so inspired by what this project can accomplish  that I have started a fundraising page. I want to raise €5,000 over the next 3 days in order to enable three farmers to set up their own chicken farms. This will go direct to the farmers to fund 360 chickens, three chicken coops, and chicken feed for six weeks. If you would like to donate you can follow the link here

Clodagh McKenna believes in empowering communities Photo: Tony Gavin
Clodagh McKenna believes in empowering communities Photo: Tony Gavin

In the afternoon I went to visit a wonderful fruit market - fabulous spirited women gathered around me when I walked in, each holding different fruits that they wanted me to taste. Their passion and drive was full of hope. I, of course, bought enough to feed the whole of Ireland! Fruits like papayas, avocados, mangoes, ripe, in season and direct from the farms in Haiti. I can’t wait to get out to the countryside tomorrow and see the farms.

For more information on Haven and its work in Haiti click here

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