A new (single) office for JEN Haiti!
Once again, JEN Haiti will move its office. Actually JEN Haiti will regroup its 2 offices from the capital Port au Prince and the provincial Grand Goave in only one large in Leogane.
After more than 3 years in Haiti, the reason of keeping 2 offices was actually questionable.
In 2010 in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of January 12th, the traffic conditions were so difficult that it was obvious the field teams couldn’t keep spending between 3 and 5 hours one way to reach its field of activity.
The time lost in constant huge traffic jams added to the safety risks on the road were more than enough to decide to open a second office in the province in June 2010.
Today the situation has changed quite a lot!
With no more debris on the road, bridges reconstructed and major improvements regarding the condition of the national road heading south, the 70 km trip to Grand Goave has become quite smooth and easy.
On a good day only 1 hour and half is required to reach Grand Goave.
In addition almost all JEN Haiti activities are now in Leogane, located half way!
Regrouping is so the best way to reduce support costs and gain efficiency in logistics and communication between all staffs especially.
Ideally located 250m from the national road, 300m from a MINUSTAH camp, 500m from 2 petrol stations and a kilometre from Leogane centre the new office fits security criteria just perfectly!
Regarding safety on the road we’ll also diminish risks drastically as 17 sites of operation out of 18 are located in within 5 kilometres!
Only Jeanty, in Grand Goave commune would be now more than 10 minutes away when it is now (and until the end of this week) the exact opposite!
Being altogether in the same office will also allow head of office and administration/finance team to visit the sites much more often, facilitating communication and preventing misunderstandings.
It will also facilitate relationship with local authorities and management of the mission when an international staff is on leave or simply sick.
Coordination with the other actors based in Leogane will also be easier and logistics should also benefit from the regrouping as Leogane has many construction shops when Grand Goave has only one.
As for Port au Prince shopping it will only take around an hour to be in the centre of the Capital, which was the time we needed not that long ago to reach the main shops in within Port au Prince!
After a bit more than 3 years in Haiti, Monday 6th of May will definitely be a new start for the mission, for the better with no doubt!
May 16, 2013 in Haiti | Permalink
Housing issues in Haiti
A bit more than 3 years after the devastating 2010 January 12’s earthquake, the housing situation in Haiti is today a very popular topic.
Foreign journalists were probably the first ones pinpointing the quite slow progress regarding the re-lodging of the victims of the quake.
3 years later the government of Haiti published statistics stating that 79% of the people that were living in camps has been re-lodged.
If it difficult to confirm these data it is quite easy in the other hand to list the numerous difficulties the government of Haiti and NGOs had to face while tackling the issue.
To start with, all actors involved in construction or reconstruction had to deal with logistics and space. As a matter of fact terrorized people had built spontaneous camps on public squares, football fields and roundabout. Even on the golf course in wealthy neighbourhood of Petion Ville!
With an enormous amount of debris to remove (1000 trucks working 24/7 during 1000 days was one of the first estimation of the needs) and no space available, the task was serious.
Another big issue was (and still is) the re-localization of these hundreds of thousands of people.
There is not much work in Haiti and Port au Prince is already overcrowded with around 2 million of inhabitants (and is expected to reach 6 million by 2030). The only location to re-localize all these people was on the northern edge of the city, a remote area with absolutely no shade, no water nor public transport and of course nor work…
Understandably reluctant to move out of the city most of the IDP (internal displaced people) refused this option.
When most debris had been removed another serious issue regarding ownership of land appeared. In Haiti 90% of the land is owned by less than 10% of the population so many IDPs, simple renters, couldn’t benefit from a temporary shelter (T-shelters) in the first place as the risk of seeing the owners taking over the newly built shelters to rent them was extremely high.
The concept of temporary shelter also brought some difficulties and misunderstandings.
While the “humanitarian emergency world” defines a T-shelter as a temporary construction of 15 square meters able to host IDPs for at least 3 years and costing less than 1500US Dollars, many Haitians thought INGOs will build proper solid houses, somehow replacing fully what had been destroyed by the earthquake.
For all those that were living in shacks before the earthquake in the other hand no deception as a simple T-shelter made of plywood and covered with CGI sheets was still better than their previous place. But electricity, running clean water and jobs are still missing.
With a population growing that fast, the housing crisis Haiti is facing is unfortunately far from disappearing.
May 2, 2013 in Haiti | Permalink
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A very sad story!
His name is G., he is a Haitian and has worked for JEN Haiti as a day guardian for almost 3 years.
G. is originally from a remote rural area of the southern peninsula where there is simply no access to education or work.
Arrived in Port au Prince as a young adult attracted like so many others by the lights and the supposed attractive employment activity of the capital he joined the enormous crowd of provincial stuck in the capital, surviving no matter what, taking life one day after the other.
Not really strongly built he always has been more or less sick while working with JEN the past 3 years but he never wanted to get any proper medical check in MSF (Doctors without borders).
Instead he used his paid holidays and his little money to get to private hospitals without telling anybody each time he felt too bad.
When he got into coma for the first time beginning of March the other guards and the drivers of Port au Prince’s office finally told me they suspected him to carry “the virus”.
Rarely named aloud, AIDS is still a disease people are ashamed of in Haiti… meeting his wife a bit later on, obviously contaminated as well, did unfortunately confirm the diagnosis.
G, once out of coma, still kept denying his sickness, blaming instead some voodoo curse.
From this moment he took all the wrong decisions, spending all his money in voodoo priests and some ancient rituals for which he of course had to pay again.
Expelled from his rented flat by the owner as soon as that one realized his renter had AIDS, G. ended up in “Shalom church”, a huge kind of paying no man’s land where thousands of people gather every day, expecting a miracle for them or their families.
It is where we finally found him after chasing him around the city for 2 weeks. He was in a very poor condition, lying on a dusty platform of concrete with hundreds of people more or less in the same condition.
I wish I’ve never been there honestly… in the other hand it was there we met the older brother of G., a decent man also trying to survive in Port au Prince jungle and taking care of his dying brother’s little 3 years old boy.
Understanding perfectly the situation he immediately agreed on the urge to test the child and register him in one of the numerous free AIDS Care Center that exist in Haiti if it is confirmed he’s infected too.
This is probably the saddest part of this story! G. could have benefit from free treatment if only he hadn’t denied his contamination!
How many other Haitians are in the same case?
How many more will die in unbelievable pain because of ignorance and fear of stigmatization and discrimination?
April 4, 2013 in Haiti | Permalink
New Program Officer “Ludovic Blanco”
My humanitarian experience start soon after my high school but it wasn’t so obvious. I started the school to be a fireman (officer). But really fast I realized that this profession is not for me and that it will close many opportunities. So I decided to focus on water management, first of all for public health in order to reach the best water quality to avoid contamination in the public health centre where patient are weak. At this time I had the chance to spend 4 months in Romania for my training. After 4 months I had the opportunity to follow a course in the United Kingdom in water supply and sanitation where I could specialize my technical knowledge in management in relief context and developing countries. At this point I made my thesis in India in the poorest state (Uttar Pradesh). My task was to assess the possibility to implement household water treatment.
Those overseas experiences were for me the first. As I am from a little island calls Reunion lost in the middle of the Indian Ocean, old French colony now a French territory, I did not have the opportunity to travel like this. When I left my family and my small land I decided to take all chance to open my mind and meet people with different point of view, knowledge, culture…
Straight after my study I went in Burundi with a French NGO specialized in WASH. I was the program manager of the project. I spend 18 months there were I could put in place my knowledge, and had my first real professional experience. I manage 3 programs in total in Burundi. The first one was to manage water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in a Congolese camp (with 6500 refugees). My second and third projects were to establish water network, provide hygiene awareness, and train water committee and to train the public utility to manage in a proper way their networks.
After that I had a break of 1 year and half in France, where I could work for a public service in household waste water treatment.
After this period it was the time to go back to the field. I work one more time for a French NGO in Jordan in response to the Syria Crisis. We were the first NGO work in WASH in the first refugee camps. I spend 8 months there. My main duties were to provide water and manage waste water in 4 small camps, and provide hygiene awareness and distribute diapers in a camp of 50-60 000 refugees in add to the 4 small camps.
I finally joined JEN in March in Haiti. The program is similar to those I did in Burundi. I have joined JEN first by a meet of one person in Jordan.
Beside that I like to practice sport, extreme sport when I have the opportunity.
March 21, 2013 in Haiti | Permalink
JEN & DINEPA, soon 3 years of close collaboration!
Arrived in Haiti only a few days after the January 2010 earthquake, JEN started its activities with distribution of emergency shelter kits for 4000 household in the rural areas of Leogane district before concentrating its activities in WASH sector (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene).
Created in 2009, just before the earthquake, DINEPA (National Directorate for Potable Water and Sanitation) was back then Wash Cluster Lead, helping INGOs understanding the Haitian context and specificities.
JEN first program in Wash sector was about renovating existing water pumps (105 in total), drilling 10 new boreholes in order to create new water access and promoting hygiene in all the communities concerned by the programme. (Following UNICEF guidelines, training and material)
Introduction to the concept of water management committee (WMC) following DINEPA was also a very important part of the programme as it did prepare today’s activities and Haiti’s future!
Actually since these first steps in 2010, JEN had realized all its activities in close collaboration with DINEPA! Status for WMC had been officialised in late 2011 and since then JEN is working hard in helping the communities of Leogane district of getting and especially self managing new collective water facilities, necessary step in these rural area before DINEPA would be able to connect all houses to the national network, ambitious plan which will take years or decades...
Promoting DINEPA on T-shirts, banners or painting on the newly built structures is also a way of promoting future self reliance regarding drinkable water access. It is also a way of promoting possibilities of changing and future in a country where inhabitants are so used to depend on the international community.
Relationship with DINEPA has been so important and usual along these years that JEN also has special relationship with DINEPA in the project of renovation of streets of Leogane centre financed by Japan.
Present on the project in order to install water pipes underground before completion of a new sanitation system of drainage canals, the little team of 10 workers got equipped by JEN with helmets and safety vests and followed a security training given by JEN staff, using a film produced by the ministry of public construction.
Supervision of the team and coordination with the others actors on site is also on JEN responsibility.
On national plan relationship between JEN and DINEPA is also going well.
Together in the working group “Capitalisation and lessons learnt after 3 years after January 10th 2010 earthquake in Haiti”, JEN and DINEPA went a bit further a couple of weeks ago in their relationship as a few T-shirts JEN staff and volunteers are wearing were given to the Director of Communication of DINEPA, Mr Stephane LACROIX.
After 3 years of close collaboration JEN is unfortunately not registered officially with DINEPA yet!
The first document needed being the national registration JEN has had so many problems with…
Fortunately this will be soon an old story and registering with our partner DINEPA will be a formality, allowing us to implement many more projects concerning access and self management of drinkable water!
March 7, 2013 in Haiti | Permalink
GOMAN, a place where difficult access rhymes with success!
Located 200m above sea level, the small community of GOMAN (Commune of grand Goave) has a million dollar view on the sea to offer to anybody who’s willing to leave national road number two and attack the climb!
The road starts in the mud before turning really fast into a mix between a dirt track and a river bed covered by rocks on extremely steep stretches.
The first time JEN tried to visit this community the car couldn’t make it, the team finishing by foot…
Arrived finally on the hill top the team was welcomed by inhabitants surprised and happy to see a little bunch of humanitarian workers arriving sweating in their locality.
After a quick introduction of JEN project to the local characters of the community we got invited for a new walk, downhill this time, in order to have a look on the only water source in the area.
30 minutes! 30 minutes climbing down a hill known as “Bouda Chita”, literally “Bottom seated”, trying every second step not to fall!
Arrived quite deep in what looks like a smaller version of a canyon we heard and saw the water! A small water fall with an impossible dangerous rocky access, some broken pipes here and there and downstream a group of people washing clothes, bathing or collecting water, sharing in addition the place with animals drinking!!!
The broken pipes made us think people had tried already to organize themselves regarding water issues, which was fast confirmed with the explanation given by the alder in the village.
After the regular process of assessment and survey GOMAN came of course as a location in which JEN should work. The need was extreme, this population is extremely vulnerable and quite isolated even though road national two is visible far downhill.
No use to precise the work has been particularly difficult for the construction team as items such as tools, iron or cement had to be transported all the way to the water source.
Sometimes partially by car or truck but mostly by motorbikes, manpower or donkeys!
Work on the track has been needed and the population fixed it!
San became an issue? The population started excavating directly in the mountain!
The enthusiasm, participation and involvement of the community have been also really important in the activities of hygiene promotion and definition and establishment of concept of WMC (water management committee) as the entire population could see how much improvement in their everyday life the project would bring!
I recall the visit organized later while JPF monitoring mission was in Haiti. All hygiene promoters and WMC members were present, proud to wear their tee shirts and explain how life had become better since they had a water reservoir and a safe kiosk!
February 28, 2013 in Haiti | Permalink
KITA NAGO, much more than a simple community symbol(part2)
What I didn’t know before reading a great article in a local newspaper was that they were many other symbols in Kita Nago.
A common expression in créole says “Mwen pap fè yon pa Kita, yon pa Nago”. Literally “I don’t make a step Kita nor Nago” which means “I don’t move”! Or “I don’t make a small step, neither a long one” when used in second degree.
Kita and Nago are also 2 nations among the 21 in voodoo religion. The Kitas have fragile feet while the Nagos are great endurance walker.
The Y shape of the wood refers to the Yoruba, tribe that was taken into slavery on a large scale. It also refers to a voodoo ceremony during which believers eat Yam.
The wood, oak, was once upon a time one of the biggest richness of the country and did contribute in a large scale to pay France the debt for Haiti’s independence.
The all project is also an opportunity to show that Haitians can do things without any foreign help as all resources in the project are locals.
700km so 14 stages of 50km, representing the 14 stations leading to Golgotha, meaning so that a failure can be turned on a great victory.
The walk is also the opportunity to recommend Haitians citizens to all plant a tree the day Kita Nago crosses their town in this year dedicated to environment in Haiti.
No doubt, the long road between les Irois and Ouanaminthe will keep the name of Kita Nago Road for long.
People say the wood is talking! They’re probably right! By reminding all these symbols the wood has talked to many lost souls and brought hope in many communities already.
By the way, did you know Kita and Nago were 2 geographically exact opposite points in Japan?
February 7, 2013 in Haiti | Permalink
KITA NAGO, much more than a simple community symbol(part1)
“Kita Nago, ritual walk is now approaching Leogane, creates a huge traffic jam, avoid area if possible”.
When this message landed on my Blackberry through the security instant messaging network I didn’t really understand why a crowd of people were approaching the town. If it was a usual ritual walk how comes I never heard about it?
Soon after information arrived! Plenty! Too many actually! Contradicting each other and creating more confusion than anything!
At the same time the crowd arrived in the town centre, peaceful, obviously happy and exhausted!
Who wouldn’t be as all these people were taking shifts to carry altogether a big Y shape piece of wood that looked extremely heavy. A very nice piece of wood actually, some old oak tree that can still be found in the southern peninsula of Haiti.
A week or so later I know much more about Kita Nago.
Started on 1st January (anniversary of independence) in Les Irois (extreme south west of Haiti) the walk is on its way to Ouanaminthe (extreme north east of the country), covering a distance of 700 km.
Carrying altogether the wood, Haitians taking part in the event want to show their fellow citizens that it is possible to do anything if only everybody gives a hand!!!
In a country were community spirit has been destroyed by decades of chaos I did find the symbol interesting and the initiative worth to be acknowledged as a unique one.
(To be continued)
January 24, 2013 in Haiti | Permalink
Education in Haiti
I am Berlande Virgille, the Field Officer in JEN Haiti. I have been working with JEN since 21 January 2010, about one week after the earthquake that devastated my country. Today I would like to describe one of my biggest concerns: the challenges of the educational system in Haiti.
The educational system in Haiti is characterized by significant exclusion and structural deficiency. Education cost remains high in proportion to Haitian family revenues. About 40 percent of low income families have difficulty to have access to school, especially in rural areas. Public schools only cover 10 percent of the total demand for basic education. In addition, parents must pay school fees to enroll their children in the public school system.
In general, the academic year begins in October and ends in July. With two vacations at Christmas and Easter holidays, the number of hours in the school year is considerably reduced. Certain parents can afford to pay for private lessons for their children to cover for the reduced hours, but they are the minority. .
French remains the language of instruction in the private schools, but Creole and French are used in the public schools.
The textbooks also have always been a concern. Mostly imported, they are often
in short supply and their price, like all imported products, can be impossible for families who
must strive to put food on the table. Many children go to school without books. In addition, the books are not adapted to the Haitian environment. The Haitian system of education is heavily influenced by the French counterpart.
The efforts of Haitian governments to educate their people may seem sincere but, so
far, they have not yielded remarkable results. A serious reform in order to treat education as a true instrument of progress and development. Education does not appear to be
focused on the specific needs of the country. From the outset, the orientation taken by the
Administration of public education had nothing to do with the reality of Haiti except for the
fact that it served the particular interest of an elite who send their children to study in France
and considered themselves French.
Finally, what I see is the Education in Haiti is a business. For some of the schools, the
objective is clearly more directed towards making money than towards educating children, and
often the classes are overfilled and the teachers are unqualified. Among the schools in the private sector we found the very best and the very worst of what the Haitian education sector
has to offer. We find a category of well reputed elite schools, what Haitians call”Lekol Tet
Neg”. Most of them are religiously founded and almost all of them are urban-based. They are well equipped, have the best teachers, and are the obvious choice for the privileged families who would never consider sending their children to a public school. In Port-au-Prince, private primary schools are found on almost every street corner. Because of its density, people call them “Lekol Borlette” meaning “Lottery schools”, named after the small lottery stands that are also found on every corner. I think that instead of making “Lekol Borlette” or “Lottery schools” we should be making more public schools where we can have qualified teachers, learning materials and suitable school buildings so more children in the street will have possibility to get an education.
January 10, 2013 in Haiti | Permalink
We don't need no education
80% of people live under the poverty line.
More than 90% of schools are private. They are mainly religious, and without control on what is teach to children.
Compare these two figures; it would explain you a lot about Haiti.
Education is obviously one of the main key to rebuild this country. It is even perhaps the only genuine path, which would take generations though.
Over the last decades very few Haitians have enjoyed a good education. This lack of education can be felt on daily basis. Through the very few people able to speak another language than Creole, and sometimes French for instance. Or through reactions or questions from people we meet.
Here are some excerpts of discussions we have had over the last few weeks. They are proper words of Haitians we work with. Of course they are only examples and all our discussions are not as amazing. But it could give you a sense of what is the reality in terms of education.
-Boss, is Denmark a cold or hot region of France?
-It is quite cold during winter, but it is not a French region, it is a country by itself.
-HO ! really? So why do people go there instead of France?
-Perhaps because they live there, no?
-Ha, ok. And Cameroon, is it a hot or cold region of France?
In Haiti, JEN works only on education through hygiene promotion or community development. Yet what gives more sense to what we do here is the time we spend with staff debating, discussing, explaining; most of the time out of working hours. This is not reported to donors, they would not fund such non-formal education, at so small scale, anyway.
But this is one of the best parts of the humanitarian job.
This is one of the specifics of a genuine humanitarian NGO.
December 20, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
The Haitian Pride
If you travel in the plains between Leogane and Grand Goave, so in our areas of intervention, you will see plenty of fields with a kind of high green plant. These are sugarcanes, that are obviously used to make sugar, but that are also eaten by people. For one Haitian dollar (5 HTG, so 1/8 of US Dollar approximately) you can have your piece of hunger-killer.
Nevertheless sugarcanes, including Leogane’s ones, are above all the main component of something much more important for Haitian: Rum. Rum is the true Haitian pride. Especially the most famous one: Barbancourt . Certainly one of the only things Haiti exports all around the world. If Japan is reputed for its whiskies, Haiti can be considered as one of the best rum producer worldwide. If you have the chance, once, to test Barbancourt rum, you could never think it is coming from one of the less developed place in the world, the America’s poorest country. Others rums exist, as in the whole Caribbean islands, such as the Bakara one, but they do not reach the level of quality of Barbancourt. The basic Barbancourt is 4 years old (called 3 stars). There is also the 5 starts bottle (8 years) and the 8 stars (15 years, almost impossible to find in the country). All aged in oak barrels.
Quite surprisingly, Barbancourt rum is one of the only things that has resisted to years of deliquescence of the Haitian economy. There are certainly many reasons. But consumption is not one of them. Indeed, very few Haitians drink Barbancourt, which is too much expensive. Most of them drink clerin, which is the first result of sugarcane’s pressure and can be drunk almost immediately. The 3 stars’ Barbancourt bottle of 75 cl of is not sold less than 300 HTG (more often around 375 HTG) while a gallon of clerin (around 4 liters) cost 325 HTG.
Rum or clerin are of course firstly used to be drunk, as any alcohol in the world. They are sufficiently strong to be quite successful on this issue, whether you add something (such as prune or ginger). It’s not rare to meet people fully drunk, sun and heat supporting the rum to reach the goal of the drinker. A Haitian legend exists about one Japanese who would have been the victim of Haitian rum, but who knows if a legend is true or not?
Another rumour says that drunken people eat cats to recover. Yet experience in the country has shown that cats are not only eaten by alcoholic people, but this is another story.
Rum is also used in some religious celebrations or to fight diseases through mystic celebrations.
To have a sense of cultural adaptation, expatriates of course drink rum. Very often they arrange rum with several flavors. It is then called arranged rum. In Grand Goave, since 2010, regularly rum awards are organized. The last one occurred very recently and JEN team tried to worthily represent the organization with a very specific rum. Unfortunately we could not find anyone to present it as the name of the rum suggests. This is certainly the main reason why JEN did not win this recent competition. It could definitely not be for any other reason.
Ｗe have to be better prepared for the next rum awards. JEN team cannot remain on a failure.
Are you ready to come to help us? Good rum is such a pride for Haitian people that we need to respect them.
December 6, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
【Excerpt of a voodoo hall’s wall pictured in 2010 in Leogane】
“Haiti - Society: A woman declared dead in September 2011, found alive on the day of the dead 2012”
This is not a joke. This is the title of an article published this week on Haitian media . Explaining when and how the woman was buried in 2011, and how she “resurrected” in 2012. More than 1 year later. Conditional is not the frame.
The article does not question the “facts”, neither it tries to explain the “miracle”. Almost nobody does actually, except foreigners.
Quite surprisingly for people familiar with monotheist religion, this kind of thing is not so rare in Haiti. So, is Haiti a new Eden or the place where Jesus or another prophet would have decided to come back prior to the so-called Maya’s December 21st? Or is there any other reason behind that?
Actually you cannot understand Haiti, if you do not try understanding why people could take such “information” as granted, or why a relatively serious media could participate to what would appear to external observers as a reinforcement of the lack of education in the country.
Haitians believe en masse to mysticism. This certainly has a direct link with Voodoo, where Evils, Zombies or Vampires are legion. Nevertheless nobody knows if Voodoo is at the origin of so much mysticism, or vice-versa.
But there is something that is certain: mysticism is really useful to explain what you do not understand. Especially when you do not know, or you are not able to look for a proper solution.
Unfortunately, this is the fate of all countries where education is too much neglected.
November 22, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
From the destination Haiti 2
JEN has been focusing on, the greatest need, water and sanitation projects as an emergent reconstruction support in the Western prefecture for a little than 3 years since May 2010, where suffered the most damage by the earthquake, after implementing the emergency assistance right after the great earthquake occurred in January 2010.
Here is the report on the project sites I inspected. I mainly visited accessible project sites including those in the past. This is because access to many of the project sites was not ensured because of the aftermath of hurricane Sandy hit in the end of October. (As of October 31st, 54 reported to have died in Haiti according to UNOCHA).
The clarification device is installed beside the water well for water clarification by Chlorine.
Here in one of the present project sites, a water tank has been under construction at a fast pace.
A big tree have fallen to lie over the water, might be caused by the hurricane.
The beautiful landscape encountered on the way.
I appreciate your warm and continuing support.
November 8, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
From the destination Haiti
Had departed Japan on October 18th and changed airplanes at New York, I arrived in Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti, the next day after noon.
This is my first voyage to Haiti. To be honest, my first impression of it was not positive because a group of pale gray simple frame buildings and refuge tents of emergency provisions jumped to my eyes as far as I looked down the city from the descending airplane just before landing.
However, I felt that friendly and kind attitudes of the local staff of JEN and people around the office swept the impression away.
Currently I have been engaged in the operational coordination in the office Port-au-Prince and I am expected to move to the project site in Leogane, Grand Goave soon.
The situation there will be reported next time, this time please enjoy the pictures around the office Port-au-Prince!
The entrance of the office Port-au-Prince
Just like the image of the Caribbean, there are many kinds of trees.
“A Mango tree”
I found Mango trees and palm trees on the premise of the office, no sooner I ate Mango and it was sweet and tasted good.
“Around the office”
Various kinds of shops stand side by side such as a fruits store and a clothing store etc.
Overseas Projects Department/Jumpei Ushikubo
October 25, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Creole, a pattern of Haitian identity
[JEN seems to be everywhere on Port au Prince’s walls …]
Haiti has two official languages, French and Creole. Creole is actually the main language, spoken by the entire population, while French is mainly talked by educated people.
Originally Creole is a mix of Colons, natives and slaves’ mother languages, in order to understand each other’s. It then became the slaves’ language that evolved to do not be understood by the colons. Since the independence in 1804, the language continued to evolve and has been officially codified to be written. Writing codification is close to International Phonetic Alphabet. Indeed, while the pure creole is very precise, in reality one writes creole as one hears it.
To give an idea about Creole structure, let’s say that for a French speaker, most of creole is understandable. Nevertheless it’s more complicated to speak it, as the tendency would be to speak deconstructed French.
As any language in the world, it reflects a culture, and vice-versa. Therefore, understanding the language enable to better understand the country’s people and their interactions. Creole is a language that is deeply poetic, but also incredibly approximate on another hand.
Poetic definitively. Incredibly. Many expression in creole use images to say or describe something.
Not to illustrate an action or an idea. To express it.
For instance, do you know how a Haitian would ask to inflate a tire? He will say “mete van nan kawotchou a” [me-te][vɑ̃][nɑ̃][ka-wo-tʃu][a]. Which means, literally, “put wind into the rubber”. Poetic isn’t it?
Inflate a tire is quite a prosaic and concrete action. Yet creole use as much images to express ideas.
The message in the picture above says “Viv Ayiti tèt kale” [viv][ɑjiti][tɛt][kɑle] and means literally “Go Haiti Shaved Head”. It has been used as a slogan during the last presidential election to promote a new start for Haiti. Indeed, “tèt kale” (shaved head, literally) means in fact “reboot” or “restart”. A new life for your hairs, somehow. And by extension for Haiti.
Unfortunately this poetic (and idealistic would say some) view of Haiti is rapidly undermined. Indeed, as much Haitians are present in the discussion, as much interpretations of the images could exist. Not only because of regional particularities, but also because everyone has his own understanding of the said image. Almost nobody tries to understand what the other means. What one has understood is definitively what the other meant. Empathy does not look to be the most important quality during discussions here.
This leads often to strong and deep misunderstandings. Of course the low level of education certainly reduces the number of words use by most. But you may also have words that have several meaning. And there is no way, as it could exist in some languages, to differentiate these meanings according to the tone or place in the phrase.
Let’s take the word Marengwen [ma-ʁœ̃-ɡwɛ̃] for instance. It means “mosquito”. It also means “swamp”. But also “skinny”. Which one is the correct meaning if you say somebody that a Marengwen is dangerous?
To finish this note a quick word on the picture that introduces it. It would be quite surprising for you, if you would travel through Haiti, to see how much JEN is known after less than 3 years in the country. Everywhere on walls you can see inscriptions such as Jèn Kore Jèn [ʒɛn][ko-ʁe][ʒɛn] or Jèn an Aktyon [ʒɛn][ɑ̃][ak-sjɔ̃].
Nothing linked with us unfortunately: “Jèn” means only “young”. So the message above only means “Young support the Young”. The last year elected president, Michel Martelly (aka Sweet Micky in his professional life of singer) was the youngest in the election run, and this message supposed to support him.
Not too much disappointed?
October 18, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
On Monday, September 17th, 2012, for the first time in 2 years and half of project in Haiti, the 3 offices of JEN (Port-au-Prince, Leogane and Grand-Goave) gathered together. The meeting was held in Grand Goave compound. Not only because it is from far the nicer office we have in the country, but also because it is the place where works the bigger team.
[View from Grand Goave office]
Only a common objective: to ensure everybody, from the guards to the masons, from the hygiene promoters to the drivers, from the administrative assistant to the management team, feels that JEN in Haiti is one team.
The first ones arrived around noon. According to their activities, everybody join the gathering at the time it suited them. One request only: everybody comes with something, either cooked, or to drink. The best being something cooked personally to share with others.
We did talk about the anniversary of the first JEN team’s arrival in the country: Cyril and Olivier arrived exactly 32 months ago on the island;
We did talk about the birthday of Berlande, the most senior Haitian staff in JEN Haiti who got 29 on the 18th;
We did talk about the preparation day in Leogane, where the team gathered on Sunday to cook a very special meal for the others;
[The Leogane team’s meal under preparation]
We did hear many jokes and teasing all over the day, the funny team being led by the now famous “Ekip Kouyon”
We did thank the dedication of the staffs, from the oldest one Berlande, to the latest recruited Zephyr, to ensure the good work of JEN in Haiti for the support of the most affected Haitians;
We did laugh during the self-presentation of each member of the team to the others;
We did talk about the missing people: all international and national staff who left JEN for new challenges over these 2 years and half, or the guards of Port au Prince who had to stay there to keep the house safe;
[“Ekip Kouyon” without its leader]
We did listen about the poetry that has been written and declaimed by Fifi, a program assistant working for JEN since April 2010;
We did observe Marie-Louise, the Grand Goave office assistant, taking the lead to move on everybody in the same direction during the preparation.
[Food preparation during D day]
But if we have to remind only one thing from this special gathering it’s the work conducted altogether to ensure a full success of the day, the solidarity between all these people who did not knew each other so much the day before.
[JEN Haiti greeting JEN worldwide]
Here was one single JEN team on Monday!
September 27, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Keep speaking the truth.
[An idea about the vision of some NGOs in Haiti]
Nowadays, both social media and advocacy organizations have changed a concept, transparency, into a norm. This evolution should positively affect the humanitarian world. Indeed, transparency is one of the humanitarian principles since ever. It avoids phantasmagorias. It protects us and is the best enemy of corruption. It allows better evaluation, monitoring and analysis, which are keys of success and improvements in our programs. It allows also better accountability towards beneficiaries, but also towards donors.
In one of the poorest country worldwide, Haiti, many people have access to mobile phones and to internet. Anyone can then spread easily bad information on organizations, on people, on projects. No matter if these information are true or not. Yet, the only efficient counter-measure that exists is transparency, especially for small organizations that does not have the weight to engage in counter-information. If an organization is truly transparent, anyone could easily cross-check information to see if it’s true or not.
The reality is that humanitarian program does not work perfectly as it has been forecast. Never. It has been written one day, sometimes only after a quick and basic evaluation of the problems and the possible solutions. It has been submitted days or weeks later, often approved after weeks or months of biding. Between the first idea and the start of a project it is not rare to have months, except hopefully during emergency phases. In any place, worldwide, during these months the context, the problems, the realities change. In addition, once the project started you have to face new problems, to correct mistakes (errare humanum est) and sometimes to overpass your own incompetency, or those of your staff, the authorities or some subcontractors. This is actually one of the things that is common to every genuine humanitarian worker: the capacity to find solutions to any kind of problem. Even to those that do not exist officially.
Actually a humanitarian program is similar to the life. The more you overpass mistakes and problems, the more you will grow up and become a respected, competent and strong person; the more you develop empathy, the more you will understand others and be able to live within a society.
In Haiti problems are legions. We would not be here if it would not be the case. JEN operations in Haiti are not perfect, while relatively coherent, and above all still useful for the population.
Our job is to understand these above-mentioned problems and to develop solutions. Our job is also to live with Haitians, to have empathy with those we meet, to understand them, their education and their culture, which enables a better adaptation of our programs to their needs. Furthermore, our job is to confront our difficulties and our mistakes to overpass them to better support the country and its inhabitants.
All the competencies present in the team are tools for such a success. And transparency is our best ally.
(Haiti Head of office Cedlic Turlan)
September 13, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Strengthening our acceptance strategy, a daily effort
Security management is first of all a lot of common sense. In addition, humanitarian security needs to be seen as a way to enable a better access to communities, as well as protection to these communities to access the aid system. Each JEN office must adapt a local security protocol which reflects JEN’s Organizational mission, its own specific country mission and includes each of the three elements of the security triangle: acceptance, protection, and deterrence. An effective local security protocol must balance all three elements.
In a country like Haiti, where main security threats are to be at the wrong place at the wrong moment, or to become a target for criminals, a strong acceptance strategy with supportive protection and deterrence elements is ideal. Acceptance is never granted and has to be built on daily basis, through the programmes of course, but also through all the networking and the links that are built with the communities where we work and whom we live amongst.
In Grand Goave we live in the countryside, in a nice house above the beach. It’s relatively easy to build strong relationships with the entire neighborhood. Especially that we have implemented projects there over the last 2.5 years and are supported by our guardians who are all from the close area. Acceptance is then the major part of our security there, under the condition to be strengthened every day.
In Leogane, a larger city, our past and current programmes help. Nevertheless new relations built with the neighborhood are strongly needed to ensure other residents consider us as part of them, and so offer the same protection than for all inhabitants. It had been quite well developed by the team, talking with residents, going to the front shop, walking the streets, sometimes sharing some songs of pleasure… This was fortunate: due to the work we are supporting in the streets of Leogane, the surrounding wall collapsed, as it happened for many residents. But this is not a real problem finally. On one hand it showed that we do not have a specific situation towards the construction work: we are like all residents. On the other hand, everybody knows the team; nobody would have the idea to come in without being invited. Of course our guards remain there, as protection and deterrence to support this acceptance strategy, but everything’s fine so far.
Leogane’s JEN Compound’s broken surrounding wall
In Port au prince, where we just moved in a new area, the acceptance challenge is more important and needs to be tackled with energy: we cannot count on our programs, as we never developed any in the capital. That’s why efforts are done to meet neighbors, to be seen in the street, to be known.
Few hours after we arrived, most of the area already knew that foreigners now lived here, would have they seen us or not. Therefore it would have been a huge mistake, reinforcing eventual rumors or phantasmagorias, to live enclosed within our walls. That’s why, with the support of our guards, we have decided to open the doors during the day, and so to live in true relation with our neighborhood. This is like this Haitians live, so we. Till now it works, and it looks like people understands that, finally, we are not so different and without anything to hide.
The more they will know us, the more we’ll be protected.
Port au Prince’s JEN compound entrance
September 6, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Quick snapshot of a come back
Only in Haiti, this board seen in Grand Goave says: “Cautious: we ask people to not “shit” aside the sea please”
I have crossed much tenser highway to hell than Haiti on earth. But this one remains peculiar and somehow quite stable… in its inimitableness. Actually I do not know any other country where I could face, the same day, so many odd or funny stories to count. Perhaps is it one of the reasons I came back, while knowing that what is funny today will certainly become much more stressing in few months’ time, when I’ll be pessimistically desperate about any possibility of change in Haiti, as anybody does. Perhaps one of the chances of Haiti resides finally in its capacity of attraction of new people, over-motivated to help it, before they become cynical.
Nonetheless I could really not think about any other country in the world where, in less than 2 hours, I would have to manage our dog that caught a new house’s owner’s guinea fowl and the said owner whose the story makes laugh a lot fortunately; 2 slashes wheels on the same car at few minutes interval; a disappearing Internet to fix, the provider’s hot line being almost unable to propose another solution than plugging the modem ; the fridge being connected on a kitchen (that does not have water)’s plug that does not work half of the day, when there is no city electricity, because “it’s not needed to have it working full day, it’s more important to have the TV”; and, finally, the safe’s key being handed-over by mistake to the former landlord instead of his house’s keys.
To conclude, another – already cynical - snapshot of what Haiti is, through the Olympic Games that are currently on-going while not really followed-up in here understandably: only 5 Haitian athletes participate to the Games. Four of them born, raised and still live and train in the USA.
August 16, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Connection to Haitian electricity network②
Knowing all these things for a while I had to truly experience it while connecting JEN Leogane office to the network.
As feared it took more than a month to get a technician on site to evaluate the length of the cable needed. Still we can consider ourselves lucky as being located in the heart of Leogane centre, right next to existing network!
EDH not having any cable in stock these days it is the owner of the house that had to buy the very expensive electric cable: 2.5USD/foot so 450USD in total for our office.
Added to the 250USD fee for subscription it is a total of 700USD to get connected to a network that provides electricity irregularly anyway…
Considering that this amount of money does represents up to 6 months of salaries for the rare lucky Haitians having a job it will for sure take a lot of time to change mentalities and make Haitians believe an understand that the best way to get a reliable network eventually is to start by stopping illegal connections.
Did I hear talking about vicious circle?
August 2, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Connection to Haitian electricity network①
Before actually trying to connect a house to the Haitian public electricity network it is just impossible to understand how difficult, long and expensive it can be.
Like many other developing country Haiti suffers from a terrible lack of infrastructures. Since the fall of Dictator Jean Claude DUVALIER, alias BB Doc, in 1986 not less than 18 presidents have been in charge of the country in only 26 years!
Actually it is only 13 different presidents that swapped at the head of the government, sometimes for not longer than a week!
This extreme political instability and the country being extremely mountainous and exposed to frequent hurricanes, development of the different public network like electricity or water couldn’t really improve for a rather long time.
In the other hand need for electricity kept increasing the last 3 decades as Haitian population kept growing very fast (6.5 million of inhabitants in 1986, estimated around 10 today) and use of phone, TV, radio or fans for example became more and more generalized.
For all these reasons and probably others less obvious EDH (Electricity of Haiti) never really managed to follow the needs of electricity of the population.
The situation today is actually quite dramatic as people don’t trust the company to be able to provide a decent service and, tired of waiting for months for some technician; tend to connect directly and illegally on the poles!
With so much electricity “stolen”, EDH is for course not able to develop the network and can’t even provide electricity 24/7 in the area where the network is well functioning.
In addition EDH can’t really hire more employees, making maintenance and follow up of illegal connection impossible!
(To be continued)
July 19, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Counting money in Haiti
It is unique how they count money in Haiti. The official currency is Haitian Gourde, however there is Haitian Dollar as the unofficial and imaginary currency.
Haitian Dollar is neither American Dollar nor bills and coins of Haitian dollar would exit.
1Haitian Dollar is worth 5 Haitian Gourdes. Usually the only currency on the market is Haitian Gourde though (photo), prices are often called in Haitian Dollar. For example, Coke costs 25 Gourdes then you hear "It's 5 Haitian Dollars".
In the beginning, it is thought there was a trace of previous currency: Haitian Dollar because just as seen in other countries in the past, inflation have decreased the value of money sharply, then later new currency was introduced.
But Haitian Dollar has never existed. However it seems that fixed exchange rate in 1980's, 1 U.S. Dollar= 5 Haitian Gourdes, still remains today. Even though it still does, I wonder how it would be possible for people to use it over 20years.
When I brought this to Haitians, they said they don't have to use more zeroes with Haitian Dollar. 1000 Gourdes are big numbers, but when it comes to Haitian Dollar, it is easy to count because it can be done with 200.
Still they have to pay in Haitian Gourde so they need to do division or multiplication in the end which seems more complicated after all. Then their "Haitian" logic comes in, it is more complicated for them to count with big numbers.
July 5, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Community General Assembly
JEN is now working on two issues in Leogane. One is water management committee who is in charge of operation and maintainance of water supply facilities, and other one is a charging system that keeps operation and maintenance by committee.
Water management committies had many trainings with JEN staff since February 2012. And from this June they are going to hold a community general assembly. In this assembly, members of water management committee have to present their water management structures, operations and role, in order to obtain consent from the community members.
This is the program of the community general assembly.
(1) Beginning prayer
(2) Welcome from the committee members and introduction of the general assembly
(3) Introduction of committee members and hygiene promotion volunteer members
(4) History of water management committee
(5) Rules and terms of water management committee
(6) Budget of water management committee (and usage fee to be set up)
(7) Explanation about the membership of water supply facility management system
(8) Q & A
(9) Appreciation from the committee
(10) Ending prayer
In Haiti these community gathering always starts late over one hour. People late are apparently not hurrying or do not care about it at all and comes to the meeting place in easy mood (somehow dressed up pretty good). People who came on time also seems to be not irritated about delay instead chatting with other people while they were waiting in the middle of hot day.
(1)&(10)Beginning and Ending Players.
Many are combined with Voodoos, but 80 to 90 percent of people in Haiti are recognized as Christians. That is why we mostly have prayers on the beginning and end of the assembly. All people stand up and sing the player that they all know by heart.
(2) to (7) Explanation
Many people in Haiti are very good at speaking in front of people, or we can say they don't hesitate to speak, in comparison to the Japanese. They also likes to make people laugh with their talks and try to involve people during speaking.
(8)Q & A
Haitian people relatively do not hesitate to ask question or express their opinion.
Because management structure is one of the main agenda in General Assembly, We always hear questions “What if the committee members cheated the usage fee”. We think this as a reasonable question because still many are acting for their own interest that even teachers take money from their pupils (still most cases only when it is necessary) in this society.
Nonetheless, we saw many people applying for the membership of water management system and paying usage fee to the committee. This fact tells us that the community has strong demand of water, the community begin to understand the importance and necessity of management system, and moreover the community is gradually growing the sence of trust to the water management committee.
June 21, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Security training at 12 in the pink house!
Since March 2012, JEN has been working with Yachiyo Engineering/JICA in the implementation of “the Project for Rehabilitation of Urban Roads in Leogane- Labour Intensive Work”. This is the second project being implemented by JEN at the moment in Leogane. Since May 12th, all employees working on JICA’s project of road rehabilitation in Leogane centre heard their employers yell out, "Security training at 12 in the pink house!" multiple times. JEN has been organizing a security training every day around noon in its office, a pretty pink house easily located in the heart of the town and construction site.
The Pink house
Currently, two local construction companies are working simultaneously on 13 different sites. Workers are dispatched to different specialized teams of masons, fitter and carpenters. Security trainings have been organized into small groups of 15 people, trying every day to collect people from different teams in order to not slow down any activity on site as much as possible.
The training itself is based on 10 short mute animated movies showing scenes of main security rules of the construction site which is then guessed by the viewers. Distributed by the Haitian ministry of construction and transport, the video material is ideal because participants have to discuss what they thought about the short animation and the message behind it.
In addition, pictures taken on site are shown after the educational, but still theoretical, videos. Seeing themselves enlarged on the wall of the office is always a funny experience for the participants as they can clearly see and/or discover if they are working in a dangerous environment or not. If the debates are quite loud during the projection of the movies it is even louder during the display of the pictures, making the training successful.
Workers from EATT and hard labour workers from Leogane attending security training at JEN office.
Before leaving, each employee gets a sticker on his helmets proving he did follow the training. The employees also sign an attendance list on which it says he/she accepts not being allowed on site without any safety equipment. In case of noncompliance, the employee loses their salary for the day.
Sticker on the helmet proving the employee did follow security training.
While the result of the training on site is visible and significant when it comes to wearing helmets and vests or securing the different excavation points, the working environment still remains extremely difficult. The shallow water in Leogane is extremely abundant and very close to ground level, therefore absolutely all excavation points end up becoming real swimming pools within hours, forcing the companies to pump all the water out before being able to continue. Once emptied, the huge holes have to be checked carefully because the risk of collapse is high in the wet environment. Some of the Haitian engineers are even calling it “liquid soil”!
Fortunately, most of the big underground sanitation canals would soon be finished and the next excavation points on small canals wouldn't present any risk of collapse next steps because the ground isn't too sensitive.
Nevertheless, risks of accident will never disappear on any construction site. JEN will keep organizing periodic security training in order to secure the protection of the workers and the residents of the area as much as possible.
June 7, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Mango season, Rainy season and Cholera season
Before the actual rainy season starts, it has started raining since the end of March in Haiti.
From time to time, the raining turned in to squall especially from evening to night.
The rain affects people's daily lives that roads would be blocked, bridges would fall down and also Cholera infection started increasing.
Once the season for Mangoes came, the local Haitian staffs started telling us: “When the mango season and the rainy season come, Cholera season will come along with them!"
When mangoes are in season, you can see them sold everywhere.
According to the Haitian staffs, the more delicious mangoes appear on the market, the more people eat them without washing them.
It seems that could trigger infectious diseases including cholera.
*In Haiti, people just take a bite of mangoes with skin on them.
In the middle of April, Haiti government and the international organization launched anti-cholera vaccination campaign to avoid cholera epidemic.
Under the circumstances, JEN is currently conducting hygiene promotion training by the Haitian staffs in 7 communities.
May 24, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Haiti! Thank you for the great two years!
It's been two years since I moved here at the end of April 2010. Here comes the time to say goodbye to Haitia country, I have become to love.
At the beginning of my assignment at Haiti,time just flew by,but now I am able to finish my assignment thanks to the people I met here.
Also I would like to thank everyone from many groups and organizations for their support.
I understand that it is said that the reconstruction isn't going as fast as expected. For now, I would like to share what I saw in this country in the past two years.
Executive Office of the President
People might think that destroyed buildings are has left untouched, in fact the debris has been removed already! Not only this building but you can see clear changes in the town as well.
Flooding due to the heavy rain
Flooding still occurs whenever it rains. However, in some areas, street gutters have been newly installed, the volume of garbage has been reduced which used to cause flooding.
The water control committee in the community which manages the well charges residents about fifty yen for maintenance including the cost of chlorine. This lady is holding a stamp to prove she has paid.
The stamps prove that she paid the water control committee her well charge.
The well can get broken and needs chlorine to make it potable in some areas.
Building a well is only a temporary solution. To make it work sustainably and also to support their self-reliance, it is important that the community manage and keep the system running by itself.
These stamps show you what they have accomplished.
Because the residents used to use the river water for free, initially it was difficult for them to pay the charge. So this change shows you that they could eventually figure out why they need to pay for water and why need hygienic water is important.
The affected people of Haiti are far from living without any worry.But transformation is taking place gradually.
I am looking forward to seeing how this country transforms in a few years when I comes back Haiti!
Head of office for Haiti office
May 10, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Jimmie Pierre, our new colleague in Haiti
I am Jimmie Pierre, a new general affairs & finance assistant. I was born and grown up in Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti. I am 39 years old and also a father of twin daughters.
I am a member of organization named CUSOPHAJ which introduces and promotes Japanese culture to here in Haiti. In this organization I am learning things around Japan and teaching Japanese language as a volunteer teacher for beginner course as well.
I have worked 13 years as a teacher, but wanted to have experience in different field. That is why I started my new carrier in JEN two weeks ago. I have many good colleagues here and JEN is one of the NGO who carries out visible and definitive support in Haiti.
There are still aftermaths of the earthquake here． But I believe that we Haitians could meet JEN in such circumstance will bring good result to our future.
April 19, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Back in Haiti!
It has been 10 days since I came back into Haiti with JEN.
10 great days during which I saw so many improvement and changing in the streets of Port au Prince or on the road to our field office in Grand Goave, driving through Martissant, Carrefour, Mariani, Gressier or Leogane.
All these places where I drove through so many times from March 2010 and July 2011! Everywhere I see changing! Most of the debris has completely disappeared, making the road usable on its full width! And portions of the national road number 2 severely affected by the earthquake have been renovated, improving the traffic conditions impressively!
It didn’t fix fully the problem of traffic jams in Port au Prince though! Even though the capital did change for the better quite a lot in my eyes! With many more public lights installed, commuting overcrowded bus stop better located and organized and significant improvement of the garbage collection system the whole atmosphere of the city is changed! Seeing hundreds of children in their school uniform waiting on secure spaces for buses that are free has also been fantastic!
Discovering at once all this improvement made me thinking that had been out of the country 9 months! 9 months I spent in Europe where the media were only mentioning once in a while Haiti, always when hurricanes, political tensions or general instability… true enough but I have some memories going all the way back from March 2010 and things have definitely changed and are changing still!
If this visual very first contact back into Haiti was excellent, the better had to come with meeting again with former and new colleagues, speaking créole and meeting constantly with known and friendly faces, from the guard I hardly knew at Port au Prince Office to the local authorities in Leogane!
It was great to meet again with some colleagues that I did recruit 2 years ago when emergency time made us walk all day long in the mountain, assessing the damages of the earthquake house by house with terrified population living in spontaneous camps!
Remembering this challenging and physically exhausting period and comparing with today there is no comparison! As for the staff updating me on what happened during my absence there is no comparison either! Their self confidence and general overview of the situation have improved so much!
I’m definitely truly happy to be back in Haiti! After this long break of 9 months it is fully refreshed and inspired by my 16 previous months spent here that I start on a new project for JEN in Leogane.
This new project consider in supporting YEC in its renovation activities of the streets of Leogane centre, my task and responsibility is to ensure a good organization of the hard labor crew from Leogane employed by the specialized Haitians building companies operating under YEC authority.
More coordination and reporting than pure field activities like in the previous WASH program I was involved previously but for sure still a real challenge as it is a completely different part of “cultural differences” I do have to learn!
April 5, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Election of the water control committee in Laberger
In early February, a new project called “Improvement project of water hygiene environment through the water control committee in Leogane district”has been kicked off.
In this project, we will work on improving water and hygiene environment in seven communities across Leogane district located to the West of the capital Port-au-Prince.
In Haiti, we have seen many wells being left broken a few years after being dug due to lack of proper engineering or as a result of the long-term international support.
JEN will be responsible for establishing a system to maintain a well in each community.
At Laberger, which is one of the seven communities, they used to use water from the river as their drinking water. We will dig a well and establish a system which will be controlled and run by the local residents. That way, the hygiene environment can be maintained sustainably.
Here, we would like to introduce you a "Haitian"style election for the water control committee which we just had the other day.
First of all, according to the pre-meeting with JEN staff, this man who is the leader figure in the local community explained about JEN's project, the water control committee and each candidate running for the committee.
As we listened to this piglet singing...
The election for the water control committee was carried out with voting by show of hands.
Mommy threw her vote as she fed her baby.
However, it got difficult to count raised hands. So they moved on to the style of true or false game just like "If you vote for person A come this way and for person B go that way. " Then everybody followed the instruction.
After a few rounds of moving around, members for the water control committee have been elected. We have to say it was a "Haitian"style election that everyone was laughing and having fun.
(This project is supported by your generous support and Japan Platform. )
March 22, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Introducing a new staff in Haiti
Hello everyone, I am Hashimoto. I have been transferred to the office in Haiti will be in charge of accounting and general affairs.
I used to be in charge of projects in Sri Lanka and Iraq at the head office in Tokyo.
This is my first time to visit Haiti. My first impression of Haitian people is they are pure and very warmhearted.
Although I have been battling against mosquitoes since the day one, it won't hold me back doing my best for this project.
I will be committed to reconstruction of this country that suffering from the earthquake just like Japan.
March 8, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
"...Everybody knows how it is. Things are always like this. BLOKIS makes you miss an important appointment that you have to lie on the phone. "Tap Tap(public bus in Haiti)" is always packed that makes me feel irritated then I will be so close to explode.
On the phone, lying "I'm almost there". Sure you are not. Knowing it's faster if you get on foot but still you have a long way to go..."
This is some rilycs from the smash hit song in Haiti by this young pop singer called Wanito. "Blokis" means "Traffic Jam"
Traffic Jam in Haiti is horrible, especially in the Metropolitan area.
It often affects JEN's operation.
Speaking of the song, it's not simply about the cars being "stuck" in the traffic but tells you how peole being "stuck" and suffer in their everyday lives.
"...BLOKIS that's how it is always. Whole Haiti is in BLOKIS..."
February 23, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
In Labriette, many residents didn’t use a communal laundry place which Jen has built, but they used the river nearby for washing. The reason is that, in order to use a lot of water for the washing, they needed to pump over and over again and it was very tough work for them.
So, I put a drum can to fill it with water.
Then, the communal laundry place is fully packed with mothers although it was empty before.
In addition, the mothers are crowded out of the place and said "make the place much wider ! "
A little idea to set up a drum can has led to the gathering place for the residents.
The place is now a base to share information as well as to talk each other, such as an information session about the use of chlorine by a water management committee.
February 9, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Days in Toutif
We would like to share the usage of water supply and washing facility which Jen has built in Toutif.
At 11 am. The sun is blazing on skin.
At the washing facility, four or five women wash clothes of their families singing and chatting about for 2 hours.
They used to do laundry under strong direct sunlight before, but the roof at the washing facility made it so much easier for them.
A woman, wearing a yellow shirt and shining brightly under the blue sky, has to go to draw water with 15 minutes’ walk, at least three times every day.
It takes about three minutes to fill a bucket, and one bucket is about 20 kilograms approximately.
She handles it very well as if it were common sense; however, the work is very tough.
Before the water supply facility was built by JEN, the nearest water source was a river which 700 meters away, and it took more than 30 minutes by walk.
An accumulation of small improvements is gradually changing people's lifestyle.
January 26, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Safe water - Power of knowledge
In Haiti, epidemic disease like cholera has spread due to lack of proper knowledge and habit of water sanitation.
Staffs from JEN who have been trained to chlorinate water properly held workshop for the residents. They can learn the proper knowlege of hygiene and how chroline plays its role in water sanitation.
Each community that JEN has been working with selected 3 people to get training to make liquid chroline.(2people from Water Control Comittee which controls the water-supplying facilities and 1 person from JEN's hygiene promotion project which promotes knowledge of hygiene.)
Here are the contents of the training;
1. The team leader from JEN explained why they need chroline for water sanitation.
2. Staffs from JEN enthusiastically explained how to make liquid chroline followed by Q&A with the class.
At the end of the workshop, each one of them tried to make the water chroline by themselves with masks and goggles which provided by JEN.
The staff from JEN supported them during the procedure.
Guess she was feeling like she was their mom.
After the workshop, staffs from JEN made sure, over and over, that people from Water Control Comittee and the hygiene promotion project understood enough to educate their communities.
We expect this process will encourage them to transform their action as well as hygiene education in their communities.
January 12, 2012 in Haiti | Permalink
Safe water for everyone
JEN has been installing Chroline dispensers supportted from your generous donations and Japan Platform.
Installing the dispenser right by the well makes it possible to chlorinate the water at the source. Also it explains its importance of the chlorinating the water then encourage the procedure.
In the early December, staffs from JEN took training to make liquid chroline with HTH powder.
Calcurate the quantity of the powder to the certain quantity of water. You have to be careful with the density of the chroline liquid. If it doesn't contain enough density of chroline, the water can't be disinfected while it can affect the taste of water and health if too much density.
Ms. Elise from IPA ( Innovations for Poverty Action) does wear the same cloth everytime she gives training. Because the chroline liquid would splash over her cloth then it gets breached.
In Haiti, 5 gallon (about 19liters) buckets are usually used. You can get enough amount of the chroline liquid for the water in the bucket by turning the dispencer lever for once.
"Then what are we gonna do if we have 1 gallon bucket?"
"How long will the disinfected water last for drinking?"
They assume problems which could happen after installing the dispensers as many as possible. So that they can make sure that the project works in any circumstances.
From now on, staffs of JEN will give training to Water Control comittee, well administrator and volunteers on the safe water supply. At the same time, JEN will start the education project to help the community understand the health benefits of disinfecting water.
JEN aims to improve the healthy lives by learning about the safe water project.
December 22, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Figuring out what "self-reliance" is
I have been assigned to this project in Haiti as a program officer. Before I came here, I comitted myself to the disaster relief effort and the reconstruction project in Ishinomaki, Miyagi pref after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
In Tohoku(Northeastern Japan), the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the region on March 11th in 2011. A year before, the natural disaster had also struck here in Haiti.
Haiti is known for the honarable history of the first black-led republic in the world. However, they have been struggling with poverty and civil wars even before the disaster hit the nation.
Right after I got here, I had to face the fact that Haiti heavily depends on the international aid. That made me try to figure out what "self-reliance" means.
We, JEN have been supporting them to found Water Control Committee by the residents as well as costructing the water supply facility and hygiene education.
The Water Control Committee should be run by the residents for the their own residents. The committee is to maintain the well to make sure it works properly everyday.
Also they collect maintenance fund from the residents monthly in case of a breakdown of the well.
What they are going to do with the committee might sound easy, but it is difficult for them. The reason is they are used to be supported by others that they need to learn how to work on their own, one by one from the scratch.
December 8, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Persistence pays of, and vice versaq
By the end of last October, one project has been completed.
We would like to thank Japan Platform and all supporters.
This project required great effort with establishing well control committee and training for the communities.
They will start charging for using well to operate the committee.
The administrator will get paid while other members of the committee won't.
Even though it is called salary, it's about 250gould(6.25dollars).
In Haiti, unemployment rate is about 70%. But still finding a candidate for the administrator job was quite difficult.
However, finally the water committee has been established.
The new project which has been started since November, monitoring and supporting the activities of the well control committee is one of the most important activities.
Because even though we know the meaning of " Persistence pays off", we also know how difficult it is to keep it working.
A week or two weeks later since the delivery ceremony with music and dance, local staffs from JEN visited the wells without notifying them in advance.
What they found was that 7 out of 10 project location didn't have those administrators hired earlier. They were gone!
We were disappointed with it but we could see it happen somehow.
Probably everybody might have been through stuff like this. Ending up being "Mikkabozu" a Japanese word to describe someone who can stick to nothing.
The committee said they couldn't keep themselves motivated due to huge workloads which they found out after they were assigned to the jobs.
For now, they are trying to solve the issues by suggesting ideas like limiting open hours of wells or share the workloads with members from the committee.
JEN will support them until they can stand on their feet.The well control committee has just been born!
November 24, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
To create a more peaceful world
It's been a month since I was assigned to the project in Haiti.
A while ago, a monitoring team from Japan PlatForm(JPF) visited us.
Our projects has been supported through subsidies from JPF.
Here in Haiti, the current project which we dig wells, establish a well control committee and rebuild communities is one of them.
We, JEN as an organization that aim to create a more peaceful world, work together with JPF and contributing experts.
Photo:The current project in Haiti. Well digging and Establishing a well control committee.
(General Affairs&Account, Haiti office Taeko Kosaka)
November 10, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
A ceremony to celebrate the completion of a well.
The last Sunday became an important day for Pierre Lewis.
It's all because the members of the well administration and management committee and JEN's staffs have worked hard for over six months that digging a new well completed and its ceremony was held. Those members who learned how to administrate the well now try to start a new and ever unattempted mechanism that collects money as dues so that people in village can use water for the period ahead.
As people have been using water from a river so far, they didn't have a custom to pay for water. That's why the mechanism is new to them. Collected dues are deposited in a local bank and used for administrating and maintaining the well. This allows the people in the village unable to continue to access safe water by themselves without depending on any support from outside.
The local people prepared the ceremony: their traditional music was played and children's dance was also exhibited on stage. As the entire village was looking forward to this ceremony, many people participated in it. The dance continued before sunset and the ceremony was brimming with smile.
October 27, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Well management Committee to start functioning! 5W1H??
JEN has been struggled to put a well administration and management system on track with the committee members. They are chosen by voting and serve without pay. Some of them declined to take part on the committee, because they realized how much works they have to handle when they actually get down to work.
Although those who remained in the committee are busy at their work, they managed to spare time for meeting with JENS's local staffs twice a week and make rules about how people share the well. JEN alone can lay down rules easily but the most important thing is to make them fit reality through discussing among the members.
For that reason, the rules were adopted one by one, after all members agreed why a rule was necessary.
Now that it was the time to unveil the rules, people were invited to the meeting of the committee. The formal introduction of the committee came first followed by explaining the rules. The people present receive explanation about how to collect dues, who is to hold them, how they are used and how information is shared. As a rehearsal beforehand was critical for giving a plain presentation, we had its simulation with JEN's staff. Our effort paid off and so the registration of well users has already begun. That was a meaningful progress in such area where people hadn't had a custom to pay for water.
October 13, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Introducing a new staff in Haiti
My name is Kosaka. I newly assumed as an accounting and general affairs staff at Haiti office.
I’ve worked as same post for Tohoku Project at the Tokyo headquarters before I arrived here.
On the 21 September 2011, my fright has been cancelled for the typhoon and I hastily shifted my fright for the next day and changed planes at Chicago and New York. Then I arrived safely in Haiti on 23 September, 2011.
Everything is new and fresh to me because it is my first visit Haiti.
I’m very excited for the pink and yellow flowers, colorful fishes swimming in the clear sea, and so on.
Haiti is a beautiful country but now Haitian people are living under harsh conditions. I can’t stop hoping to come the day as soon as possible Haitian people would gain the untroubled living conditions, here in beautiful country.
I’ll focus on doing my own best work to be contributory to realization that. It has been my dream to engage this work.
I’ve been hoped to concern myself in humanitarian work since I’ve herd about my grandfather’s actual experience of during and after the world war Ⅱ. I moved to Ireland by myself after graduated junior high school, and I learned English and Northern Ireland’s problems. I visited to former Yugoslavian countries for example Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia while I was a university student. I engaged in many activities in those countries.
I continued to chase my dream after graduation from university. I applied to the work of overseas division during part-time work with JEN and get the post.
I’m very happy because I supported by many people to realize my ambition of a life. I’d like to return the courtesy for Haitian people little by little.
September 29, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
They look like different people!!
Cyril, our manager of overseas division has visited Haiti in about half a year, on 25th August 2011.
For this half a year, JEN has especially made a strong effort is capacity building for the local people and local staff.
It is not easy in Haiti where the education hasn’t reach enough for each people. But JEN’s resident officer, Dmitri has believed their potential and communicated them with patience. JEN’s staff has made effort to have their own self initiative and help them to feel a lot more confident their power.
In the beginning, they had seed direction from JEN’s resident staff everything and they hadn’t thought themselves and made a proposal what they should do.
But, by slow degree, JEN has increased their ownership and now the local staffs have taken chief responsibility for capacity building of the local people and discuss each other and think themselves what should they do sometimes wondering what doesn’t work fine.
Local staffs will stay Haiti after JEN has gone in future and they will contribute the recovery and growth of Haiti. I’m very excited that they will make some impacts for the Haitian people more and more.
September 15, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
One and half year since godou-godou*
JEN Staff(J): Hello, could you introduce yourself?
B:Hello, My name is Virgille Borlande. I was born in 28th of September in 1983. I live in Petion Ville.
J: Where were you when the earthquake hit? and what did you do after it happened?
B:When it happened, I was at home with my 2 sisters. They were on the first floor and I was on the 2nd.
I was jumping around from a roof to other roof.
One sister left the house immediately. But another finally came out right before the house collapsed by the aftershocks.
When the house collapsed, luckily all 3 of us were 30-40 minutes away that saved our lives.
None of us have never experienced this big earthquake, but I remember hearing odd sound.
J:What do you remember most during the earthquake was happening?
B:Got out of the house, I was jomping from the house to another, I saw the scene in front of me was also jumping.
J:What do you remember about your neighborhood right after the earthquake?
B:People were screaming and trying to figure out their loved ones safety.
Even before the aftershocks hit, houses were collapsing, but the number increased after the aftershocks.
I also saw people crying as calling the names of their loved ones who didn't survive.
The first thing I felt was fear. I couldn't know what was happening.
Then I realized that there were people buried under the debris and so many victims.
I felt the night came early while people were walking around to find survivors.
I was in a big shock that I didn't know what to do.
The only thing I was thinking was if my sisters evacuated the house safe.
So I was asking around if they know whereabouts of them.
I felt a big relieve when I met them. Then I started calling my relatives.
J: Was the phone line still working?
B:Yes, it started working 1 hour after the earthquake.
J:Did any of your friends get affected by this earthquake?
B:Yes, I used to work as a mechanic in Jakmel. My cousin who was the manager in the office and his 17 years old son were killed.
J:Where did you spend the night right after the earthquake?
B:Spent a night with many people at the soccer stadium.
It's not like everyone was alone there, but also we didn't form groups either.
People come and go all night. Aftershocks was still going on, everytime it happens, people got panicked. There are people crying or call for God.
J:Did you see any robbery?
B:While the earthquake still kept happning, I couldn't care if its happening or what. I was in a fear wondering why the earthquake was happening
But, after a few days later, I noticed some of our belongings were missing. Probably that was when robberry started happening.
J:Did you actually saw any robberies?
B:No, I didn't get to see them since I was at the soccer stadium. But sure some stuffs were missing from my house.
J:What do you think Haiti will be like in the future?
B:Well, things goes very slow and bit by bit.
They need to give us some relives through any temporary event since we are still in fear.
I still feel the fear everytime I hear the noise which reminds me of the massive earthquake.
When it comes to reconstruction of this country, it only works through the international organizations at the moment. I assume reconstruction is to take time.
*godou-godou >> the onomatopoeic Haitian word for earthquake
September 1, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
One and half year since godou-godou*
JEN Staff(J): Hello, could you introduce yourself?
Marie-Louise(M):Hello, My name is Derazin Marie Luis from Grand Goave. I'm 35 years old, wife and a mother of 4.
J:Where were you when the earthquake hit? What did you do after it happened.
M:When the earthquake hit, I was with 2 of my kids and 3 friends at home.
I was with 2 of my friends in the kitchen and I felt the big wobble all of a sudden. We hurried to get out of the house and then tell our kids to get out. But they hid inside of the house.
Somehow we managed to take them outside. Fortunately all of us at my house were safe.
Our house didn't get too much damage that only windows got broken. However, houses in the neighborhood collapsed and we heard people screaming.
Right after the earthquake, we evacuated to the countryside with little possesion. Then we have shared a tent with 65-70 families.
Aftershocks kept going everyday. Sometimes it happens every 2hours.I went back to my house to get some belongings once, but we couldn't stay ther for long. Neighbors vacant their houses for monthes.
After 3 monthes later, I finally decided to go back to my house. But most of the people were scared to go back or had no house anymore.
J:Do you think your friends were effected with the earthquake?
M:My aunt and uncle who lived in Port-au-Prince were killed in the corruption of a building.
Obviously, many people were killed with this earthquake. I heard there were 6 people became victims.
J:How do you think Haiti will be in the future?
M:I have no idea. In Haiti, the leader isn't really reliable. Nothing seems moving.
J:What do you think about the international aid organizations that came to Haiti right after the earthquake?
M:They are doing great.For example, JEN provided water which is important to survive.
Also Terre des Hommes helped children, OIM built houses for people at the camp.Samaritan Purse set up toilet facility.
J:What do you think holds back the recovery in Haiti?
M:Well, we don't have enough education facilities. Especially in Port-au-Prince, many children are living on the street and don't have a chance to go to schools. Also, we need basic hygene education.
*godou-godou >> the onomatopoeic Haitian word for earthquake
August 18, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Develop a concept of community-Part 2
JEN’s staff now has been in the town, Pignon, which is located in the north of Haiti, for the second training presided by HO. HO has worked there since 1997 and there are already a lot of wells which the local community has been maintained themselves.
Staff members asked many questions about the way how to maintain and so on after seeing the practical activity of HO. But the other director of HO, Neal said;
「Afterwards, there would be more than one way to find the technical solution like that. But most important thing is whether the community is built on the three believes.
1; Transparency, 2; Obligation, Duty, 3 ; Accountability.
Please remember that you won’t take a short view and always think about how you should do to pursue for the three believes. 」
For example, there won’t be the transparency if the residents haven’t known the presence of the Water committee.
HO show up to the community and examine the people if they understand what the rule based on the Water committee is working, how much is the monthly water fee, and what is the penalty for them if they break the rule.
HO won’t fix nor install the pomp if people will not pass the exam. They carry into action for the maintenance or installing the pomp after they confirmed whether the committee has been workable or not.
It is really big issue for the people who have almost no income whether they have to pay for water about 50-100 yen or not as a month.
JEN’s project, to develop a concept of community will go on to talk around people about the importance that they can use their well in the long run and the effectiveness of the effort as a community to solve their problem.
August 4, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Develop a concept of community-Part 1-
Because of a sense of community hasn’t sunk into the Haitian people, they rarely ever cooperate to their common interests.
Therefore, many international organizations or NGO group had set up water facilities until now, but it had not been maintained by the citizens themselves. Haitian people have not the system of conservation and maintenance, so once it had broke they had left the situation as it is.
JEN has driven forward the establishment of a committee of water management to self-organize by the local people.
But it is impossible to make the community which has no precedent handle the committee like that.
Then we asked an organization called HO(Haiti Outreach) to make the training for citizen people. HO has a lot of experience of water and health problem in Haiti. Furthermore, National Water and Health Office recommend them.
First of all, it is important that we, JEN’s staff will contact the community with our clear vision.
Roger, one of the director of HO asked JEN’s staff.
Roger; Imagine the situation after five years later about the well and its surrounding which you are doing now. Please clearly imagine.
JEN(Adone);I imagine the committee of water management will function very well.
They will save lots of money and establish their school by its money. There will plant many flowers and set a bench around the well. There will be filled with energy.
JEN(Nadia);I expect that the committee of water management will become a dead issue within a year. They will cease to act, for example because they lost their account ledgers. They can’t collect water fee, pomp will be broken, and National Water and Health Office do nothing for the problem.
Roger; Please raise your hand who expect very positive situation after five years, like Adone?
No one raised their hand.
They all know that it will be very difficult to keep effective acting of the committee of water management without adequate preparation.
But there is much point in imaging about five years after.
Firstly, it clarifies our policy to which direction we want to lead the community.
Of course the direction should be settled by the community, but local people’s motivation will change depend on the vision of staff. Also, it will change the style of contact for the community.
Secondary, we can prepare for the issues that could happen. Everyone had laughed what Nadia said because it was so realistic .It was too real.
Maybe it is likely to be the situation which Nadia said if this goes on.
But of course we don’t want to be like that, everyone think so and keep going to the community, and the training will go on. ( To be continued)
July 28, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Our meeting with the mayor of Leogane
Leogane city where JEN operates is close to the epicenter of Haiti earthquake. 80% of the buildings including the city hall have been partially destroyed.
The earthquake killed thousands of people in just 30seconds, the city was in chaos with many NGOs have been operating their relief efforts.
Staffs of the city hall lost a lot as well as their citizens, with difficult issues, worked so hard to protect their families.
Since the mayor and the team at the city hall were occupied with protecting their own families, they were not able to serve the public at the same time.
It was also a big damage that many of the stored documents and data have been lost by the earthquake.
In the beginning of May, 2010, 50 representatives of 30 international representatives gathered at the liaison and adjustment meeting. Mayor Alexis Santos and the team from the city hall were barely able to figure out the current situation.
It wasn't very successful because there were misunderstandings and different perspectives on the reconstruction plan.
The biggest problem was that NGOs need to go through complicated procedures to sign their contracts with the municipal or the central governments.
JEN set the goal to improve the work result. We thought the people in the immediate needs come first and kept our operation in the farming area.
We have built a great relationship with CASECs which is the smallest public service in Haiti in one year and a half. Then we were honored to have a opportunity to meet Mayor Santos.
Mayor Santos have already been well aware of JEN's operation in Leogane. He offered us his recommendation letters to not only the municipal level but the central government to register JEN.
1 month later, we have completed the signing all the papers for NGO registration in Haiti.
Once it is approved, it makes it easier for JEN to keep our operation in Haiti.
This is our biggest joy that we will be able to support people in the commune through numerous works in the future.
Program officer Romain Briey
July 7, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
To grow the local community
n Haiti, the basic infrastructure such as drinking water, electricity, education and medical treatment, is not provided enough.
The local government encouraged villages to set up the water control committee to revitalize the local community.
In Haiti, international organizations or local organizations have been working to secure the access to the safe water.
But there are not many that lasted long.
According to one international research group, only half of wells that were built long time ago can be in use despite of damage of the earthquake.
Establishing the water control committee is the first step to making it possible for the local residents to maintain the access to drinking water by themselves.
Members of the committee will be elected from the community. The committee will discuss issues with the people in the community and solve them together.
Then, they will establish the system to collect water bill. So that they can sustainably maintain the water facility.
JEN will dedicate ourselves as a solid support in the background to supporting the local residents to get on their feet. Then they can maintain the resource sustainably.
June 23, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Health education with fun
I went to see how it works the health education at Leogan city.Today we will show a short movie about health education for the kids at Petit Mignon kinder garden. We already give some training for the teachers and the children’s knowledge of health might be increased.
In a divided small class room, we can hear the neighbor sounds because while it has roof but no partition of upper of the wall. The walls are only for three ways and there are no walls as an approach. We covered the blue sheet there to easily viewable the movie.
The local JEN’s staff asked the children after they sheeted.
Staff: By what do you wash your hands?
Children: By the soap!
Staff: How do you wash? Could you please show me your way?
Children raise their hands and show the staff how to they wash their hands.
Then the staff asked the children to sing a song of the wash hands.
Everyone loudly sing a song using a gesture and it is Haitian style that being a little faster than previous. Children remember the song very well.
Then the staff announced children that they will show the movie about health now.
And the important point to see the movie is…
Staff: What should you open?
Children: Ears! Eyes! Heads!
Staff : Well, it is a little bit difficult to open your heads…with a bitter laugh.
All had laughed to hear that and the movie has been started.
This movie is about 30 minutes and it composed of the image and the cartoon film. It has the narration in Creole, which is major language in Haiti.
Everyone stare intently the movie with stars in their eyes.
Cholera had started to prevail in Haiti since the last October. Although once it decreased the number of infection reports, but the tendency has been increase along with the starting of hurricane season.
After the children backed their home, they talk to their parents, brothers and sisters about the knowledge what they leant here. We will continue this work cooperating with the supporters, JICA and Yachiyo Engineering for all of the families to have healthy lives in Haiti.
June 9, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
The school’s circumstances in Haiti, 2011
About 80% buildings had collapsed including city hall, churches and schools in Leogan area which had been the worst affected by the earth quake on 12th January, 2010.
More than 90% are private schools in Haiti, and a land ownership issue is one of the biggest problems.
(More than 90% of the country has been reserved by 10% of population at large.)
Right after the earth quae, a lot of big international NGOs have built the makeshift schools at the empty lots of collapsed schools to the children would be able to come back to the school as soon as possible and graduate as scheduled.
In the makeshift school is separated by many wooden wall which out of range of a ceiling.
It is natural that the school hasn’t electric in Haiti and the class rooms are always student more than limited sheets. (Surprisingly, sometimes 200 children are in the room smaller than 30㎡!)
Student hardly hear what the teacher talking who are sheeting apart 2~3 m from.
Sad to say, such situation has been hardly changed, but teachers and students make effort as much as possible however the luck of educational tools, facilities, bathrooms and dinning rooms.
There are a lot of problems to build the formal school because we should have many government agencies to deal with the matter to use the authorities for official land and public sanitation.
At the same instance, we have to train good quality teachers and also think over education program.
Children are hardly assisted to lean by their family because more than 60% of population can’t read, write nor speak French, as their official language.
Their educational tools are limited to the bible and old French textbook, so there is luck of attractive subjects for kids.
Finally, it is necessity that the special approach about human material things because the teacher is lowest income groups in Haiti. Haitian children need to take education for many years when we think about the endless problems.
Now JEN settle the public plumbing for drinking with Yachiyo Engineering and provides health education for the teachers at 13 schools in the central place in Logan.
We wish the way for better future will be opened for Haiti.
May 26, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Cross Cluster Mapping Project (CCMP) – moving on to better coordination of organizations
Since March 2010 when JEN started its activity in Haiti, JEN has been participating in a coordination conference for groups which are conducting their activity in Leogane and Grand-Goâve.
The coordination conference organized by UNOCHA (United Nations, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) is divided by cluster (field) according to sectors of activity (water, housing, education, medical care, security and etc.). The purpose of this conference is to deliver supports to those most in need by gathering, coordinating and diffusing information about the progress of activity in every sector.
JEN is recognized as one of the important groups mainly in the cluster of water/hygienic environment (WASH). Especially, JEN puts most of its efforts into hand pump and hygiene education campaign.
However, the coordination of supports has become more and more difficult due to the diversification of humanitarian support groups and the complication of projects. In the WASH cluster, such difficulty might be caused especially by the lack of intermediary system to exchange information from NGOs which are working in the same sector.
Under the current system, each group participates voluntarily in the coordination conference to exchange their information. However, since the exchange is made by using paper and the exchange process is complicated, it is difficult for us to get and analyze necessary information. Therefore, there are a lot of groups which give up providing information. Consequently, we have been in the situation of not knowing what are being done by other groups in the same area.
Recently, JEN has created ‘Cross Cluster Mapping Project (CCMP)’ with the cooperation of SASH (NGO). CCMP is an user-friendly intermediary tool with the use of map software called Google Earth.
On the map of CCMP, we can have a look at every group’s activities which are underway or planned in the clusters of housing, education and medical care. As all the activities are displayed on a map, we can see immediately possible overlapped projects or some vacant area. Therefore, coordination and cooperation among groups can be made effectively. Thus, time for planning will be reduced and the quality of projects will be improved. CCMP will also help us establish better relationship with local authorities by preventing duplicative activities and providing the share of transparent and clear information.
The tentative operation of the first mapping project is scheduled from May 15 to July 15, 2011. If the tentative project is performed successfully, this tool will be used for the coordination of projects in all Haiti.
May 12, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Challenges in digging wells in Haiti – Part 2
A company called ALCO Service was contracted to dig the first well in a place called Kafou Thozin. The area is accessible on road and has enough space for well digging, so it didn't look like a difficult project site.
The workers started digging, and when we thought we were going to see the first drop of water, we hit a hard rock and could not continue using the drilling machine. We were planning to dig manually and then with a machine, but we had to continue digging manually.
Day by day, the worker went deeper into the hole. A courageous worker dug 13 meters underground before he reached water. We hoped that the nature of the soil would change from this point onward, and could start digging with the machine. However, the nature of the soil remained the same.
The worker went back into the hole, and while two trucks sucked water, he started digging again to reach the second underground water level, 21 meters underground.
Without the hard rock, we were supposed to finish digging the well in two or three days using the machine, but manually, it took us two weeks. We never know until we start digging – By overcoming such a challenge, we will continue digging wells for the people in need of clean water!
April 21, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Challenges in digging wells in Haiti – Part 1
Well-digging, a new JEN project in Haiti, started in Grand-Goâve. The first well is about to finish!
Although we’ve anticipated, there were a lot of challenges before starting the well-digging. Some of the basic things are difficult in Haiti where public administration is not fully functioning.
A place in need for a well is not so difficult find. However, whether or not we can actually dig a well in the selected place is a different matter.
The first issue is the access to the project site. An equipment for digging a well is transported by a big truck. The truck needs a decent road to reach the project site. However, there are few paved roads in Haiti. Grand-Goâve is especially difficult to reach since it is surrounded by mountains. A community in need of a well is often the most inaccessible. The road condition is the first thing we need to consider when assessing the site for well-digging.
Another issue is whether or not we can get drinking water at the ground depth for hand pump. Because there is no water analysis conducted by the government in the area, there is no guarantee that we would get drinking water from digging the ground.
In addition, there is another problem of finding the landlord.
In Haiti, most of the people borrow land from landlords, and the landlords themselves often live abroad. You think one person is a landlord and may find out later that person is a tenant. Therefore, we need to check over and over again in order to find out the actual landlord. Fortunately, JEN staff was able to find out the landlord by closely consulting the people in the community, and received the permission to dig a community well on his land. After a lot of effort, we also received a permission from Grand-Goâve administration and Haiti Water and Hygiene Directorate to dig a well.
Once all the problems are resolved, it’s time for the actual digging!
April 7, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
"One good turn deserves another"
On March 11th, 2011, when the massive earthquake hit the eastern Japan, I was in Port-au-Prince.
I can still remember it just like yesterday that I was agitated to see news on the earthquake and the fear until I made sure my family was safe.
The next day since the earthquake, I have got calls and emails from friends to cheer me up. Among them, what impressed me most was warmth from people in Haiti.
In Haiti, due to economic conditions or low education levels, the number of people who read newspaper.
However, people who I met at the casheir at a supermarket, residents where our office is located, on the line to pay bills, talked to me even though they even didn't know me.
They first asked if I am Japanese and I said yes, they said "It hurts me to hear about the earthquake on news".
Among the words I received from them, I was impressed with the this, "We know tough it is because we have been there. We appreciate you stay behind and work for the reconstruction of Haiti despite the devastation in your country. We would love to do something for Japan as much as Japan helped Haiti."
What JEN does is to support the victims to get on their feet. As a by-product of our operation, we have seen "caring" spreading among people.
People in Haiti still suffer inconvenient lives. However, they can still care about me even though they don't know me. Also they wish to do something for Japan.
It is like a reward for me to see how they started caring about others.
March 24, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
The importance of independence
JEN has been operating in Haiti since January 2010 right after the earthquake. Issues such as poverty, disaster, political instability and deterioration of public order have been causing pains in Haiti. To solve them, they need help from world community. However, the contribution from world community should not make people rely heavily on it. Anyone who wants to help Haiti get back on their feet should keep this in mind that people in Haiti need to establish their independence.
Exactly right now, we are struggling our way to lead them to establish their independence. Currently we are fixing the water facility which has been damaged by the earthquake. Also it has been affecting people’s health due to lack of proper water way. We do not only support physically but get involved with the local community to promote health and run the water facility.
JEN recruits volunteers from the local community to work with them from the beginning of the project through till handing over the water facility. We try to encourage people who will actually use the water facility can act on their own. They need to learn that it is their responsibility how to maintain the facility while getting benefit to use it.
After the fixing is done, staffs from JEN and volunteers who work hard to promote hygiene promotion campaign for free, will explain how important it is to keep the water place clean as well as the role of the water facility control committee. Then, we will provide maintenance kit including a wheelbarrow, deck brushes and scoops to keep the facility clean.
The way we approach this project is to establish a sustainable system by involving with the people in the community. Also appropriate maintenance of the water facility and keeping the facility area clean can reduce the risks of diseases which cause diarrhea such as cholera and malaria which can be caused by increased mosquitos from the water stagnation.
People are eager to work on the maintenance. Maybe one person can’t make it possible but we believe this is the first step of their independence in the community.
Haiti Office Director Azmat Ali
March 10, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Introduction of the new staff!
My name is Dimitri. I’ve been a program officer of JEN Haiti team since this January.
Nice to meet you!
February 24, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Surprise and delightful growth of the staff
Usually I work on general affairs and accounting at the capital city, and I was surprised when I went to the field after so long.
The local staff worked on kneading cement and setting the stage for around the hand pump under the burning sun.
Mr.Guy, plumber who has three wives and always joyous is saying joke and Mr. Ansoul, plasterer is daubing cement for the stage.
Everyone is working earnestly with smile although the hard work in the hot weather.
Once I left the work space about 40 minutes to see other pump, and when I came back there, surprisingly almost all of the stage has been completed!
Because their speed of working has been more glowing, there is another reason for surprise.
Actually, the maintenance and repair of the water facility has been worked by almost only local staff for these two weeks.
After few months ago, we left the job up to the local staff for a week but it was impossible to work by themselves because they couldn’t deal with the happening which they hadn’t expect.
They sought the direction anything about from Mr.Romain, the officer of the program and there were luck of confidence to do by themselves.
But in this time, the function of the team work amazingly well for Mr.Romain and they firstly try to solve any problem by discussion in the team.
It has been almost eight months since we started the maintenance and repair of the water facility.
The elderly local staff have worked with JEN almost a year.
Now the germ of the independence with we nurtured carefully has started come out step by step.
Yuka Takao, general affair and accounting in HT
February 10, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Brick man of Grangoave in Haiti, Ti George
George Zephyr is 50 years old man and he is also a father of 8 children. He is a man of Haiti with strength and proud. It may be felt wander that he has a nickname of “Ti George” (“Ti” means “a little”, by the way) but it is very suit him because the adjective of “a little” before his name is very familiar just like himself! 8months has been passed since we saw him for the first time, and he always show smile on his old and being brown face even though he is in hard situation.
His work is making bricks, and it is one of the hardest works in hot whether of Haiti. Besides, it can not say that work is good for earning money. He spends at least 10 hours to make a sand move with his assistant. This step is necessary before mixing sand, water, and cement to adjust solidity. They do not have useful machine so they just use a handcart to bring sand and cement and a bucket to bring the water. All they have is human power and passion for their work
Next step is mixing completely by their handwork. The brick can not be made if this step is not good enough. Besides, they have no machine to forming brick so they use only their old tool and muscle.
The new brick which form precisely and being compressed are dried by sun, but these are moved at least 4 times to dry enough. Main Street of Grangoave does not have enough space. Besides, they have distribution problems too, so they need to bring bricks again to make 25 bricks pile.
The price of a pile is 0.625 dollars, and the team of Ti George can make only 250~300 bricks per day. It means they can expect to earn maximum 187.5 dollar per day but the cost of raw materials are taken away so their benefit is not corresponded to their effort.
In order to buy 150 bricks to repair a well in Leogan area, constructing staff of JEN visit his bricks at 6:30 AM in every morning, and Ti George always be there with strong muscle and smile!
In last Jury, I made one decision as humanity support engaged person. The decision is that we order the bricks to local bricks maker, not manufacture of bricks in capital of port-prince It means JEN choose Ti George as bricks supplier. He is the most proud person in my point of view. I hope their team gets more valuable works, and they and their families spend their life well.
January 27, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
Public transportation in abroad is very interesting. The pictures on old vehicle are showing the culture and custom in that place. At the same time, the name of public transportation is also interesting for foreigners. For example, a bus was called “angkot” in particular region in Indonesia, “Matatu” in Uganda, “Flying Corch” in Pakistan, and “Tap Tap” in here, Haiti.
People in Haiti deeply believe god, and they like music very much, so on the body of vehicle, the picture of Christ, or favorite soccer player like Kaka and Maradona, or famous singer like Bob Marly, Shakira, Tupac, and Snoop dogg.
The other aspect of Tap Tap is that no payment is necessary most of the time unless passenger has large size of luggage if passenger rides on the roof of bus or hangs on the pole of bus. It is very risky but people do not care about that risk.
It can often be seen the view that passenger eat something or have that bag by one hand even though they hold the bus which is running by 80~90 km per hour by the other hands. One of the passenger sit down the edge of the roof and take the nap. A vendor of the bus sale is holding the bus and sales the goods to passenger of Tap Tap. Such a vendor can ride the bus for one section of bus line.
National route 2 which continue from port-au-prince, capital of Haiti, to Miragoane, Jakmel, and Leogane is always crowed by Tap Tap. The driver of Tap Tap never cares about traffic rule, and music is played loudly in bus. The road is destroyed by earthquake, and that additional damage is given by rain and flood. This makes many traffic accidents and its victim in every month.
JEN perform the activity in Leogane and some of staffs live in Port-au-prince, so they need to use Tap Tap to come to office in Leogane. The fee of Tap Tap is cheap but it takes long time to reach Leogane. Staff in Port-au- Prince get their house out at 4:00 am and arrive office at 8:00am. We hope that people are safe including JEN’s staff, and the road and traffic system are fixed by government.
January 13, 2011 in Haiti | Permalink
The Fight of Health Promoter
In Leogane where JEN perform some acitities, both people and livestock wash their bodies at rivers. People also use the water of river for washing their clothes and drinking. Most of them are thinking that water which is spring out again after empting the water in the hole near by the river is clean and safe because it is clear.
Cholera has spread in Leogane which has gotten big damage due to earthquake, and most of the people in there suffer from double damage. JEN can perform health educational activities at the region where an outbreak of cholera has happened like Leogane or Grand Goave because of supporter of JEN and corporation of Japan platform.
So far, 459 people of health promoter took training from JEN. They join this activity as unpaid volunteers so they have strong will that they want to change an unhygienic habit of more than 50 thousand local people. JEN’s staff saw health promoter’s steady effort with their own eyes when they visit houses of local people.
At first, some people doubt promoter but most of the messages about hygiene were accepted now. Local people misunderstand that promoter perform this activity to get economic reward, not to follow their strong will. In the country where people can not get job easily, the idea of “volunteer” is not easy to understand but promoter explain carefully and find the people who can work together with JEN without payment.
Today, importance of hygienic countermeasure is widely understood because of practical damage of growing cholera. As involving this, local people started to evaluate health promoters. Most of the people visit health promoter of JEN to learn the way of prevention and information about cholera. They are considered as philosopher of that region.
In the meeting which JEN’s staff and health promoter perform, they always tell the people some important message about hygiene. Besides, the messages which was sent over and over in each region by health promoter were sent again as different form like poem, play, and pamphlet.
December 16, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
JEN Get New Family!
New family comes at Pòtoprens office to join JEN. A female dog, whose breed of dog is Rottweiler, was born in Haiti eleven months ago. When large scale earthquake attack to Haiti, only first mounth has passed after her birth. Her breeder’s house was destroyed because of earthquake but she and her mother were survived and grew up in a tent.
Actually, it is very difficult to find a watchdog in Haiti. At first, there are only few spot where dogs which is suitable to train as a watchdog are sold. Besides, even that spot has collapsed by earthquake, and many dogs were died. Because of these situations, a watchdog can not find in Haiti easily. Of course, as one of the choice, we can import watchdogs from neighbor countries. However, we choose the dog in Haiti which survive from earthquake because we thought this dog can be a member of JEN through the activities with us against goal as “revive”.
Fortunately, we met this female dog through the driver of JEN. We began to live together from November 22th. A general election would be on 28th and reinforcement of security was demanded for fear of disturbing peace after the election.
When I joined the cultural lecture of Haiti, the reason why people in Haiti do not like dogs deeply related to history of colony age. Haiti was one of the most abundant colonies so the way to control of Haiti was cruelly and dirty. At that age, dog was used not only for threaten the slaves. When slaves run away, they were run down to sea shore, and they needed to choose “drown in the sea” or “eaten by a fierce dog.” Besides, the people who are colonialism use dog as a show. People in Haiti were taking over this memories of suppression and fear, and they can not eliminate that memories after two hundred years from independence.
Rolca, A new family of JEN, is just child dog but it has already big. When she came to our place, John peter, security staff of JEN, looked that he felt fear to the dog. He lives in JEN’s office. We asked him to take care of Rolca but his face looks freeze and smile is disappeared from his face. However, several days later, he is smiling at Rolca, and treats her well. This is exactly prove fear comes from ignorance. He start to take care of Rolca, and he learn that she do not attack him without any reason, and finally they can understand each other.
December 2, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
If we imagine
In this country, several hundred families have to go to bed without eating proper dinner, and several thousand children can not commute to school. Many people are going to die without taking enough treatment in the hospital every week. Why?
‘‘Poverty.’’ Oneday, one of the villagers that JEN perform some activity in his village ask us, ‘Do you have any salaried work?’ From this question, we began to discuss about poverty.
Villager: I am so hungry, but I do not have both work and money
JEN: What kind job would you like to? Can’t you find any job in your village? If you can not find, why don’t you create it for yourself and other villager?
Villager: I can not do that. A half of people in the village can not find the job. How can I create the job?
JEN: I think you can create because there is a beautiful in this place. Most of the people in the world like the beach very much.
Villager: I know such a thing, but people like famous and clean beach, not like this place.
JEN: Do you think that is only reason that people does not come this place?
Villager: Umm,,,,,,,, I do not know
JEN: Listen what I say. Please imagine. 200 families live in this village. You recruit one person from each family, and begin to clean the beach. Maybe cleaning is going to be finished in two days, and all of garbage is disappear in third days. After that, you gather the money from villagers, and build the shop which sell cold drink or the seafood restaurant. Then maybe many visitors will come to beach, and they swim, buy some cold drink at shop, and eat some lunch in restaurant. At that time, how many villagers can get work……
That villager thinks it seriously.
JEN: Do you think that is impossible?
Villager: N, No! I do not think like that, but how can we let the people realize that this village have nice beach?
JEN: That is easy. Make the direction and put it up on the highway. You should write the beach’s name, an arrow, and distance from the beach. In addition, take some beautiful photo and had them run in the newspaper. You also go to tourist board at the capital, and report what you did. If you finish everything, everyone in your village must help you. If you work with everyone as unison, how many works you can create?
Villager: (count on his finger,) Manager of shop and restaurant, waiter or waitress of restaurant, cleaner, security guard, sailor, fisherman, and guide…..Wow! There are many jobs!
JEN: Yes. You can do anything you want. Anyway, think about making money in this sea. This is the same as fisherman of village.
That villager starts to think, and say.
Villager: I will try! At first, I will gather other villager and discuss about this idea.
Earning enough money for family living….. This is the dream of all of pure people in Haiti, and this is also a goal of JEN. Therefore, we have to let the people realize the importance of independent, and support their effort to come their dream true by themselves.
Haiti needs practical work for revival from damage of earthquake or rebuilding the country. Every single people in the country should help each other, and they work as unison to become the country which can prepare enough food, hospital, road, and school.
November 18, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
The Campaign of Sanitation by Villagers
he contemporary technology can expect natural disaster like a hurricane, storm, and flood, but an epidemic like cholera will attack without any warning.
JEN are performing the sanitation promoting project against 50 thousand families. 459 volunteers who are trained for this sanitation promoting project are teaching knowledge about sanitation. They have high motivation, and try to spread what they learn to village.
Volunteer go to village to explain about cholera after joining emergency meeting with JEN staff about corresponding how to sterilizing house, car, and dead body. They also stimulate villager to get information about sanitation by listening radio, or communicating with each villagers. In a village named Jeanty at Grand Goave, wash place is established at center of village, and call out the villagers to wash their hands by soap.
This effort started from ‘Global Hand Washing Day’ on Octorber 15th. This trial has begun under the leadership of volunteers for letting everyone wash their hands appropriately.
After that, we decide to establish wash place in Sojin, next village of Jeanty. At the area where JEN perform the project, this kind of sanitation improvement activity is spreading wider than we expect. Volunteers accomplish their new role at life improvement of people in the community, and they are very proud of that.
If Hurrican Thomas attacks to Haiti, the risk to spread cholera virus may become higher. Haiti team of JEN has 500 people including JEN’s staffs, drivers, and local volunteers, and they try to prevent to spread the sickness to 50 thousand people in Haiti.
November 4, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Natural disaster and human disaster Part 2
Around 16:00 on September 24th, very strong wind raged, and it began to rain. About 20 ~ 30 minutes it remains and at least 50 thousand lives were lost around capital because of this rainstorm. Billboard was destroyed and fallen, and utility pole was also falling down. A concrete block wall collapsed, and road became like river. Due to this effect, electric supply around capital area has been stopping. However, even this damage is lighter than the damage of hurricane.
If there is any other enough fuel except charcoal in Haiti……
If there is better construct structural standard in Haiti even though it is not good enough as earthquake-resistant construction……
If infrastructure was prepared enough…… .
Several hundred thousand people’s life may not lose. This kind of problem in Haiti will never solve after all if we give up solving this problem as due to natural disaster.
Haiti needs support as long as possible. Support include not only economic support but also reorganization and thinking of the problem in Haiti, and it lead to good future to our world.
In rainstorm, one of the office assistant, Corolla, called a guard and driver loudly, and run to the place which car is parked. Head officer yielded to her that she should stay inside of the house. Head officer watch what happen to her, and he saw everyone ride the car to prevent blowing the car by their weight.
October 21, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Natural disaster and human disaster Part１
Due to large scale earthquake on January in this year, Haiti was focused people’s attention around the world. Haiti has suffered by natural disaster frequently so far. Recently, there are four hurricanes landing Haiti in 2008. It made 800 people death, and 800 thousand people, 8 percent of total population, became victims of this disaster. In addition, about 26 hundred through 30 hundred people died due to mudslide or flood caused by tropical storm (smaller scale than hurricane) in 2004.
Even if we consider the increase of abnormal whether due to environmental destruction, hurricane or storm is just natural disaster in this region. However, the damage of humanitarian disaster is also occurring in Haiti.
Oil is expensive in Haiti so most of the people depend on inexpensive charcoal as living fuel. In addition, forest is provisions for farmers. They fell forest to selling charcoal, tilling the field, and growing livestock. Because of this felling, Haiti has lost almost of all forest which covered 98 percent country and there is no resistance against heavy rain.
In 1980, the forest in Haiti which has covered about 25 percent of country were still remained. Although the Hurricane, which had a big destructive power and was classified “Category 3” in five category, had hit in 1987, no one was killed by that disaster. However, the forest is decreasing to 1.4 percent of country in 2004 and it is not enough to protect the people from flood and a mudslide. As a result, more than 26 hundred people people were dead because of heavy rain which was continued for 30 hours.
October 7, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Staff Introduction: Marie Dibangue
My name is Marie Dibangue, born in the city of Douala, which is an economic capital in Cameroon. I am the second child in the family of five children.
I left Cameroon seven years ago for Beirut, Lebanon to continue my studies in political science at Saint Joseph University, where I obtained my Master’s degree in political science. I have also completed a professional training in mediation.
Living in Lebanon provided me with an opportunity to supplement my theoretical studies with a one-of-kind field experience. Due to its ethnic complexity, ideological divisions, and the exterior interferences that have constantly challenged its independence, Lebanon is again undergoing multiple conflicts.
In 2004, I joined an NGO where I conducted different actions to initiate peace dialogue and reconciliation among people in Lebanon. I participated in all kinds of activities there, of which the inauguration of free summer camps for children and reconstruction projects were particularly enjoyable.
During the war in Lebanon in summer 2006, in response to the humanitarian emergency, I volunteered to host refugees from Southern Lebanon in shelters. Having been trained in methods of coaching and teaching youth through UNFPA-Lebanon, I taught courses in English and educated students on human rights in Marwahim in South Lebanon, at a local school that had been rebuilt after the 33-day war. I also participated in peace actions, especially in the countryside "Our Unity is Our Salvation" implemented by 49 NGOs during the year 2007, to restore hope in the inter-Lebanese dialogue.
I have strong conviction in humanitarian action. I believe working with JEN is the perfect opportunity to fulfill my ambitions.
In Haiti, I work as a program officer for JEN’s hygiene promotion project, which has been an extremely fascinating experience. I believed that our action can change people’s habits regarding hygiene.
September 23, 2010 in Haiti, Staff | Permalink
Challwngin in Haiti, Part 2: Many rivers to cross.
30 minutes later, JEN's vehicle was running national highway in the rain. Vehicle was beyond five rivers without trouble!
We got a contact from volunteer who lives around our project site that we would not be able to go back to the site today because the road is closed due to increasing water of rivers.This is why, we would go to Grand Goave, next town of the site, to buy something necessary for our project.
However, we caught a traffic jam right away and that makes our staff members annoyed. Grand Goave is only five kilometer away from the point beyond the rivers, but our car can not move on. We got stuck in the muddy water but other cars did not make the line behind us and nobody helped us. After all, we spent three hours to move on only five hundred meters!
Since the bridge between Grand Goave and Foche felling down due to earthquake on January 12th, there is no way to get the town except crossing this river. Normally, we call this place 'a bank', but this place will remain 'river' several months because of rain.
Today is too hard to say 'normal', and we hope there will never continue such a day.
After several months, the season of a hurricane will be coming, and it is possible that large scale of hurricane directly hit to Haiti so we must be cautious about that.
Millions of people in Haiti can be homeless again.
September 22, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Staff Introduction: Romain Briey
I am a French citizen born 37 years ago close to the border between Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. It has now been quite a long time since I left the Northeast side of France.
After a completely normal childhood and teenage years fully dedicated to cycling, I left home and the area where I grew up after high School to join the French Elite Permanent Training Center in Bordeaux, a big city in the Southwest of France renowned for its wine. There, as a young eighteen-year old country boy, I discovered at once independence from the familiar environment, life as a student, the all-year-round temperate weather, and the ambivalent relationship between cycling, professionalism, and doping...
With all my dreams of becoming a successful, professional sportsman ruined, I returned the year after that to the Northeast side of France to study business at a decent-sized city called Nancy.
Two years later, after graduation and as I was ready to move to England for extensive studies, I got called by the national service… A ten-month compulsory service in the French army was the rule for all young French men at the time. Not interested at all in the army and especially spending ten dreary months not doing anything interesting with very little money (around 100 USD/month), I took the risk of applying for an extensive period with the possibility of being stationed abroad in exchange!
Having been fascinated by Africa since I was a child, I of course applied for a position in the black continent among all other choices.
I don’t remember being happier than the day I saw these two words in the letter asking me to be in the closest Air Force base to my parents’ home on January 4th, 1996. As I had expected and dreamt many times before, I spent two years in pure heaven in West Africa. As lucky as I was to get a fascinating job as a private secretary of the Chief of the French army Head Quarters there, I was also allowed a chance to take regular four-month holidays. Traveling for about three weeks every three to four months during these two years, I got to discover and experience much more than I had ever thought was possible.
By the end of 1998, upon my return to the civilian life in France, I knew that one day I would work as humanitarian worker.
Strangely enough, it was as a manager of a supermarket that I started my professional life… I spent three years in Paris followed by two years in Guadeloupe in the French West Indies, Caribbean, where I realized it was time to revisit my initial idea of joining the humanitarian world. Once again, however, reality turned my plan around completely, and I ended up living in Copenhagen, Denmark for seven years before finally working for JEN in Haiti as a humanitarian worker.
Program officer since March 6th 2010, I have to say I am actually glad that it took me a long time to join the NGO world. I realize everyday how all the different experiences I have accumulated in my background are extremely useful.
September 16, 2010 in Haiti, Staff | Permalink
Challenges in Haiti
It would not be so far from the truth to say that there are countless challenges in Haiti. For hundreds of years, Haiti has been suffering from a variety of problems, such as poverty, poor economy, unemployment, lack of education, inadequate water supply, poor sanitation, lack of health facilities, vulnerability to natural disasters, political instability, dire security situation, drug trafficking, insufficient agricultural resources, lack of livestock management, and many more that we may not have realized yet.
In spite of these challenges, it is interesting that Haiti is the first independent nation in the Caribbean, the only nation that gained independence through slave rebellion. Haiti is the second independent nation in all of America after the United States.
Now how do we assist Haiti in tackling these challenges? The only answer I can think of is to make people in Haiti self-reliant.
People in Haiti will eventually have to stand on their own, instead of depending on others. Haiti will prosper if their people realize the importance of self-reliance. Haiti has fertile land that is useful for agriculture, rains, a variety of fruits, beautiful hills, and some of the finest beaches in the world.
JEN’s mandate is to assist disaster-affected people in becoming self-reliant, so we are trying to follow that mandate here in Haiti; by physically involving local people in our projects. JEN is rehabilitating 80 water works and providing hygiene promotion education to local communities, of which expected beneficiaries are around 50,000. Both projects are ongoing through the help of volunteers from local communities. These volunteers are working without any financial support from JEN. Admittedly, it is difficult to imagine working with volunteers from a country that has recently been affected by a massive earthquake, and many NGOs, in fact, have “Cash for Work” projects. JEN’s staff, however, has successfully made people realize to stand on their own and work for themselves without any external incentive but their future.
We hope that what we are doing here is best for Haiti.
In the dismal slums, the traumatized Haitians are living in “torn, sweltering, and soaked tents suitable at best for weekend camping,” surrounded by rubble and stench of rotting garbage, their patience taxed to the limit, and their lives shattered for lack of basic services, including housing, sanitation, and enough food and clean water.
Torrential afternoon rains leave “lake-sized puddles in which mosquitoes breed and spread malaria. Deep, raspy coughs can be heard everywhere. Scabies and other infections transform children’s soft skin into irritating red bumpy rashes. Bellies are swelling and the hair turning orange from malnutrition. Vomiting and diarrhea are as common as flies.”
September 9, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Torrential Rain: A New River?!
On the 8th of August at around 7:00 pm, rain started pouring accompanied by thunder and lightning as I was cooling down in the balcony at the end of a boiling hot day. I love lightning so I was enjoying the cool air. However, in about twenty minutes, I heard people talking and laughing outside. I then looked down the street in front of the house, and could not believe what I saw!
There was a new river that did not exist just twenty minutes ago. The sound of the water was like that of a waterfall! People came out of their homes to play in the muddy, dirty water.
This event highlights a few of many problems in Haiti. First of all, there is an evident lack of proper drainage system, not to mention the lack of preventative measures against mudslide. Another is that people were enjoying putting their feet in the muddy water, which is quite unhygienic. People are unaware of the danger of infections such as tetanus. The hurricane season is about to begin, and what we saw was only one torrential rain, not a hurricane. What will happen when the actual hurricane hits Haiti that is already ravaged by the earthquake?
JEN is now working to repair water points and conduct hygiene education. We are now only at the first step, which is a crucial one. Haiti needs long-term support to restore the necessary infrastructure and install preventative measures to be fully prepared for natural disasters as a disaster-prone country. We are continuing our effort toward this goal.
August 12, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Another Disaster in Eight Months?
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world with a tragic history and deadly incidents. The low-income strata of Haiti are frequently affected by hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and political conflicts and violence in any era.
Haiti has always been vulnerable to natural disasters. Tropical storms and floods killed more than 3,000 people in 2004. In 2008, another storm hit Haiti, which affected 800,000 people and killed more than 400 people. These disasters not only inflicted people directly but also the country’s economy that has always been in shambles. People therefore cannot rely on agriculture or farming. The biggest natural disaster in the history of Haiti was the earthquake in January 2010. 80% of the main cities like Port au Prince, Leogane and Petit Goave were destroyed, along with their economies. More than 300,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people became homeless. Despite the fact that it has been just six months since the earthquake, the meteorology department announced that the hurricane season would begin in August and predict that it would be one of the worst in history. People who are living in camps prefer to remain in such poor condition and would not start reconstruction since they know the deadly effects of the hurricanes. They don’t want to be affected twice in a year after an eight-month period.
Humanitarian organizations and developed countries must strengthen their support to rebuild Haiti. Let’s hope together that we can improve the situations in Haiti because nothing is impossible in this world.
July 29, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Something to cheer for
It has not been so long since the devastating earthquake killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their family, became homeless, and live in temporary housing, either with host families or at one of 1,200 makeshift camps around the country. We are working in the field everyday as we constantly notice those who are living in dire situations.
Despite their challenges, there is something to be cheerful about, which is the currently ongoing FIFA World Cup. Whenever there is a game, we hear a loud live broadcasting coming from inside buses and cars everywhere in the street. Those who have personal radio sets carry them by their ears while walking or working. The most fascinating part is seeing so many people gathered around TV sets in shops and restaurants. Every time their favorite team scores, fans cheer in excitement and celebration.
Among the Haitian people, the Brazilian national team is the most popular, followed by Argentina as a close second. JEN’s staffs always watch out for security after each game, when all the streets become blocked by the excited crowd. And now, we are planning a project that would further inspire and encourage th local people.
July 8, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Living in Haiti, I hear many different sounds on a regular day: babies crying, water splashing as people do their laundry, trucks passing by… In the midst of all these, the sound that stands out the most is the “theme song” of the water trucks in the early morning.
In Haiti, it is common that people who don’t have access to tap water buy water from the water-vending trucks. These trucks are common, and they usually come around with a familiar music that they play. Simply imagine the water truck equivalent of the ice cream truck music. Playing music to attract customers is nothing new, but what particularly caught my attention was their selection in music. In general, these trucks play either one of the two songs: the theme song of an academy award winning movie, “My Heart Will Go On,” or the year-round “Jingle Bell.” My guess is that these songs are meant to send us messages that “water supply will go on forever,” or “we wish you a merry day just like Christmas!”
While Haitian people may take these familiar sounds for granted, for me, coming from another continent across the Pacific, they are an intriguing piece of the Haitian life that captured my attention.
June 24, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Challenges of an Admin-Finance Officer: Loading Trucks
It has been almost one month since I came to Haiti as an administrative finance officer. Today I would like to talk about a background work that normally gets little attention.
One of my duties is loading the truck that transports materials. The day before distribution, we load the truck with shelter kit materials. While it sounds as simple as receiving the ordered materials and placing them on the truck, it can be quite painstaking.
First, the truck rarely arrives on time. Even though we confirm the time of its arrival the day before, it arrives a few hours late. In worst cases, we wait as long as six hours.
When the truck arrives, the first thing we load is lumber. We provide five pieces of wood perpearson, so we count five as one unit and load the woods for the total number of targeted people. Some woods can be of very poor quality, so we have to watch out for them.
The next material we load is perhaps the most troubling: CGI sheets. Why? Because we need to count CGI sheets that are so thin, one by one, in the hot container, as many as three thousand! Some are so closely stuck together that it is extremely difficult to count them, and more importantly, one can lose concentration easily due to the heat and the routine nature of the work. CGI sheet loading can take over two hours because we count them one by one, saying the number out loud with one or two other people to make sure that we are counting them right.
We also count other materials, such as hammers and gloves, unless the container is preserved properly. This is because even though the boxes may look intact, they sometimes contain fewer materials than are written on the boxes.
Loading may sound like such a simple task but it can almost take the whole day. What makes me so happy, though, is the driver who voluntarily helps the loading process. For the truck driver and the driver for JEN’s cars, helping the loading or distribution process is not part of their contract (they are also my French and Creole teachers!). Nevertheless, they offer to help and work in sweat. The pride of supporting Haitians must also be taking root in their heart.
May 24, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Assistance for Self-Reliance, Part 2
Following the lecture on hygiene maintenance, we decided to give a lecture in which we review the meaning of humanitarian assistance. The meaning of humanitarian assistance is “principles”. Elmaille and Berlande, who had already received the training, delivered this lecture.
The principles of humanitarianism are outlined in the “Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement, and NGOs in Disaster Relief.” JEN also signed this code of conduct. To respect these principles is the basis of our work.
Without humanitarianism, equity, independence, neutrality, non-violence, non-malfeasance, accountability, transparency, and a profound belief that humanity is the first priority, one cannot be called a humanitarian.
At the end of the lecture, our program officer Romain gave a project report in the first month he had been working for JEN. We assessed what we had learned, what went wrong and well in Haiti during this past month.
Through this assessment, we were able to see our results from an objective point of view. In addition, by sharing our assessments with each other, we were able to bond as a team and return to work in a refreshed mind.
May 7, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Assistance for Self-reliance Part 1
Last week, two JEN staff, Fifi and Stanley, went to Leogane for three days to participate in a hygiene training organized by UNICEF. Leogane is a town located between Port-au-Prince, the capital city, and Grand Goave.
The weekend just after that training was “Thanksgiving Day”. Our team could manage to have some days off after several weeks of work non-stop. Thanksgiving Day is an extremely important festival in Haiti. After the relaxing weekend, we had a training in the office. Since our two staff had taken part in the UNICEF training, we wanted to share the information and the knowledge with other staff while their knowledge is still fresh.
Fify and Stanley lectured on hygiene management and it was supposed to last two hours. The manager and the driver also attended the training at their own initiative. We asked the housekeepers in our office to attend this training. They also needed the detailed knowledge of hygiene management.
However, it is quite difficult to manage time. Although the training was due to last for two hours, it took us six hours in the end. However, our team could deepen and expand our knowledge of hygiene management.
April 28, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Emergency Assistance: System of Information Sharing
It has been nearly 3 months in Haiti since the devastating earthquake, unprecedented number of organizations, large and small, has been doing their projects under respective principles. When so many organizations are working in the limited space individually without any kind of coordination, many problems arise: doubling of goods, concentration of organizations in one specific area and thus smaller reach to other places etc. What is then needed to solve such problems, when assistance is in dire need? It is sharing of information among organizations. How is this done in emergency situation?
In emergency times, it is OCHA – Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – that takes the main lead. This UN-related organ coordinates meetings called ‘cluster’ meetings that are categorized into different important sectors, such as shelter, medical care, and education. Cluster meetings are held 3 times per week during the first 3 months after the natural disaster, and 2 times per week onwards. The meetings consist of sharing WHO does WHAT in WHICH camps, WHEN. More complicated discussion and information sharing also take place.
This system of information sharing is always evolving with technology. For example in Haiti, a new system was put in place where all information of each organization active in Haiti are handled in OCHA’s website. Some clusters use interactive software to post up information on online bulletin boards. Organizations that cannot attend meetings and under limited time, such systems are very convenient to implement projects smoothly in chaotic emergency times.
JEN belongs in the shelter cluster, which utilizes Google Earth to publicize detailed information on “WHO distributed HOW MANY of WHAT, WHERE?” By sharing such quantitative information, we can continue our projects safely and efficiently.
OCHA’s website “oneresponse” has much information on such things, not only about clusters, UN, and NGOs. If you’re interested, go have a look at the website!
April 16, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
7:45 – I leave the JEN compound to go to the Shelter Cluster Meeting that will be held in Log Base, a UN camp in Port au Prince at 8:30. On Sunday this trip would take 10 minutes, but during the week it’s more difficult to estimate.
8:40 – I finally reach the meeting, running a little bit late. I am not the last one but there were some UN vehicles that prevented us to drive for few long minutes on the way, in front of the US Embassy.
9:55 – Meeting and side-meetings in log base are ending. I’m now going to Leogane to assist the Water and Sanitation and Hygiene meeting, to be held at noon.
11:35 – I reach the newly built and soon-to-be moody UN camps in Leogane. The trip took 1 hour and a half, which is not so bad. My colleagues, who are traveling everyday to Grand Goave, our activity site, few kilometers even farther than Leogane, must spend between 2 hours and 2 hours and a half for each travel. This means 4 to 5 hours per day in cars, just going to work.
13:45 – Meeting and side-meeting ended, I call the team and go to meet them informally for few minutes on the way to Grand Goave. We have some information to exchange and I got a new map from OCHA, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs that can be useful for us.
14:15 – on my way back to Port au Prince.
17:00 – I finally reach our compound, with only a 15 minutes stop on the way back to try getting some material at the UN camps, which is located on the way. I spent 9:15 out of the office, to participate in 2 meetings, of little more than one hour each.
18:15 – the team comes back from the field. They left at 6:45 this morning. Now our local colleagues have to go home from the JEN compound. Between 1 and 2 hours of tap-tap’s trip (Tap Tap is a small local bus that make your butt feeling “tap-tap” – cf. picture below). They already spent approximately 5 hours in the cars, just to go and return from the evaluation they conducted today.
I spend half of the week losing time in cars, and so did the field team. .Such a situation is common in areas with high population density and especially after damaging earthquakes. But the Haitian case is, one more time, perhaps one of the worst I have ever encountered. However, efforts are necessary to realize our assistance. Because in participating these coordination meetings, we can understand the local needs, coordinate our activities with other active NGOs in the area, exchange valuable information with NGOs and UN related agencies, all in order to support the people more efficiently. It needs to be emphasized that these efforts are as important as the actual distribution of goods in our activity sites.
During some crowded traffic jams, I sometimes thought of buying a motorcycle. That could make us gain some time at Port au Prince’s level, but only if we arrive safely. One friend of mine, who was driving a motorcycle here, was comparing that to a video game: you have to avoid a guy, then a woman, then a car, then a hole in the road and some children, and then you enter in a smoky area with parked cars after a curve… nice when you are comfortably sitting on your sofa. Less nice when the only points you could score are stitches In JEN, we are not to use motorcycles for reasons of safety.
What is necessary in such conditions is to secure the safety of our staffs, and do the maximum we can at all time. Efforts shall be continued for further assistance!
April 9, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Poverty in Haiti
In Haiti, there remains a very strong tradition of apprenticeship called “reste avec”. This country, known to be the poorest country in the Western hemisphere holds half of the population living under 1 dollar per day, and 78% living under 2 dollars per day. Many families unfortunately cannot afford to bring up their children, so these children, often young girls, are sent as apprentices “reste avec” to wealthy families. In reality, these children are not sent out to work and earn money, but are rather “given up” forever to be taken care of by wealthy families, never to be reunited with the biological family again. According to UNICEF, there were about 100,000 girls between age 6 and 17 sent to apprenticeships, before the earthquake.
These children lost their families, houses, even their biological families. In the spontaneous camps, no protective system to take care of these children are working, including communities, churches, schools and the police, rendering the children to become street children.
JEN will continue to conduct assistance projects for all the Haitian people, including children, to regain independent lives.
Some children we have seen in Haiti after the earthquake.
Donation for JEN Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance.
By credit card via homepage (in Japanese) ->
By postal transfer (available within Japan) -> 00170-2-538657. Account name: JEN
We appreciate your cooperation.
April 1, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Precisely, Efficiently, Delivering assistance to those that really need it.
We have distributed, on March 11th, shelter kits for shelter reconstruction to 73 households in a small locality called Vieux Caille, in mountains above Grand Goave. This time, the kit includes wood materials in addition to the previous contents; corrugated iron sheets, hammer, nails, saw and gloves, to prepare for the approaching harsh rainy season. However, with lack of various materials, we asked 3 households to share 1 saw.
In order to deliver assistance to those that truly need it, and in order to do it precisely and efficiently, community’s cooperation is indispensable.
That is because, needless to say, the local people are the ones that know the community.
So at this time, along with the community leader, Nader, many volunteers from the community supported the distribution.
During the preliminary assessment, we have selected the targeted households by visiting each and every household to verify the degree of destruction of each house.
Then the distribution day, Berlande, our national project officer, calls beneficiaries one by one, relayed by Nader with the megaphone. When the beneficiary comes, Nader confirms whether that he’s the right person. This is done to make sure that double distribution or distribution for non-targeted households does not occur.
Finally, the staff and volunteers distribute the prepared kits.
Without the support of volunteers, JEN’s activities cannot be implemented.
With the motto “together with the local people” we realize “self-reliance assistance” we will continue our activities.
Donation for JEN Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance.
By credit card via homepage (in Japanese)
By postal transfer (available within Japan)
⇒00170-2-538657. Account name: JEN
We appreciate your cooperation.
March 24, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Together with the local Haitian staffs
On March １１‘th Wednesday, we will start distributing shelter kits to ４，０００ households, which we have been preparing for some time now.
Based on the name list created by the community, JEN’s staffs have been visiting each and every single household to study the degree of destruction and their daily lives as evacuees.
The local Haitian staff contributed greatly to this process by creating the research documents, designing database, and conducting numerous research simulations.
This Haitian local staffs are an essential part of our team, in achieving projects, but also in helping our understanding of the local culture and lives.
March 9, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
The death toll of the Haitian earthquake
The Haitian government, on 10th February, has reannounced the death toll of this earthquake, from 200,000 to 230,000.
With population of around 10,000,000, this death toll means that more than 1 out of 50 have lost their lives. To come to think about it, I realized how destructive this earthquake was.
For example, the number signifies that out of 400 of your high school graduating class, 8 have died. Out of 20,000,000 that watched a soccer match, up to 400 have died, all at the same time.
Those that survived the earthquake fortunately must bring themselves together to rebuild their lives. This is going to be a very, very long journey.
JEN aims to assist in their ‘self-reliance’. We are determined to support as much as possible in this earthquake-stricken country.
February 13, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
JEN’s shelter kits…
JEN’s staffs have returned to the community to assess the usage of the distributed shelter kits, from February 4th ~ 7th.
Roofs and walls that used to be sheets and curtains were now corrugated iron sheets distributed by JEN. Since we distributed some tools along with materials, we heard that the people could quickly translate into action in building their temporary shelter.
February 11, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Completion of distribution of shelter kits to 700 households!
After 4 days, on February 7th, we have successfully completed the distribution of shelter kits to 700 households. The last day of the distribution in coincided with the Christian day of prayer, so the distribution began after noontime in the camp.
It proceeded very smoothly with the cooperation of community leaders and young volunteers, and we were able to distribute to 160 persons within just two hours. Some were so delighted to receive the shelter kit that when their names were called some mothers came running to the desk shouting with joy.
We pray from bottom of hour hearts that with the distributed shelter kits, the people can live through the rainy season starting in May. Our program officers are planning to come back to the project site sometime next week to check how our kits are utilized.
February 7, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
[Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance] Distribution of Emergency Goods, mission completed!
We have distributed our first set of emergency relief goods on February 4th (5th Japan time).
We have targeted 4 spontaneous camps in the town of Grand Goave.
Luckily there was no chaos during the distribution, and the goods have reached the hands of the affected, safe and sound.
The content of the tool kits is as follows: 10 corrugated iron sheets, 1 hammer, 1 saw, 1 pair of gloves, and 1 kg of nails.
After the distribution, Ms Yonekawa has visited some homes of those that received the kits.
We were able to see some relieved faces, successfully set their first step towards recovery.
February 5, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
[Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance Flash Report] Distribution of Emergency Goods #1
Here are some photos that just arrived from Haiti.
Faces brightened up with smiles…
Donation for JEN Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance.
By credit card via homepage
By postal transfer (available within Japan)
00170-2-538657. Account name: JEN
February 5, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Haiti Emergency Assistance Reporting Session
JEN is organizing a reporting session on our emergency assistance activities for those Haitian people affected by the earthquake, on February 15th Monday 2010 at 18:30.
At the Session, Ms Masako Yonekawa, who has been engaged in the emergency relief activities onsite, will report the environment of the preliminary needs assessment and voices of the affected people waiting for distribution of emergency goods... Many photos and video clips will be shown during the reporting.
JEN has dispatched 4 members to the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince from the Dominican Republic.
We are currently active in Grand Goave, a town about 50 km West from Port-au-Prince, where the need for sheltering is very high. We are distributing tool kits for removing rubbles and building temporary shelter, for 700 households of refugees. These kits include corrugated iron sheets, hammer, saw and nails.
One month has passed since the earthquake that left the infrastructure critically damaged. According to the Haitian President, by February 2nd, the death toll rises 200,000.
In addition, the hurricane season is approaching soon.
JEN is planning to continue with the assistance to help the affected people regain the life and be self-reliant as soon as possible.
<JEN Haiti Emergency Assistance Reporting Session, by Ms Masako Yonekawa>
Date; February 15th Monday, 18:00-20:30 (Opens at 18:00)
Shinjuku Tabunka Kyosei Plaza
Tokyo-to Kenko Plaza Haisia 11th floor, 2-44-1 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku
(5 minutes walk from Shinjuku station, JR and Tokyo Metro)
(Access -> http;//bit.ly/dk4Nu6 )
Capacity: 35 people
Fee: JEN&JSE members are free, otherwise 500 yen
Please contact the Tokyo Headquarters, Hamatsu or Ikeda, by telephone or email (Please include your name, company, and contact).
（Tel： 03-5225-9352 / E-mail： firstname.lastname@example.org ）
Reporter: Ms Masako Yonekawa (Francophone Area Emergency Assistance Specialist)
Field Director at UN Volunteer and UNHCR since 1992.
Adviser to the UNHCR High Commissioner, Specialist of Peace Building Operations.
Associate Professor at Faculty of International Studies at Utsunomiya University.
NGO JEN, Hamatsu/Ikeda
Daini Tobundo Bldg 7F, 2-16 Agebacho, Shinjuku-ku
Tel: 03-5225-9352 Fax: 03-5225-9357
Email: email@example.com URL: http://www.jen-npo.org
February 4, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
[Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance Flash Report] Photo Archive #1
Overseas Program Department Director, Cyril Cappai, has completed the preliminary mission in Haiti and has returned to Tokyo.
Here are some pictures that he brought back to Japan.
Donation for JEN Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance.
By credit card via homepage
By postal transfer (available within Japan)
00170-2-538657. Account name: JEN
February 4, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
People Living in Handmade Camps
Many of the affected people are now living in outdoors in places like soccer fields and open spaces, far from their homes, in fear of their houses destroying or of another earthquake.
In Grand Goave, JEN staffs visit such camps everyday as part of the needs assessment research.
Obviously these people do not have any proper material to build the temporary shelter with, so they use pieces of wood, blocks, and cloth.
The finished produce is so small, both in height and area, family members can barely lay down.
They don’t even have mattresses to cover the naked ground inside the shelter.
Given such situation, JEN has decided to first of all come up with a list of shelter-building tools. These tools will be assembled as a ‘kit’ and be distributed to families in need.
The list includes corrugated iron sheets, saw, hammer and nails.
January 30, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Once Crossing the Border…
The international airport in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, ever since the earthquake, is only available for the US military and the UN’s use only.
That is why we have taken the road, early in the morning of the 28th, to reach Haiti.
In Dominican Republic, the main roads were all paved, and houses lining the roads were painted pink and emerald green, all colorful. It was as if I was watching a movie from the Caribbean.
However, once crossing the border into Haiti, none of the roads around the border are paved.
Moreover, there was a terrible amount of coal flying in the air from a coalmine nearby.
My window was open and I had a sudden fit of coughing.
As we near the capital, nearly all the buildings in this country are what look like mere barracks.
Haiti used to be the poorest country in the Caribbean, but the scenery I saw clearly was its evidence. The aftermath of the earthquake is even worse, due to this fact.
I strongly felt the need for distribution of emergency relief goods and disaster prevention workshops.
January 29, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
National Border in Chaos
As a supporting staff in JEN’s assessment team, I, Ms Fumiko Tanaka, have arrived in Haiti on January 28th.
I entered Haiti by road from the neighboring Dominican Republic.
It took around 4 hours to reach the border as planned, but the speed slowed down and it took 2 hours to travel 1 km just before crossing the border, and finally entered Haiti.
The border was filled with trucks carrying emergency goods into Haiti coming from all corners of the world, and a mass of Haitian people flowing out to evacuate their homeland.
On top of this chaos, we found people trying to do business by selling various items or doing currency exchange services, and people trying to organize, in vain, buses and trucks that come driving into the mess.
Due to the earthquake many roads near the border are damaged and sunk in water, two lane roads are now single lane with landslides, and these hamper the transportation of emergency assistance goods.
I just hope that assistance from the world will reach the affected people in Haiti, as soon as possible.
January 28, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
[Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance Flash Report]
We have received some photos from Haiti.
Presently, JEN is conducting research in a town called Grand Goave about 50 km away from the Haitian capital.
About 60% of the buildings are completely damaged here.
We are seeing spontaneous camps in numerous places such as open squares and soccer fields.
The photo shows a temporary house made with desks and chairs from a destroyed school and tree leaves.
People are desperately building temporary shelter with wood blocks and bits of galvanized iron sheets.
Of course there are no toilet facilities.
As JEN, we have come up with a list of items to be used for removing rubbles and building small huts by their own hands. We have selected a supplier to procure the necessary items and materials from the neighboring country Dominican Republic.
Written by Ito (In charge of Haiti, Overseas Program Department, JEN Tokyo HQ)
Donation for JEN Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance.
By credit card via homepage
By postal transfer (available within Japan)
00170-2-538657. Account name: JEN
January 25, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
[Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance Flash Report] 3 Staffs begin assessment research in Haiti
This is Hirano, Deputy Director of Overseas Program Department.
I would like to deliver our first report from Haiti.
On January 20 (local date January 19), JEN’s 3 staffs (Cyril Cappai, Olivier de la Motte Saint Pierre, Masako Yonekawa) have entered the Haitian capital Port au Prince, from Dominican Republic after 8 hours drive.
Currently there is no accommodation available in Port au Prince, so the 3 staff are staying at an acquaintance’s place.
There are some aftershocks, but it is relatively safe in the buildings that remained after the earthquake.
There is a risk of mosquito-born diseases, so they are using mosquito nets at night.
The only means of communication is the one satellite cell phone they brought from Japan.
With 14 hours of time difference, when we contact them, it is always night time in Haiti.
What is more, the phone conversation always gets cut off every two minutes. The lack of electricity makes it difficult to even take notes during conversations.
The next day after arrival, they have visited the affected area. They also attend regularly attend UN coordination meetings with other NGOs.
They began conducting some research in a remote town about 10 km from the capital.
According to the Head of Mission in Haiti and Director of Overseas Program Department, Cyril Cappai, even for an emergency NGO expert like him, the sight in Haiti was as if “a bomb had been dropped”.
Every building is crushed to the ground, and many corpses lay untouched.
Through this assessment research, JEN will determine the contents of emergency assistance as well as the area in which we will conduct such aid.
Emergency goods will be imported from the neighboring state Dominican Republic.
We will continue reporting the progress of the Haitian situation through this flash report.
Donation for JEN Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance.
By credit card via homepage
By postal transfer (available within Japan)
00170-2-538657. Account name: JEN
January 21, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
[Flash Report] Emergency Assistance in Haiti
To conduct needs assessment research and distribution of emergency daily necessities, JEN has dispatched emergency assistance specialist Masako Yonekawa, Head of Mission Cyril Cappai, and Program Officer Olivier de la Motte Saint Pierre. Olivier has worked with JEN during its Lebanese Emergency Assistance.
In order to conduct our activities with utmost safety, especially with the given worsening of security situation characterized by violent lootings, JEN sent 3 experienced international staffs, all francophone.
On the 17th, the three are to arrive in Dominican Republic, then after some preparation such as hiring a car, they are to enter the Haitian land by road.
Given the lack of accommodation and water for the staffs in Haiti, staffs have prepared tents, first aid kits, and water purifying tablets in France.
There are indications of the shutting down of tale-communication, so communication between Japan and Haiti will be done with transmission via satellite.
January 18, 2010 in Haiti | Permalink
Outbreak of Earthquake in Haiti on 2010/01/13
Outbreak of Earthquake in Haiti on 2010/01/13
Emergency Assistance will start for the afflicted people of Haiti
JEN, non profit organization (headquarters at Shinjuku, Tokyo) will start its emergency assistance for the affected people, following the earthquake that occurred on January 13th in Haiti.
The devastating earthquake took place on January 12th 16:53 local time (13th 18:53 Japan time), directly under the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, maximum number of the affected is expected to reach 3 million. The Haitian President has also announced that number of deceased could go up to 30000 to 50000 (as of January 14th). The extent of the deadly damage is expected to increase as we obtain further information of the affected area.
JEN has decided to implement the emergency assistance at this time, based on our experience with emergency relief after similar natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones. Internationally, our ongoing projects are in Indonesia (Sumatra earthquake in October 2009), Myanmar (Cyclone ‘Nargisse’ in May 2008), and our past projects were in Pakistan (Earthquake in South-west region in October 2008 and Kashimir Earthquake in October 2005), Sri Lanka (tsunami caused by Sumatra earthquake in December 2004), Iran’s earthquake in Eastern Region, India’s earthquake in Western Region, and Mongolia’s snow damage. Domestically, we have implemented emergency assistance in Niigata following its Chuetsu Earthquake in October 2004. As of today, in Niigata, self-reliance assistance is ongoing for the elderly affected by the earthquake.
3 staffs are dispatched to the site on January 15th: Cyril Cappai (Head of Mission, JEN, French), Masako Yonekawa (Francophone emergency assistance specialist), and Olivier de la Motte Saint Pierre (Program Officer), all due to arrive on January 16th. Taking into consideration the aggravating security situation, we will first collect information of the damage and necessary information for our emergency relief. Simultaneously, we will distribute necessary emergency assistance goods as much as possible.
JEN has begun its charity drive as part of our emergency relief assistance for the affected people in Haiti. In order to reach our assistance to the people with rapidity, accuracy and flexibility, we need your cooperation.
In addition, the latest information will be announced on our website as well as our flash report mail magazine.
Donation for JEN Haiti Earthquake Emergency Assistance.
By credit card via homepage
By postal transfer (available within Japan)
00170-2-538657. Account name: JEN
December 14, 2009 in Haiti | Permalink