Sunday 23 October 2016

Clodagh McKenna's Haitian video diary: The little things making a big difference

Clodagh McKenna

Published 10/09/2016 | 18:04

Clodagh has been in Haiti with Haven
Clodagh has been in Haiti with Haven

I WOKE up this morning on the beautiful island of Ile a Vache, it's an island off the South West coast of Haiti.

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The island is about 10 kilometres long and six wide. The population here is approx 12 thousand. There is no electricity or running water system on the island.

We start off in the morning on foot to go see the some of the house buildings that Haven are supporting. Haven supplies $600 towards a house upgrade, which would cover the costs of a roof, or house plastering or what is needed. Haven charity has upgraded more than 2,000 houses.

The houses are simple two or three-room dwellings, painted in beautiful bright Caribbean colours, they have little wooden huts beside their houses where they cook on charcoal. Some of the houses have solar lights and they collect water from the rain by using a large plastic bottle to catch the rain water from the drain pipes on the roof. The difference these upgrades have made is that families are able to live in their homes once again enabling them to build a future.

We then walk down to the waterfront, to see Haven's fish boat building project. Haven organise to train local fisherman and boat-makers in larger boat-building and manufacturing, and provide the funds to carry out much-needed repairs.

Many fishermen have traditionally used a Bois Fuoye, a small boat carved from a tree, forcing them to stay close to the shoreline for fear of capsizing.  The new skills that they gain through this training enable them to build larger, safer boats which they can use to fish further from the coast, gathering larger hauls and strengthening their income.

These two projects are so inspiring to see first hand, enabling the community with the tools to build their own future that meets their needs. It was an inspiring day...

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

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