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In the midst of all the political upheaval in Port-au-Prince lately, life here in Jérémie has been relatively normal.  We are in the process of advancing our latrine building efforts to include the communities of Duchene (just down the mountain from the clinic) and Gatineau itself.  These are communities where we do not have volunteer Community Promoters.  But, before we build latrines, we always want to be sure that the community is educated with regard to basic principles of water, sanitation and hygiene.  So, we’ve conducted several training sessions in the communities to help them understand how water is contaminated, the importance of washing hands and treating water before drinking and the importance of using latrines.  Each community chose a committee that has the responsibility of deciding who should receive a latrine and then the committee helps supervise construction of the latrines, including the transportation of materials from the drop-off point to each house, etc.  We met with over 100 community members from Gatineau a few months ago and they chose a committee to supervise the latrine project.  They then chose the people they felt should receive latrines, according to criteria we set up.  Last week we met with the latrine recipients to give them further training regarding construction and maintenance of the latrines.  Here are some photos from our meeting:

IMG_2061A member of the Gatineau committee participates in a discussion regarding construction and maintenance of latrines.

IMG_7273Our promoters helped us teach the Gatineau community members about basic water and sanitation principles.

We met with all of our Promoters after the latrine meeting, to plan educational sessions for people living in the areas around some of the water springs we hope to cap.  We want to be sure they are agreeable with plans to cap the springs and are willing to take ownership of the project.  Capping the underground springs will provide clean sources of potable water to thousands of people.

IMG_7624.jpgMeeting with the Promoters regarding the capping of water sources. 

We’re excited about being able to expand our Water and Sanitation Program in this way, thanks to a grant from Rotary International.  We’re doing all the advance training that is necessary before the construction funds reach us.  We’re hoping to get the latrines built and springs capped during the summer dry season.  Pray with us for success!

As we’ve mentioned in Facebook posts, we were blessed to have pre-med student Natalie Anumolu with us for a month from Milwaukee.  In addition to helping with a lot of spreadsheets and data entry for our Community Development programs, she also was able to spend some time observing us in the clinic, in order to better understand medical missions in Haiti.

IMG_3501.jpgNatalie sits in Dr. Wolf’s exam room during a patient consultation.

One of the side benefits of her observation was a chance to see cute little patients like this:

IMG_7725.jpgA timid smile from a little girl when she receives a beanie baby.

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