Hal in Haiti

Hal Seifert from Lopez Island, Washington has volunteered to spend the next 6 months in Haiti working for Forward in Health. He is in charge of construction of the clinic. All of his expenses are being paid for by Spirit of Hope based in Worcester, Ma. (spiritofhopehaiti.org) The following is from his blog Hal in Haiti (http://halinhaiti.blogspot.com).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First days in Haiti-second round

We arrived in Port au Prince early in the morning on Thursday March 10. Pam Reidy, Paula Mulqueen and I came from Boston through New York. The evening before I had met with the engineers and architect going over the progress at the clinic Forward in Health is building in Fondeford, this is a very rural area outside the city of Les Ceyes, in the southern region of Haiti. Wort had been started on the walls, they were up about six courses of block. The plans had been modified to protect the building in the event of another earthquake. Engineers responsibility is to ensure the safety of ALL people. If the workers follow the plans that should be the case, however, if they don’t which is the situation, the work has to be altered, and in some cases removed. The photos we received indicated things weren’t going well.
Upon arrival, it was worse than we suspected, but we will dig in and get the crew back, all of our subtraction, then begin our addition.

I will be staying at ESPWA, an orphanage very close to Fondefred. There is 800 orphan boys living here so I won’t be pressed to find kids to be around. They have a guesthouse that I will share with people coming to Haiti to do a variety of projects here at ESPWA. That will give me a chance to talk to people in my native tongue, which is always nice. We take for granted the ability we have to communicate thoughts, feelings, and technical information. Learning a new language is like going back to 1st grade, very trying and frustrating.

Paula and Pam left today, the 13th, after Paul and had done a ton of duties getting things in place to get going again, opening a bank account, looking into buying motorcycles for myself and Evens, my translator, just a multitude of things.

One of the things we did was visit an orphanage that Forward of Hope, an offshoot of FIH, is overseeing now. There are 34 boys and a director. The director, David is there out of the kindness of his heart. He has a college degree in music, so the kids play music and sing like angels. In the plans for the orphanage Paul Fallon has designed a performance space for them. They had enough food for the next three days, that’s it, so we went to the Sister’s of Charity, which is Mother Teresa’s organization and they were kind enough to give us about a weeks worth. This wonderful place houses and takes care of terminal and handicapped patients. There must be 200 patients, all terminal and abandoned by their families, getting as much food, care and love as anywhere in the world, all done with love and compassion. I tell you, it stopped me in my tracks, emotion flooding me, not knowing what I felt. Truly an amazing place. Getting back to the orphanage, I always thought I would build one, and one needs to be built for these boys. In the mean time they need to eat and go to school, with food and an education they have a chance to lead full and productive lives. So the battle goes on.

Pam, John and Paula Mulqueen are all doing really good things for the people of Haiti. And this time around I am having a very different experience, they are all taking great care in ensuring I’m safe and well cared for. For that I am very very grateful. Until next time, take care, love, Hal