Friday, February 26, 2010

Haiti: February 26th Update from the Field

Personal message from Benito Jasmin, FTF Coordinator in Haiti: “One candle doesn’t lose anything by lighting another candle”

The night of January 12th to 13th is for me the longest night. Even if you see it, you can’t believe it, you can’t explain, you can’t imagine, you can’t feel. This earthquake took away our: experience (skilled people), structure (already poor and not enough), energy (youth, teenager), future, courage, health, well being, respect and our culture, and hope.

Haitians now need to dream about a better tomorrow: jobs; health insurance; social, economical and environmental education; better infrastructure. Haitians have to believe in themselves, be creative, dynamic and courageous. If not, we will have a new era of exodus.The speech, dialogue, and words now need to be positive in Haiti. The action, the plan, the strategy must be oriented, defined, dynamic and progressive. Haiti needs to stand on what it stands for.

Thanks to everyone who trusted and accepted us to manage their money, guide their hand to the most victims in need.

To read the full report from Benito and see some pictures from the field, please click the link below and visit the Partners website:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Story of a Farmer to Farmer Volunteer: 7 Years Later

Have you ever wondered how a Farmer to Farmer trip might change your life or the lives of those you assist? The Daily Iberian of Louisiana recently published an article highlighting the dedication of a Partners of the Americas volunteer, Thomas Hymel, to help families in El Salvador. What began as a Farmer to Farmer trip to provide assistance in tilapia culture and aquaculture netting in 2003 has, 7 years later, blossomed into a scholarship program which has brought literacy, technical skills, and education required to escape the cycle of poverty to communities in El Salvador. Thomas' efforts are a great example of how Partners' volunteers Connect, Serve, and Change Lives. Click here for the full story. Above: Partners' volunteer Thomas Hymel displays aquaculture netting with his counterparts from El Salvador.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Update from Haiti: Feb 4, 2010

This is an informal update following our past 'report from the field' you will see below. Our field staff passed along some news and stories to us that we thought our network of volunteers, collaborators, donors, and friends would like to hear.

As you probably know, the emergency situation in Haiti has transitioned into a recovery and healing process. Our staff are still supplying medicines (antibiotics, creams, etc.) to the two hospitals in the North of Haiti. The cost of the medicines are out of reach for most Haitians - some creams prescribed can cost US$100 per tube. They have also been arranging a place to stay, as well as care from a nurse, for people who have been discharged from the hospital but who would need to return for followup care ever 2 days. With no family or home nearby, and the cost of transportation, a place to stay is a life saver for these patients, and the nurse's care reduces their need to travel to the hospital so frequently.

Due to several circumstances - the gift of your donations, the trust that the people have in our staff, their presence on the radio, and their ability to take action quickly - many individuals as well as Haitian institutions in the North of Haiti have called on our staff for their help and coordination. They recounted a story to me yesterday where, while they were accepting calls on the radio show, the hospital called in and asked for help providing medicine which they had run out of. They left the show and went to help the hospital and purchase the medication. As a result, the life of a 26 year old woman was saved. She will appear on the radio show (Radio Nirvana) this Sunday afternoon to express her gratitude to all those who helped save her life- tune in online if you understand Creole! The show emphasizes the need to remain positive and reminds the Haitian listeners that it's not just the earthquake that can change Haiti, but they can change Haiti.

Along this line, they have organized the rabbit producers and beekeepers with whom Farmer to Farmer works in the North to come together as a group to donate blood. There is a special need for O- and B- local donors. The plans have been arranged with the exception of the exact date, since it is unclear when there will be enough blood bags and blood test kits. Since our previous update below, these supplies remains a critical need. Partners is working with our institutional collaborators in country as well as with some of our past FTF volunteers to try to locate and access these supplies in Haiti. Other than these supplies, Benito reminds us that money and medicine - not clothing - are the biggest needs right now. For those donating from outside of Haiti, money is the most essential.

We hope to have more photos soon. Thanks to all of you who have been so concerned and supportive toward Partners' staff and the farmers we work with - and YOU work with! For our past volunteers who have asked about Ronald, we mentioned his situation in a previous post and there is an update: thanks to donations from past FTF volunteers, Ronald has received some money to help him and his family get back on their feet. Thank you!