Haiti Project – Visit update

Morning Folks,


Great news  – Tilehouse has had full RI approval for our Global Grant Application for the Haiti project  – herewith an extract from the email received last night:


‘Congratulations! Your global grant application for funding GG1527340, to provide a filtration and chlorination unit to the village of Duclas in the Artibonite Valley, Haiti, submitted by RC Saint Marc (District 7020) and RC Hitchin Tilehouse (District 1260), has been approved by The Rotary Foundation. The award is in the amount of US$44,532.’


The provision of clean drinking, washing and cooking water to the 4,500 population of Duclas will be life changing, Bob and I only wish we could all be in the village when Water Missions International give the community the good news!


Full details to follow.


Best to all from a very smiley


Bob and Morag

Report 4

Hi AllThis update comes to you from a bar in Miami airport while we wait for our flight home.Yesterday was crazy as we returned to the villages with Kevin Pitt and Robert Muir. Duclas, the village cited in our Global Grant application turned out in hundreds and both Robert and Kevin were amazed at the level of engagement and enthusiasm for the project. The RC of St Marc and WMI have done a marvellous job in motivating the comminity in a place where such engagement is rare. Robert, who has worked in Haiti for many years, said he’d never seen anything like it. As the atmosphere became festive, a local band began to play and dancing broke out!

Then it was back to St Marc for a brief appearance at the St Marc Rotary meeting and then a long and hairy night time drive into Port au Prince – boy parts of that place are scary!

This morning Morag ad I visited Water Missions International (Missions d’Eau Haiti in the GG) to meet Julio, the country director, and his wife Elza; they are both truly inspiring. It was great to get an update on WMI’s activities and, most importantly, we signed the Cooperating Organisation Memorandum of Understanding, a “must have” for the GG Aplication.

So, after a quick review, our GG application will be going to the Haiti Task Force, with supporting documentation, on Monday! Once they’ve approved it it then goes to RI, and we wait!

See you all at the HW&FF tomorrow afternoon.


Bob and Morag

PS – Pictures to follow as I’m doing this on my phone.

Report 3

Hi All

Yesterday was a roller-coaster of emotions for us as we travelled up into the Artibonate Valley to show members of the RC of St Marc where the project will take place, and check things out ahead of our visit today with Kevin Pitt (RIBI International Committee).  If there’s one thing we’ve learnt about Haiti, it’s leave nothing to chance!
First we visited Fevre, a first for Morag and I, which felt like the poorest village we’ve visited so far.  Some children displayed signs of under-nourishment, having the tell-tale distended belly, while another sleeping naked on the floor looked distinctly unwell as flies crawled over his face and an open sore on his leg; it was particularly upsetting.
Then it was off to Chevreau des Cloches, a village we visited last year, to see their shiny new Water Missions unit installed earlier this year.  It was great to meet Waldo again, the chair of their Safe Water Committee, especially as he obviously remembered our visit last year.
Finally we visited Duclas at sunset to see the village where our project will take place, and again we were well remembered and we also recognised several adults and children.  All very emotional, especially as they know WMI have ear-marked them for a unit.
So, armed with the realisation that we have to get this project delivered, it was then back to the hotel where Morag and I worked late into the night, albeit sat at the bar, to recreate our Global Grant Application from scratch.  Our aim, assuming we can muster the final pieces of paperwork from WMI and St Marc, is to submit our application to the Rotary Haiti Task Force on Monday.  If it’s approved it will then go to RI, so wish us luck!
Bob and Morag
PS – The “orange glow” in the Duclas photo is cause by the sunset, not a reflection from Morag’s tan!

Report 2

Hi All

Apologies for the radio silence but connectivity has proved to be an issue; however, am now sat at the bar with Morag at the hotel near St Marc and enjoying a well deserved cold beer.
Yesterday (Monday ) we travelled in convoy with our Rotarian dignitaries to see some Build Aid projects.  First we visited a School in Jacmel and had a wonderful reception from both the staff and children; it’s fantastic to see the “thirst” for education here, but even the excellent facilities, by Haitian standards, seam basic compared to the UK.  And then we headed-off to see the hospital that Build Aid built at Cap Rouge…..
Well, the road I mentioned yesterday failed into insignificance when we saw the road to Cap Rouge; it was an hour of extreme 4×4 driving, nothing less could have made it, and for those on the know, it was 4WD+Low-Ratios+Diff-Locks to get to the top.  But when we did reach the top, battered and bruised from being thrown around, boy what a sight met us.  The hospital, completed by Build Aid earlier this year, serves a local population of around 10,000 who used to have to walk into Jacmel for treatment prior to its completion.  The road we drove would be a tough walk for a healthy person, let alone a sick one.
Then it was back to Jacmel for ADG Kevin to handout cuddly toys, knitted by the RC of Lutterworth to the younger children of the Grace Orphanage in Jacmel. (More detail on all this on our return.)  That done, it was back the the hotel to meet with members of the RC of Jacmel and, inevitably, “talk Rotary”!
Today, we drove 4 hours back across the mountains to St Marc’s Rotary Training Day.  Unfortunately, this being Haiti, the Trainer hadn’t turned-up, but they made the best of the day, and welcomed Morag and myself with a splendid lunch of goat curry!
Tomorrow we take some of the Club up into the Artibonite Valley to see the location of the project ahead of a repeat performance for Kevin and Rob on Thursday.
More soon…
Morag & Bob

Report 1


Well, here we are back in Haiti, and this time round it all seems a little less daunting.  Having all met-up in Miami on Saturday evening, the flight down to Haiti was positively disappointing as there was no chorus of “Guide me oh thy Great Redeemer” this time as we approached Port au Prince.

We are travelling with Kevin Pitt, ADG and a member of the RIBI International Committee, and Robert Muir, a member of the RC of Stort Valley and founder of a charity called Build Aid.

While Kevin and Rob headed-off with members of the RC of Jacmel, Morag and I were met by Jacques Annilus, our old friend from the RC of St Marc.  Picking-up the 4×4 from Hertz was almost routine, having tracked-down the office manager and ringing him to make a booking before leaving the UK, so by mid-morning we were on the Road to Jacmel, and what road!

Jacmel, our first destination, is on the south coast of Haiti and the road from PaP runs over a mountain range.  As with most roads on Haiti, it’s badly maintained and that,coupled with miles after miles of twisty turns and sheer drops, Haitian driving, and one overturned lorry on a hairpin bend, made for a pretty hair-raising journey.

However, journey over, our hotel in Jacmel is very good, and in a stunning location on the beach, so nothing to complain about.

Morag and I worked through the project status with Jacques on Sunday afternoon and, while not counting our chickens too soon, it is looking good.  It seems all the “blockers” have been removed and, provided we get certain pieces of paper signed while we are here, the local ADG has said she’ll be in a position to sign-off on the project and pass it to the Haiti task Force for approval prior to submitting our Global Grant application to RI.  This reflects the significant change in attitude from the local ADG which Morag witnessed in the couple of weeks prior to the trip.  (Anything to do with being accompanied by a member of the RIBI International Committee I wonder?)

Today we are off to see the Build Aid projects along with Kevin, Rob, and members of the RC of Jacmel, which include a hospital, school, and orphanage.  We’ll let you know how that goes in the next update.


Bob Harris & Morag Norgan.

PS – Photos to follow, but currently in flakey 3G which isn’t working too well!

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